“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“New York City is full of great options for warm-weather fun. But there are few better ways to spend a summer day than a trip to Governors Island. Thanks to major investment from the City, the island – which not long ago was mostly abandoned and off-limits to visitors – is now home to beautiful new parks and public spaces, concerts, food festivals, public art, and more. The island is more exciting than ever – and that’s reflected in its growing numbers of visitors: In the 2012 season, Governors Island had about 8,000 visitors a day, compared to 8,000 visitors to the island in the entire 2005 season.
“This week, our transformation of Governors Island took two big steps forward: On Wednesday, the City Council approved our plan to allow businesses and nonprofits to invest in the island's historic buildings. That creates great new opportunities for the island, and will enable us to preserve those buildings for generations to come. Then on Thursday, we began construction of an exciting new project called ‘The Hills.’ It’s the centerpiece of the Governors Island parks and public space plan that we unveiled in 2010. The Hills will bring nearly 12 beautiful acres of new park to the island – and it’s being made possible thanks in part to an extraordinary gift of $15 million from two great and very generous friends of the city, Wendy and Eric Schmidt, the Chairman of Google.
“The tallest of the four new hills, called Outlook Hill, will rise 80 feet high. At the top, visitors will find stunning, 360-degree views of the New York harbor, the Manhattan skyline, and another of our waterfront’s most famous features: the Statue of Liberty. Nine months after Hurricane Sandy, Lady Liberty has reopened for visitors – and offers another great way to spend a day experiencing the beauty and history of our harbor.
“Seeing Lady Liberty up close is an unforgettable experience – one shared by millions of visitors and generations of immigrants first arriving in New York City. For those immigrants, glimpsing the Statue on the horizon meant a better future was just within reach – and they helped us build a better future for our city and country, too. That’s why last week, our city was proud to host a bipartisan group of members of Congress who were here to see firsthand the important role immigrants play in New York – and to meet some of the newest Americans contributing their talents to our city.
“Our visitors from Congress saw that New York has always opened its arms to immigrants – and that that’s been a major reason for our success. Just consider these facts: For the past 20 years, American cities that have the largest immigrant populations have had the biggest economic growth. Immigrants are more than twice as likely as native-born Americans to start new businesses. And almost half the small business owners in our city are immigrants. That’s why it’s so important that Congress pass the immigration reform our country needs to welcome more of the best and brightest, grow the economy, and create jobs. Hopefully last week’s visit from members of Congress to our strong, thriving city of immigrants will help build understanding across the aisle – and bring Washington a step closer to passing meaningful reform.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”