Our Newly Lush Life
New York Times, July 16, 2012
"While Mayor Bloomberg has suffered frustrations and failures aplenty in his bids, say, to improve public education and relieve congestion in Midtown Manhattan, he has had the greenest of thumbs. One of the principal legacies of his long mayoralty will be a city that, in certain charmed spots on certain charmed days, can feel as relaxed and breezy and kissed by nature as one of those ecologically vain enclaves of the Pacific Northwest. To the bustle of traffic, he has added the rustle of more trees, byways for bicycles, perches with exquisite views.
“Parks were on the front burner for this mayor and for Patti Harris, the deputy mayor, and I think that’s unique in this city’s history,” said Adrian Benepe, who will soon step down after 10 years as Bloomberg’s parks commissioner.
“Great things happened under Mayor La Guardia, largely because of the Works Progress Administration and Robert Moses’s skill in using those funds, but I think, uniquely, this mayor has not just liked parks but understood their value in so many different ways,” Benepe said, adding that Bloomberg embraced “the belief that a city could and should be beautiful and well designed.”