Bloomberg plays small ball, recounts achievements in final State of the City

"The state of our city is stronger than ever — but it can be stronger still and together we'll make it such." says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

David Handschuh/New York Daily News

“The state of our city is stronger than ever — but it can be stronger still and together we’ll make it such.” says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Mayor Bloomberg on Thursday delivered his 12th and final State of the City speech, an address that was short on new initiatives and long on summarizing his accomplishments.

He proposed a string of new environmental initiatives, from banning Styrofoam and recycling food waste, and several small-bore initiatives, including adding youth hostels to attract young tourists, increasing the number of Wi-Fi zones in the city and creating a Conservation Corps to maintain parks and a Code Core to help with data.

But Bloomberg spent much of his final address — which fell on his 71st birthday — boasting about his administration’s successes.

Indeed, at times the gathering had the feel of a pep rally.

Cheerleaders, dancing children and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz opened for Bloomberg at the extravaganza at Barclays Center. Banners trumpeting Bloomberg’s record on crime, schools and tourism hung from the rafters in the center’s Geico Atrium, where the front seats were filled with the city’s political luminaries.

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Mario Tama/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets cheerleaders perform before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered the annual State of the City address at the Barclays Center.

“We’ve raised life expectancy to record highs — far outpacing the national average — and we’ve cut teen pregnancy to record lows. We’ve reduced fire fatalities and traffic fatalities and emergency response time to record lows,” Bloomberg said of the last 11 years. “And we’ve built the largest and most sophisticated counter-terrorism operation of any police department in the country.”

Throughout his 7,000-word speech, the mayor hit many of the highlights of his administration from the creation of the Roosevelt Island Cornell-Tech genius school, the High Line in Manhattan and even the Barclays Center itself.

“According to Marty, everyone told him Fuggeddaboutit!” Bloomberg said of the arena. “But not us. And here we are. … despite all the naysayers and NIMBYers, here we are.”

Bloomberg didn’t forget Sandy in his speech and turned serious as he talked about the loss of 43 lives and the need to rebuild better. He vowed not to abandon the waterfront.

“This year, we’ll develop a long-term plan so that when extreme weather hits — we’ll be able to get the lights back on quickly and ensure that the heat keeps working, the gas stations stay open, the hospitals maintain power and the transportation system keeps operating,” he promised.

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David Handschuh/New York Daily News

“We have accomplished much – but we have much more that we can accomplish,” says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

He said the city planned to donate $1 million to non-profits so they could hire 1,000 people to help with Hurricane Sandy efforts. Bloomberg also vowed that all city beaches would open on Memorial Day, despite storm damage.

Hizzoner also reviewed plans to increase the number of parking spaces ready for electric cars, ban Styrofoam containers from stores and restaurants and boost recycling with a high-tech plant run by solar power and a giant wind turbine in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

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