National News

De Blasio Begins Second Term in Frigid Ceremony

Posted January 1, 2018 4:54 p.m. EST

Mayor Bill de Blasio hugs his family after he was sworn in for his second term at City Hall Plaza in New York, Jan. 1, 2018. (Damon Winter/The New York Times)

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in for his second and last term Monday, on a bitterly frigid first day of the year, offering a progressive vision that he said applies to New York City and the rest of the country.

He was sworn in by populist senator and leftist icon Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in an outdoor ceremony that was truncated because of the cold — a youth chorus and a poetry recital were eliminated from the program. The temperature was in the teens, with a sharp wind that picked up during the ceremony, under a powdery blue sky.

Several hundred people, including dozens of elected officials, watched the ceremony in the plaza in front of City Hall, although empty seats were scattered throughout — a contrast to four years ago when thousands attended de Blasio’s first swearing in (the weather then was warmer).

Those who attended found a color program, a packet of hand warmers and, in many cases, a blue synthetic blanket on their seats. Some people congregated around portable heaters like those used in outdoor restaurants, holding their hands up to the overhead heating element.

“Something big is happening in New York City,” said de Blasio, 56, who wore a dark wool topcoat but no hat. He pledged “a new progressive era in this city’s history,” which he said would be “felt beyond our borders.”

He said that New York was the safest big city in the United States, highlighting a continued drop in the number of murders during the last year. And he said that he would work to make New York a fairer city as well.

His speech, which lasted 13 minutes and included several references to the weather, displayed his interest in developing a vision that extends outside New York City. He said that his policies were models for the nation, cited Abraham Lincoln’s description of a house divided and described the current national political moment as “this heyday of hatred, this new dawn of divisiveness.”

Public Advocate Letitia A. James and Comptroller Scott M. Stringer were also sworn in for their second terms. Like de Blasio, they are Democrats.