Bill de Blasio vowed to "leave no New Yorker behind" after being sworn into office by former President Bill Clinton in front of City Hall on Wednesday afternoon.
City and state leaders, as well as celebrities and New Yorkers who secured tickets through a rare giveaway, gathered in front of City Hall to witness the ceremonial swearing-in of de Blasio, New York City’s 109th mayor.
“We won’t wait. We’ll do it now,” said de Blasio.
That was the refrain of Bill de Blasio’s inaugural address, as he doubled down on his progressive themes Wednesday, assuring New York his plan to combat rising inequality was more than just campaign rhetoric.
“Let me be clear: when I said I would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it,” he said.
De Blasio got specific, vowing to expand paid sick leave, require developers to build more affordable housing, fight hospital closures, reform stop and frisk and ask the wealthy to pay more taxes to fund universal pre-K, noting those earning between $500,000 and $1 million a year would see taxes rise, on average, by $973 a year.
“That’s less than three bucks a day, about the cost of a small soy latte at your local Starbucks,” de Blasio said.
For his ceremonial oath, de Blasio turned to an old boss, former President Bill Clinton, who said he strongly endorsed de Blasio’s commitment to shared prosperity and saluted his multi-racial family.
"With all respect to the television show, they’re our real modern family,” said Clinton.
Hillary Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and other political luminaries attended. Despite running as the anti-Bloomberg, de Blasio did acknowledge the outgoing mayor.
“Your passion on issues such as environmental protection and public health has built a noble legacy,” de Blasio said.
Earlier, Harry Belafonte, legendary artist and activist, started off the ceremony with introductory remarks.
“Bill de Blasio gives New York another opportunity to open the door of possibilities. We, new Yorkers, must not let him fail. Thank you, New York, we’ve got a lot of work to do, so let’s get busy,” said Belafonte.
And while the crowd was dotted with celebrity supporters – not to mention the speaking program – it also had an everyman quality. De Blasio and his family arrived by subway; a thousand tickets were given away to the public.
There was a performance by a high school choir, a place of honor for a homeless family, and a speaking roles for a CUNY student. For all the lofty rhetoric though, it was a police chaplain who offered a reminder of the gritty, sometimes mundane work that lies ahead.
“Deliver all of us from the impending snowstorm,” said Monsignor Robert Romano.