Dates to Remember

November 6, 2013

November 4th and November 5th 2013 were extraordinary days in the history of New York City. On Tuesday, New Yorkers elected a progressive, Democratic mayor for the first time in 20 years. Bill Di Blasio says that he will fight for the 99% in his city, and as of today we can take him at his word.

Less noticed but still significant were events happening on Monday, November 4th. Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent his last evening in office at a gale fundraising event in his honor at the New York Public Library. It was covered in the society pages by the New York Times, but outside on Fifth Avenue another signal event was taking place: a citizen protest against one of Bloomberg’s pet projects, the Central Library Plan.

As Michael White of Citizens Defending Libraries put it in a video of the event, it was ironic that Mayor Bloomberg, who cut library funding in every budget but one during his three terms in office, and who is selling off public assets to high rolling developer friends, should be given an award by the NYPL board. Steven Sondheim, a co-awardee, must have been livid when Bloomberg diminished his beloved Lincoln Center research collection by selling off some of its contents and firing all but two of its staff.

Protesters stood on the library steps and handed out over 1000 leaflets explaining the NYPL board’s  irresponsible dismantling of the public library system in New York. Just two months prior, Bill Di Blasio stood on those same steps, declaring his opposition to the plan and demanding accountability from the city government. Now that he is mayor, we’ll want him to remember his promise, and think about November 4 and 5, 2013.


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