150 Big Businesses Warn Mayor of ‘Widespread Anxiety’ Over N.Y.C.’s Future

More than 150 powerful business leaders in New York City joined together on Thursday to implore Mayor Bill de Blasio to address public safety and other quality-of-life issues that they said were jeopardizing the city’s economic recovery.

Chief executives of companies like Goldman Sachs, Vornado Realty Trust and JetBlue sent a letter to the mayor portraying a bleak assessment of life in New York City during the pandemic, and suggesting a vote of no confidence in the mayor’s ability to correct it.

The letter asserted that there was “widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods across the five boroughs.”

And if the mayor did not address those issues, the business leaders warned that people who have left the city would be slow to return because of legitimate concerns over “security and the livability of our communities.”

The business leaders acknowledged the city’s success in containing the coronavirus, but highlighted that “unprecedented numbers of New Yorkers are unemployed, facing homelessness, or otherwise at risk.”

Mr. de Blasio responded in a conciliatory tone, urging business leaders to work with him and arguing that the city needed federal funding and new borrowing capacity.

“We need these leaders to join the fight to move the city forward,” the mayor said on Twitter.

The letter highlighted a cultural divide in how people have responded to the outbreak. While some New Yorkers have departed for the suburbs or to vacation homes, many who have remained have taken issue with the portrayals of a city abandoned and overrun by disorder.

Indeed, signs of normalcy have returned, from outdoor dining to socially distanced gatherings at parks. By the end of the month, in-person education at public schools and indoor dining will return, too.

“We’re grateful for the business community’s input, and we’ll continue partnering with them to rebuild a fairer, better city,” Bill Neidhardt, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, said in a statement. “Let’s be clear: We want to restore these services and save jobs, and the most direct way to do that is with long-term borrowing and a federal stimulus. We ask these leaders to join in this fight because the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

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