The Bloomberg administration will almost surely go down in history as New Yorks most economically successful mayoralty everan achievement that was far from inevitable. Elected as a virtual political unknown just weeks after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Michael Bloomberg became the 108th mayor of a city experiencing an uncharacteristic sense of vulnerability. Its downtown had become a graveyard for nearly 3,000 souls, wrote Columbia University Professor Lynne Sagalyn, while its economy endured some $40 billion in economic losses, said the Federal Reserve.

But Bloomberg understood capitalism and he hired as his Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding a man who also understood capitalism, Daniel L. Doctoroff, author of the new memoir-manifesto, Greater than Ever, New Yorks Big Comeback (PublicAffairs).

Citizens Housing & Planning Council executive director Jerilyn Perine, who served as housing commissioner during both the Giuliani and the Bloomberg administrations, recalls, New York didnt have underlying problems. Before 9/11 it was the only older, post-industrial city with a growing population. It was a super exciting place, with prosperous immigrant communities, tourism as an economic engine, and consistently declining crime. There was no question but that we would recuperate. Having the right mayor in Bloomberg meant we recuperated a little faster. Hard to know what would have happened with a different mayor, or a different strategy, but given New Yorks temperament its safe to say that the fast recuperation was vital.

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