NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Bill de Blasio took the oath of office administered by former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday, formally becoming the 109th mayor of New York City while pledging to pursue a sweeping liberal agenda.
“Big dreams are not a luxury reserved for a privileged few but the animating force behind every community, in every borough,” he said in his speech.
PHOTOS: De Blasio Swearing In
De Blasio, 52, was first sworn in 12 hours earlier at a brief modest ceremony outside his home in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Flanked by his wife, Chirlane McCray, and their two teenage children, he was administered the oath by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, signed the official paperwork and, with a broad smile, paid the requisite $9 fee to the city clerk.
The events at City Hall were conducted on a far grander scale.
Thousands of people braved cold New Year’s Day temperatures to salute the new mayor, who was slated to hold a receiving line in City Hall after the ceremony.
De Blasio thanked his family, supporters and the city for “taking on the elite” and pushing for change.
“When I said we would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it. And we will do it,” he said. “I will honor the faith and trust you have placed in me. And we will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed — as one city.”
“We see what binds all New Yorkers together and understanding that big dreams are not a luxury reserved for the privileged few but the animating force behind every community in every borough.”
Clinton was joined by his wife, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also sat nearby, as did former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, just hours into his first day as a private citizen after spending 12 years in office.
The celebrities in attendance were not just confined to the political world: Singer Harry Belafonte opened the event, while actresses Cynthia Nixon and Patina Miller had starring roles.
De Blasio also invited several dozen “everyday” New Yorkers to join him on stage, including a grandmother from the Bronx, a Queens engineer who emigrated from Bangladesh and a fast food worker from Brooklyn.
New Yorkers seemed pleased with de Blasio’s speech. “He reprised his campaign themes in a very positive way — inclusive of all New Yorkers,” said Rory Schurr, of Bayside.
De Blasio is the first Democrat to occupy City Hall in more than two decades and vows to pursue a sweeping liberal agenda for the city.
His first test in office will likely be delivered by Mother Nature: A significant snowstorm is expected to hit the five boroughs Thursday and Friday.
De Blasio, an unabashed liberal who touts his Brooklyn roots, takes office at a crucial juncture for the city of 8.4 million people.
As New York sets record lows for crime and highs for tourism, and as the nearly completed One World Trade Center rises above the Manhattan skyline, symbolizing the city’s comeback from the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, many New Yorkers have felt left behind during the city’s renaissance.
De Blasio reached out to those he contended were lost during the often Manhattan-centric Bloomberg administration, and he called for a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten.
He also pledged to improve economic opportunities in minority and working-class neighborhoods and decried allegations of abuse under the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy.
He and his new police commissioner, William Bratton, have pledged to moderate the use of the tactic, which supporters say drives down crime but which critics claim unfairly singles out blacks and Hispanics.
Two other Democrats were also sworn in to hold citywide offices: Letitia James as public advocate and Scott Stringer as comptroller.
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