In December 2013, Michael Bloomberg was preparing to leave office basking in the glow of, as he saw it, a hugely successful mayoralty. Then the New York Times published ”Invisible Child,” a series profiling a homeless girl named Dasani. Dasani’s experiences with decrepit shelter conditions and deep poverty undercut the Bloomberg message of a resurgent city.
It also invigorated and infuriated New York’s progressive politicians. Then Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio vowed “We must get to work on this right away. We can’t let children of this city like Dasani down.” On Jan. 1, 2014, inauguration day, Dasani herself held the Bible on which Letitia James was sworn in as public advocate. Through ritual and rhetoric, the incoming ruling class pledged a new era for New York’s disadvantaged.
Stephen Eide is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal.
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