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New York: Bloomberg Sworn in as Mayor - 2002-01-01

Michael Bloomberg was sworn in as New York's 108th mayor during the city's New Year's celebration at Times Square just after midnight. Mr. Bloomberg was first sworn in by a city official in a symbolic ceremony that took place on Monday. But he officially took on the leadership of the United States' largest city when he took the oath of office at the Times Square ceremony. Outgoing Mayor Rudolph Giuliani helped administer the oath after the giant Waterford crystal ball dropped, ringing in the new year.

This year, the ball carried the names of precincts which lost police and fire fighters in the attack on September 11 .

Political analysts say the first and most important challenge for the new mayor is to lead the way to rebuild the city still recovering from the disaster.

On election night, Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire media tycoon who never before held public office, said it was his experience in business, not in politics, that will pull New York through one of its most difficult times. "New York is alive and well and open for business," he says. "What we have to do now is to put aside any divisions. What we have to look for is those things that unite us all, those things that we have in common."

Another challenge will be to fill the shoes of Mr. Giuliani, a controversial mayor whose popularity soared in recent months because of the way he handled the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Mr. Giuliani, who was named "Time" magazine's person of the year, was legally barred from running a third time because of the city's term limits.

Mr. Bloomberg is a life-long Democrat who ran as a Republican. Mr. Giuliani and New York Governor, George Pataki, both Republicans, endorsed him.

Both during and after the campaign, Mr. Bloomberg recognized Mr. Giuliani's success in leading the city through the crisis. "The easy part is done, now comes the hard part," he says. "I want to say that with the help of Governor Pataki and Rudy Giuliani we're going to carry this city forward. We're going to build on what they've given us."

Mr. Bloomberg says he is the mayor of all New Yorkers, a notion welcomed by some minorities, alienated by what they see as Mr. Giuliani's focus on fighting crime rather than improving education and low-cost housing.

Mr. Bloomberg has already made history in New York City by spending a record $69 million of his personal fortune on the campaign.