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CITY OF NEW YORK — “The great American writer O. Henry famously once said that ‘New York Citywill be a great place… if they ever finish it.’ Well actually, let’s hope we never do finish it. Because buildingNew Yorkand reinventing our neighborhoods not only keeps our city vibrant and dynamic, it also helps create vital jobs and housing for New Yorkers. And today I want to talk about three ways we’re doing that.
“The first is building affordable housing. With the national economy stalling and tax revenues falling, many cities are cutting back on affordable housing – just when people need such housing badly. But notNew York! Our Administration’s affordable housing plan is the most ambitious in the nation. To date, we’ve funded the creation or preservation of nearly 126,000 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs.
“Last week, we broke ground on a major new housing development on West 45th Street onManhattan’s Far West Side. Besides creating nearly 3,000 construction-related jobs, this project represents the largest new development inManhattan under our affordable housing plan. And its launch also keeps us on course to hit our goal of building and preserving 165,000 units by 2014.
“A second way we are building our city is by growing our modern manufacturing sector.New Yorkused to be one of the great manufacturing capitals of the world, until many of those businesses left town in search of cheaper land and labor – which happened all across theUnited States. But we’ve always believed thatNew York Citymust be a place where people can find good jobs in making and moving products. And now, thanks to the work we’re doing to diversify our economic base and put more New Yorkers to work, that’s happening on a substantial scale, especially at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“OnceAmerica’s premier shipbuilding facility, the Navy Yard is now home to movie studios, furniture manufacturers, and other industrial businesses. Some 6,000 people work there – and the Navy Yard’s ongoing expansion is expected to bring up to 2,000 more jobs over the next two years. Last week, more than half-a-dozen businesses made major new commitments to hire local residents for over 300 of these new jobs. And with Veterans Day just passed, I’m proud to say that these commitments also include a new effort to employ veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“A third way that we’re building our city is by building new parks and investing in tourism. For a great example, look at our work inConey Island. Our public investments there have cleared the way for two new amusement parks over the past two summers. In the summer of 2010, whenLunaParkmade its big debut, the new amusement area drew more than 450,000 visitors. This past summer, with the opening of Scream Zone,Coney Island’s amusements drew a record 640,000 visitors. And building on this success, we just broke on a new public space,SteeplechasePlaza, future home of the B&B Carousel.
“Certainly, these three efforts I’ve described are not going to ‘finish’ our city – to use the words of O. Henry. But they will go a long way towards creating the jobs New Yorkers need and the vibrant neighborhoods that make our city the best place to live, work and visit. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”
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