New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg marked the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy Tuesday by revisiting three of the city's hardest hit neighborhoods to call attention to a proposed long-term resiliency project he says could protect the city from another dangerous storm.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie marked the anniversary by appearing on three national TV morning shows, speaking at a statewide memorial service and making quick stops at affected cities all over the state, where he met with storm survivors, volunteers and rescue workers.
It was two different approaches from a pair of high-profile political leaders who were both widely praised for their handling of Sandy and its aftermath. But each had vastly different goals as they marked the deadly storm’s anniversary.
For Bloomberg, an independent who has dodged questions about his post-mayoral political future, it was about his legacy. With just over two months left in office, he’s trying to implement as many resiliency projects as possible and is looking to whip up public support for longer-term efforts in hopes that his successor — most likely the Democratic nominee, Bill de Blasio — will take up the cause of fortifying the city against another Sandylike storm.
Bloomberg kicked off his day by touring Crescent Beach in Staten Island, a waterfront community where hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed by Sandy’s floodwaters. Workers there were installing a new dune system built with 15,000 tons of sand — just one of the beach replenishment projects the Bloomberg administration has tackled over the past year.
Speaking to a half-dozen reporters who trailed him as he marched through the sand, Bloomberg acknowledged the city still has more rebuilding to do after Sandy. But he seemed to take a dig at Washington, insisting his administration is seeking results rather than arguing.
"We're doing things, not just talking about it," Bloomberg declared. "We're doing things in specific places, getting them going and, in government-speak, federal government-speak, this is very quick."
For Christie, Sandy’s anniversary comes exactly one week before New Jersey voters are expected to overwhelmingly elect him to a second term — a remarkable political trajectory for a Republican in a largely Democratic state, spurred in part by bipartisan approval of his response to the storm. His national media tour today came as he very publicly considers a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 — a subject that came up repeatedly in his interviews.
Asked on "Good Morning America" if he would serve another full four-year term if re-elected, Christie — noticeably trimmer after having lap band surgery earlier this year — dodged the question.
"I'm committed to being the best governor New Jersey can have for as long as I can possibly do it," Christie told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. "But you know, George, neither one of us have a crystal ball and know what's going to happen in the future."
"I've been really honest with the people of New Jersey and told them exactly that. I'll do this job as long as aggressively as I can and my current intention is to spend four years, but we'll see what happens," Christie added. "George, you never know what life's gonna bring you."
At the same time, Christie posted dozens of messages on Twitter throughout the day — posting photos and messages from his statewide tour that seemed to play up his persona as a politician willing to buck his own party to do what was right.
"After October 29th, this was no longer a job for me. It was a mission," he wrote.
And in another message, he said, "A job is something you do every day. A mission is something sacred. Something where people entrust you with their lives."