Although Bloomberg has been quiet about his plans for after he leaves office, he has been very vocal about what still needs to be done. Hurricane Sandy seemed to wash away any chance that Bloomberg would obtain lame-duck status. Instead, the storm seemed to fill him with even more energy. All of a sudden, climate change wasn’t something affecting far-off places. It was a storm surge that flooded Wall Street and left some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world without power for days.

“What Hurricane Sandy did was show that everything we demonstrated as a risk in 2007 was true,” Aggarwala says. “You’d be hard-pressed now to find anyone in New York who doesn’t think that climate change is a risk.”

Bloomberg has used the storm to garner further support for his causes. In addition, it has allowed him to remain active as mayor up until his successor takes office on Jan. 1, 2014. Since the storm, and with less than a year left in office, he launched the largest bike-share program in the world, proposed a plan to get New Yorkers to compost food scraps and outlined a $20 billion storm-protection plan that would build seawalls, dunes and levees around the city.

“It’s been said that ‘New York will be a great place — if they ever finish it,’ ” Bloomberg says. “The work here is never done — that’s what makes it such a dynamic and exciting place. But we’ve built a foundation that will serve the city for years to come.” 



ETHAN ROUEN is a Ph.D. student at Columbia Business School and a columnist for Fortune.com. As a former crime reporter for the New York Daily News, he has traveled to every neighborhood in the city.