The signs of recovery in New York City are everywhere: vaccinations are on the rise; Curfew for restaurant and bar ends; Occupancy restrictions are easing in offices, stadiums and fitness studios. By July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city should be “fully reopened”.
After more than a year of death and economic devastation, New York is entering a new and uncertain period of recovery – and the candidates vying for the city’s next mayor are making radically different bets about New Yorker’s mood and priorities and how best to bring the city back to life.
As the mayoral candidates near the June 22nd Democratic primary, sharp differences emerge as to how this immense task should be approached.
Andrew Yang, the former presidential nominee and current front runner, has positioned herself in the race as the city’s ultimate cheerleader, making accelerating the city’s reopening a focal point of his news. Scott M. Stringer, the city administrator, describes a number of crises in New York and promises to be a progressive mayor who will “make hell out of the city”.
Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney who is particularly concerned with issues of racial justice, often calls for a “redesign” of a fairer city after the pandemic. And Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams, suggesting that public safety is a requirement for progress, often speaks of his experience as a former black police captain pushing for change within the system.
“I don’t want people to say,” We want New York City to be happy again, “Adams said on a recent campaign appearance in Queens, despite promising brighter days.” For too many New Yorkers, the city has never been happy. “
How the city is recovering is resonating with New Yorkers: a recent Spectrum News NY1 / Ipsos poll found that 34 percent of likely Democratic primary voters polled put business and business reopening as their top priority for the next mayor looked at the spread of Covid-19 in second place after stopping, followed closely by crime and public safety.
The challenge for all candidates is to offer the right mix of experience and empathy, energy and foresight to attract a diverse electorate who have experienced the coronavirus crisis and its aftermath in very different ways.
More than any other candidate, Mr. Yang expects New Yorkers to want a hopeful mayor with a simple message about the speedy reopening of the city after an extremely challenging year.
Part of Yang’s lead in the sparse public polls can be attributed to the recognition of names from his presidential campaign, but a number of veteran Democratic strategists say he has also chosen a tone that will resonate with many voters who are ready to depart from the pandemic.
“It’s spring 2021, not spring 2020, and New Yorkers are increasingly optimistic and hopeful about the future,” said Howard Wolfson, longtime advisor to former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who is neutral in the race. “So far, Andrew Yang is the person who best captured this feeling.”
He and his competitors agree that New York must reopen as a livelier and fairer place than when it closed, and they put forward a wide range of policies and leadership arguments to illustrate how they would do just that.
Mr Yang, who says he wants to be the Mayor Against Poverty, has put forward a number of policy proposals on key urban issues, many of which start with a simple recipe: speed up the city’s opening and cheer New York’s promises. For example, on Tuesday he called on the state to ease restrictions on bars and restaurants, saying that reopening these facilities was “business critical”. He has also proposed a Basic Income Program for New York’s poorest, a less expansive version of the Universal Basic Income he promoted as a presidential candidate.
However, a big part of his strategy is also to attend reopening events like opening day at Yankee Stadium and explaining that New York must be open for business. He has promised to host “the largest post-Covid celebration in the world”.
The test for Mr. Yang will be whether voters believe he has sufficient management experience and knowledge of the city to carry out the intricate reconstruction work, which he happily welcomes. And his efforts to encourage businesses in the city don’t always land: he recently made a disastrous appearance before a prominent LGBTQ democratic organization where attendees felt he was more into discussing gay bars than political ones Focused questions.
“We need someone to steer the ship but not make too much promises – don’t tell me we’re going to be Disneyland next week,” said Donovan Richards, Queens borough president. He talked widely about the field, but when asked which candidates found the right balance in tone, he pointed to Mr. Adams and Mrs. Wiley. He intends to give a confirmation in the coming days.
Several of Mr. Yang’s rivals have argued that he is ill-equipped to run the city in a moment of breathtaking challenges. Many are working to create sharper contrasts with him, an effort that could culminate in the first debate on May 13th.
