Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate for New York City mayor, and wife Chirlane McCray take their clothes to a Laundromat near their Brooklyn apartment Monday.
The yearlong race for City Hall ended Monday with Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota offering dueling visions for the future and a final volley of attacks as voters prepared to select the first new mayor in 12 years.
Unlike the breakneck final day of mayoral races past, de Blasio had just three campaign events Monday, the final at 3 p.m., reflecting confidence in polls that show him with an overwhelming lead.
The public advocate, a Democrat, renewed his call for a dramatic break with Mayor Bloomberg’s policies, sticking with the themes that catapulted him from fourth place in the Democratic primary in July to the brink of history Tuesday.
“Together we will make this a city for everyone again,” he told a senior center in the Bronx. “The way that Mayor Bloomberg did things is not the only way to do things, I assure you.”
He added, “Joe Lhota has offered no vision of change, and that’s part of why I think the voters have been so cool to him.”
Lhota ended his campaign alongside his one-time boss, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, greeting evening commuters at two ferry terminals in lower Manhattan.
“A lot of people come up to me and (say), ‘I’m a Democrat, but I’m voting for you Joe,’” Lhota said. “It’s generally because they think (de Blasio’s) too far left in most of his opinions. They don’t like it.”
Giuliani offered his own testimonial.
“There is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the garbage. There’s no Republican or Democratic way to reduce crime. There’s only the right way to do it or the wrong way to do it,” Giuliani said. “And from the time I came into office, with Joe’s help, we literally turned the city around.”
Later, he added, “A lot of people come up to me and say they’re very afraid of Mr. de Blasio. They’re very afraid of the way in which he’s going to handle or not handle crime. The way in which he’s going to drive businesses out…the way in which he’s going to sell out to the unions. … Tomorrow the people get to vote. And very often they surprise us.”
The race for mayor is the marquee matchup on a day that voters will also select a public advocate, a controller and new borough presidents in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island.
The City Council is poised for a dramatic makeover with the election of at least 21 new members. Statewide, voters will determine whether to legalize Las Vegas-style casinos.
De Blasio began the day at 8 a.m., greeting commuters in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
“Yes, I am a morning person. I just don’t like being one,” he joked, a reference to his hour-late arrival to a rally Saturday because a 5 a.m. phone call interrupted his sleep.
But de Blasio appeared annoyed when asked if he would hold morning meetings at City Hall.
“We’re gonna do whatever it takes. Obviously, you have to start early in the morning,” he said, before challenging reporters to wait for him for his morning gym fix. “My earliest recorded time at the Park Slope Y is 5:21 a.m.,” he said.
Lhota had five public appearances, including in the Democratic bastion of Harlem.
“I wouldn’t vote for Lhota if my life depended on it,” said Hannah Goodman, 68, who said she was unemployed and receptive to de Blasio’s message of New York as a “tale of two cities.”
The Republican got a warmer reception at a subway stop on the Upper East Side, where commuters clasped his hand and promised their votes.
During Lhota’s evening swing with Giuliani, the former mayor slammed de Blasio for not immediately speaking out at an event Sunday when singer Harry Belafonte compared the Koch brothers — billionaires who back Republican causes and Lhota’s candidacy — with the Ku Klux Klan.
“What you heard last night from Mr. de Blasio’s campaign was racism,” Giuliani said.
De Blasio stood by his delayed response.
After the grind of a long campaign, both candidates said they were ready to accept the judgment of voters.
“If I don’t win on Tuesday, I have no idea what’s in my future,” Lhota said on Staten Island. “My future has been solely over the last six to nine months doing everything I can to become the mayor of New York. I think it’s gonna happen. I know it’s gonna happen.”
Said de Blasio, “It’s been a very long road, and I think a lot of people on this campaign would agree with me. We’re ready for the road to end right now and try something new.”
With Jennifer Fermino
FIND YOUR POLL SITE
New Yorkers head to the polls Tuesday to elect their first new mayor in 12 years. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m, and voters will use electronic ballot scanners instead of the traditional lever machines.
To find your poll site, check your registration status or report a problem, call the Board of Elections at 866-VOTE-NYC — that’s 866-868-3692 — or go to www.vote.nyc.ny.us.
The New York Public Interest Research Group will run a voter complaint hotline at 212-822-0282.
For more information about where or how to vote, go to nycvotes.org.