Award–winning journalist Andrea Bernstein is the Metro Editor for WNYC News. She has previously served as Political Director, Director of Transportation Nation, and Senior Reporter.
On January 1, 2002, when Michael Bloomberg was sworn into office, these things barely existed: iPods, Blackberries, pocket digital cameras. These things didn't exist at all: the Barclays Center, Citi Field, One World Trade, or the Gehry NY building.
People smoked, all the time, in restaurants and bars. Almost no one rode bikes, and T.V.-less yellow cabs drove down Broadway right through Times Square. Back then, a market rate apartment in Harlem was about $1,200 -- about half of what it is today. Pizza was $1.50 a slice, same price as a subway token.
Carrie Bradshaw lived in the West Village, drank cosmopolitans and typed onto a black and white computer screen. The High Line was a rusted and weedy hulk, not the locale for furtive kisses for the "Girls" crew before they head home to Brooklyn to meticulously compose tweets. Adlai Stevenson High School still existed. The Success Academy and six hundred other schools did not.
You could be anonymous in 2001. Now, notsomuch. We are watched, everywhere, if not by security cameras, then by each other.
New York has been transformed in the last 12 years, in ways simultaneously wrenching and huge and intimate.
And though he isn't responsible for all the revolutions we've experienced, Michael Bloomberg leaves an indelibly large mark, both for his outsize personality and his vast reserves of power – coming not only from his mayoralty, but from his personal fortune, his philanthropy, and his technology and media business.
WNYC will be looking at the ways our city has been remade by the first Mayor of the 21st century. We’ll look at our physical landscape, our built environment, how and where we live, how we get around, how we educate our children and what we put in our mouths – all of which Bloomberg has influenced.
And we’ll be asking you for your contributions – your thoughts, your photographs, your stories. All summer, we’ll be examining the vast transformations we've undergone, measuring, and taking stock, as we prepare to select a mayor to lead us forward from where we are today.
Is there a story you'd like to share about how your New York has changed since 2001? A set of photos we could post on our website, like those below, illustrating the changes? Comment below, tweet us @WNYC, or call 855-8-MY-WNYC and leave a message.