A number of candidates believe that while the electorate – while confident of New York’s strengths and hopeful for the future – also want a seasoned government veteran who exudes knowledge of the political system in discussing governance of recovery.
Shaun Donovan, the Obama administration’s former housing secretary, is trying to brand himself “the man with the plan”. He publishes a 200-page proposal with ideas ranging from introducing a skills-based training program to facilitate job opportunities to creating “15-“. tiny neighborhoods ”to make good schools, passageways, and parks more accessible. He often notes that he worked with President Barack Obama and President Biden to demonstrate his ability to face important moments for the country.
Understand the NYC Mayoral Race
- Who is running for mayor? There are more than a dozen people in the running to become New York’s next mayor, and the primary is on June 22nd. Here is an overview of the candidates.
- What is a ranking poll? New York City started voting in the primary this year, and voters can list up to five candidates in order of preference. Confused? We can help.
Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, has a particular focus on promoting small businesses and combating climate change. She has pushed for a single city permit for small businesses to remove bureaucratic hurdles. Ms. Garcia is a city government veteran with affection for her hometown but bluntly understands the depth of New York’s challenges.
You and other longtime officials like Mr. Stringer and Mr. Adams argue that a deep familiarity with the city government’s navigation is critical to managing the city’s reopening.
Mr. Stringer often says the city faces interlocking crises related to economy, social justice and health inequalities. His long list of ambitions with accompanying long plans contains a promise for “universally affordable housing”. Mr. Stringer’s ability to represent his case has been hampered in recent days by the sexual assault allegation, which he denies.
Other competitors with less campaign experience argue that they offer a new perspective on how to tackle the city’s greatest challenges.
Ms. Wiley, a former lawyer for Mayor Bill de Blasio, describes herself as an unconventional candidate with a background in advocacy for racial and economic justice. you She highlighted “50 Ideas for NYC,” including a proposal to invest in care, including paying more informal caregivers, and proposed a $ 10 billion investment program aimed at creating jobs and aims to improve infrastructure in communities across the city.
Dianne Morales, a left-wing former nonprofit executive, has called for a complete overhaul of the city’s “system”, highlighting the inequality that the pandemic has exacerbated. She supports ideas such as “basic income relief for every household” and sees issues of racial justice and public safety as the core of the reopening and restoration of the city. She is pushing for sweeping proposals like $ 3 billion budget cuts to the New York Police Department to be reinvested in community responses.
Gale Brewer, the president of Manhattan borough, said it was difficult to gauge how to talk about reopening because people have very different priorities depending on their circumstances.
“How do you get New York City running again and including everyone? That’s the problem, ”she said. “The city is pretty divided.”
In January, Mr. Adams, who has emerged as a candidate with a worker background focused on tackling inequality, launched more than 100 ideas for the city’s future. In recent weeks, however, he has also emerged as the candidate most clearly focused on combating armed violence. “Public safety”, he often says, is “the prerequisite for prosperity”.
Raymond J. McGuire, a former Citigroup executive who had a difficult childhood, sometimes declares, “No Jobs, No City” as he claims to be the best steward of the city’s economic recovery with a plan that he claims will that it will bring back 500,000 jobs. And in a token of his sense of the mood of the voters, Mr. McGuire posted an ad that concluded, “Ray McGuire: The Serious Choice for the Mayor.”
Even until 2022, the future of the city will be uncertain: tourists may not fully return until 2025, a dynamic that has a significant impact on New York’s standing as a global capital of culture; Many companies will adopt hybrid work strategies by combining work from home with traditional office hours and threatening to permanently transform Manhattan. and many small businesses that closed during the pandemic may never reopen.
In a city marked by deep racial and socioeconomic inequality, candidates who want to form a broad coalition need a message and a tone that works with both employees overjoyed to leave their homes and New Yorkers who are concerned about evictions and unemployment.
“For a large number of people living with this pandemic,” said Queens borough president Richards, “their question will be,” Are you reopening the city to whom? “