Opinion | Interview with the mayor of New York by Ray McGuire

Binyamin Appelbaum: Are you ready to cancel local city council members if they don’t want to in their districts? Are you ready to change the zoning of large parts of the city for larger constructions? I mean, 350,000 is a lot. It’s good to talk about a specific project in the Bronx, but you’re talking about a large-scale housing increase.

The answer is we need to have a city-wide housing plan, and it needs to be a plan that gets feedback from the residents who will be most affected by it. And yes, once we come up with this plan, which I intend to do immediately, everyone has to agree. So, yes, I’m ready to rezone. Yes, I am here to make the investments, identify the available land and move forward. We have to start at some point. We talked about it. We didn’t… about it.

The answer is that we have to build. Otherwise, the cost will become exorbitant.

[Between 2010 and 2019, New York City added 197,558 housing units. Over the same decade, the city added more than 900,000 jobs. The gap between job growth and housing growth is a key reason housing prices were on the rise before the pandemic — and are likely to climb as the city recovers.]

We’re paying $ 65 million, in some ways, to have the people… in Elmhurst… the end of the last… the shelters are there. People don’t want to live in shelters, which is why we have so many homeless people. So we have to tackle this, and I have a plan.

You say it’s ambitious? Yes, it is ambitious. We need ambition. This is exactly what we need in town. It was the status quo that got us there. So I applaud… for being ambitious. It is indeed. We need them in New York to be the best and welcome all New Yorkers, especially the most marginalized. We must have a vision, which I have. You must have a track record of planning and executing on a vision.

Mara Gay: Eleanor, if you don’t mind getting into the streetscape, this would be a good time.

Eleanor Randolph: So it’s kind of a quality of life issue. There are 8,000 miles of streets in New York City. The real question is very often who owns these streets, who controls them? And the issue has become much more complicated in recent years, with scooters but also with restaurants now moving to the streets and adding territory to restaurants. How do you see all of this streetscape and what would you do as mayor to change it, or just keep it going?

You know, I love streetscapes, so I’m glad you mentioned it. I think this is one of the richest parts of how the city works. And one of the ways… to be in this community is to come together from open spaces, which I encourage us to continue to develop. Artistic spaces, which I would like to encourage us to continue to develop, with the areas designated by the artists, which I would support, to ensure that along the streets where we have cycle paths, we have protected cycle paths. And given the number of motorized vehicles that we know today, make sure that these bike lanes are safe bike lanes, especially for our seniors and our children.


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