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In Conversation: Michael Bloomberg

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Speaking of the smoking ban: Which of these Bloomberg innovations will survive into the next administration: the City Hall bullpen?
Yes. But the mayor won’t be in it.

Bike share?
Yes, for sure. Much too popular. Citibank has made one of the great investments of all time. I was talking to somebody yesterday from Colombia; he says, “We have to have Citi Bike here.” It’s become a generic term. It’s great for Citibank.

Sure, but people complain that the city is abetting commercialization.
Commercialization is good for the city! And this is done with private money. I mean, what’s your complaint? By your argument, we shouldn’t have any jobs here that are with companies because they use their own name. I don’t get that.

Okay, what about plazas where there used to be traffic lanes?
Overwhelmingly popular. Our problem is turning down neighborhoods that want to do it.

Restaurant grades?
Public overwhelmingly in favor. And the number of cases of salmonella in hospitals declined something like 14 percent. People say we’re just doing it for the money raised by the fines—no, but if we don’t get those moneys we’re gonna have to raise your taxes, because we do need the money from someplace.

School grades?
Yeah, I think so, as long as they don’t dumb it down. That would be my great fear. I think the educational reforms are always going to be in jeopardy, because most people don’t have the interest in education reform that they do in crime, for example. Crime comes back—it affects everybody. In the long term, I would argue, education affects everybody, but in the short term it doesn’t affect people who don’t have kids, don’t have kids in school, and those who, if they have some savvy about how the system works, can get them into better schools.

You’re going to miss being mayor, right?
Yeah, sure. But I never, ever, look back. The day I got fired at Salomon, I think I said, “Fuck them!” on my way out the door.

What was the first mayor of New York City’s name?

I don’t remember.
[Bloomberg points to a wall plaque commemorating Thomas Willett] At least we have that—I don’t know that there’s any evidence of it other than that.

Someday the city will name something after you.
No. Probably not.

But what would you pick?
I never even thought about it. What would I like? Probably can’t change the name of Central Park, right?


*The mayor's office asked us to amend the remarks to add an interjection that was inaudible in our audiotape of the interview, which was conducted over speakerphone. In our view the added words do not alter the meaning of the exchange as reflected in the published interview.


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