NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul shared the stage at the annual Better New York Breakfast to announce their multi-agency plan to create a 'new' New York.
The politicians stressed they are tackling important issues like housing, public safety, and mental health on a united front at a panel discussion Wednesday morning.
"What you are seeing with the governor and the relationship is a real one," Adams said. "I like her personally as an individual. I like her as a leader. I like the fact that you can sit down and have a real conversation. and you don't have to agree."
Adams said the cylinders of local and state governments have been "misaligned for a long time" but the current agencies are working toward improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers with their new plan.
Over the past five months, the New New York Panel has worked to create a comprehensive plan to add more jobs, and more housing and tackle crime in a post-COVID world.
In nearly three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed New York. There are fewer riders on the buses and the trains and just 9% of Manhattan office workers are working in-person five days a week.
A blue-ribbon panel of experts imagines a post-pandemic city of pedestrian malls and office towers converted into affordable housing. They imagine a transit system that better moves people around the city, rather than simply into and out of it.
A rendering also shows more of Midtown going car-free, but many of the offices remain empty with people working remotely as housing costs continue to soar.
"We created jobs though at three times the rate that we created housing to put people in who work those jobs," Hochul said. "That's the disconnect. They want to be here. They want to raise their kids in the most exciting place on Earth, but if you can't find a house, can't get the child care, it just doesn't work."
Hochul said she plans on creating 800,000 new housing units across the state mirroring Adams' promise to add 500,000 affordable units to the five boroughs.
And while higher food and housing costs are squeezing average New Yorkers, Adams had this to say about the city's wealthiest residents:
"Stop dividing our city," he said. "To continue to attack high-income earners where 51% of our taxes are paid by 2% of New Yorkers. It blows my mind when people say, so what if they leave? No, you leave."
The 'Making New York Work for Everyone' plan is made up of 40 initiatives that are intended to make New York City the best place to work.
The initial scope of the plan focuses on reviving business districts by making them 24/7 destinations and improving commutes into Manhattan.
At the same time, the plan will build up employment hubs and workspaces across the five boroughs so people can work closer to home.
The plan points to the illusion of a flourishing economy in 2019 before the pandemic struck.
While numbers show the lowest citywide poverty rate in over 20 years and an all-time low for unemployment the "bright numbers concealed cracks."
"The truth is that we have rarely if ever, distributed the benefit of our growth fairly, and the disparities are particularly stark across racial lines," the report reads. "In the past 25 years, the city has grown in terms of the number of jobs and residents-but it has also grown more expensive and therefore less affordable, primarily because housing production failed to keep pace with population and job growth in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis."
About 24% of households in New York City spent more than half of their income on housing, according to the report, and licensed center-based child care was unaffordable for 93% of households.
Then the pandemic hit, causing the economy to tumble and bringing to light the glaring wealth gap exasperated by racial and socioeconomic divides in a city that boasts some of the country's most expensive homes and shopping districts.
The panel's action plan aims to rebuild the system from the bottom up addressing inequalities along the way in hopes of providing more for the working New Yorker.
"Thanks to an extraordinary partnership with Mayor Adams and the New New York Panel, this report is providing the road map toward a stronger, fairer, and more accessible New York," Hochul said. "We are no longer living in the same New York as we were at the beginning of the pandemic. These are the types of bold, ambitious ideas we need right now, and my administration looks forward to closely reviewing the panel's recommendations in the coming weeks to determine how we continue to make New York an even better place to live."
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