By Mayor Bloomberg
Great cities grow and change. And despite the lingering impact of the national recession, growth and change are reshaping New York – for the better. Our city’s population, already a record 8.4 million people, continues to climb – a sure sign that people like what they see in New York’s future, and want to be part of it. And as 2009 draws to a close, major public and private projects that will forge New York’s future are moving forward all across the city.
A few days ago, for example, we began the first phase of building the NYPD’s new Police Academy in College Point. It’s a $750 million-plus project that’s been on the drawing boards for more than 20 years – and it’s becoming a reality at last. By replacing the badly outdated and overcrowded NYPD Academy in Manhattan and consolidating and modernizing training operations now scattered across the city, it’s going to give the finest police officers in the world the most advanced training center anywhere.
We also know that our growing city needs to create and preserve more affordable housing, and both sides of City Hall are working together to do just that. Earlier this month, the City Council Land Use Committee approved rezoning Williamsburg’s “Broadway Triangle,” a 30-acre eyesore that’s been vacant for some 25 years. The full Council has approved the plan, clearing the way for building nearly 1,900 new apartments there – almost half of them affordable for low- and middle-income households.
The Council is also expected to vote this week on rezoning the last piece of the rail yards area of Manhattan’s Far West Side. Working with Council leaders, we’ve made preserving hundreds more below-market-rent apartments in the area a key part of that agreement. Meanwhile, the $2.1 billion, fully City-financed, extension of the Number 7 line – the first significant subway system expansion in decades and a major catalyst for re-developing a now-dilapidated neighborhood – is tunneling ahead on schedule.
There’s plenty of action in other parts of town, too. On a long-neglected stretch of the East River waterfront in Queens, construction began about six weeks ago on Hunters Point South – the first elements in what will be the largest new middle-income community New York has seen in nearly 30 years. And the proposed Atlantic Yards project at the heart of Brooklyn got a big vote of confidence from private investors, who snapped up more than $500 million worth of bonds for that housing and commercial development in just two hours time.
All these projects in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan spell J-O-B-S for New Yorkers; some 2,000 construction workers will help build the new Police Academy alone. Just as importantly, so much progress on so many fronts is all the proof you need that New Yorkers feel confident about our city’s changing, growing future.