The new mayor, the 109th in the city’s history, briefly thanked the crowd and pledged that his work would begin immediately.
“I want to thank you for having brought us to this moment,” he said standing in the same spot where he launched his then-longshot mayoral bid on an equally frigid day in January. “Many great things are ahead for all of us.”
De Blasio, an unabashed progressive who touts his Brooklyn roots, takes office at a crucial juncture for the city of 8.4 million people.
Even as the city sets record lows for crime and highs for tourism, and as the nearly completed 1 World Trade Center rises above the Manhattan skyline, symbolizing the city’s comeback from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many New Yorkers have felt they were not part of the city’s renaissance.
De Blasio, 52, reached out to those he contended were left behind by the often Manhattan-centric Bloomberg administration, and he called for a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten.
He also pledged to improve economic opportunities in minority and working-class neighborhoods and decried alleged abuses under the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy. He and his new police commissioner, William Bratton, have pledged to moderate the use of the tactic, which supporters say drives down crime but critics claim unfairly singles out blacks and Hispanics.
De Blasio formerly served as public advocate, the city’s official watchdog, and used the obscure and under-funded post to launch his mayoral bid. He was mired in fourth place for much of the primary before the candidacies of several better-known opponents — including Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner — imploded. He then coasted to a general election rout over his Republican opponent Joe Lhota, a former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani.