NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thursday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked New Yorkers for the opportunity to serve these past eight years and credited city residents with inspiring the initiatives he pursued.
On the night of his election, de Blasio busted a move with his family and soon danced his way to an impressive early victory, setting New York City on the path to universal pre-K.READ MORE: Former New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio Says He Will Not Run For Governor
“Two years more of free quality public education for our youngest New Yorkers, that’s what you did, and now it is literally become the national model and President Biden is fighting for it for the whole nation,” the mayor said Thursday.
De Blasio often framed his initiatives in glowing terms — “transformational,” “revolutionary” and “transformative” — but actual progress was incremental.
He announced “Vision Zero” to reduce danger on the street, then promptly was caught by CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer motorcading around the city in traffic-law flouting fashion.
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Leaving office, de Blasio is accentuating the positive.
“The things we’ve set in motion are gonna build and build and build,” he said. “I would never say ‘mission accomplished’ because fighting inequality is gonna be something we all gonna have to do for years and years.”
Thursday morning in Kingsbridge, the Bronx, CBS2’s Tony Aiello asked about a dozen New Yorkers, “How will you remember Bill de Blasio?”READ MORE: Mayor Bill De Blasio Moving Out Of Gracie Mansion Ahead Of Eric Adams' Swearing In
“I’m not really gonna remember him much,” one person said.
“He tried, but I don’t think he did enough,” Nelson Rodriguez said.
Karen Arthur summed up the mayor with one word.
“Meh,” she said.
WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Holds Walk-Out Ceremony At City Hall —
But he triumphed in his bitter, long-running feud with Andrew Cuomo, who scoffed at de Blasio’s early pandemic call to “shelter in place,” only to rename it and adopt it days later.
The mayor had an up-and-down relationship with the NYPD. In 2014, hundreds of cops turned their backs on him at the funeral of a slain officer. Thursday, he praised first responders as heroes of the city during the pandemic.MORE NEWS: Mayor-Elect Eric Adams Outlines COVID-19 Plan For New York City As Omicron Cases Spike
Leaving City Hall, polls show 55% of New York residents view de Blasio negatively, but that’s not stopping him from eyeing a run for governor in 2022.