Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Feet firmly on the ground in London

For those of you wondering why it has gone quiet on this blog it's because I only update it when I'm abroad on official business.

If you want to follow what I'm up at all other times visit or follow me on Twitter @mayoroflondon

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Back in London - good old Piccadilly Line

A busy few days but an extremely worthwhile trip. I'm looking rather worse for wear, much to the amusement of my fellow Tube passengers, but it's great to be home and on my way into the office again.

Thank you New York

It’s hard to leave a great city. Even when returning to one that's arguably even better.

This is where I was born. I owe my very existence to the rich mix of people in this intense space who funded what was then the Puerto Rican health scheme. It funded my birth when my student parents would have struggled to get health insurance.

I thank the city for that. I thank the splendid, charming, patient supermen who escorted me around Manhattan over the last few days. In London I travel by bike with one cycling aide. Mike Bloomberg has now allowed me to glimpse that world where an SUV is always waiting, the doors always open, the hassle always pre-empted. It was a real treat. I cannot name the guys (for obvious reasons) but they know who they are and I'm grateful.

Thank you Mayor Bloomberg for the security detail. Thank you too for the wonderful dinner at your home and your kind words at the Manhattan Institute.

We are different political beasts but we have much in common. I salute your success in New York and our time together will sharpen my focus and stiffen my resolve.

I'm still reflecting on the site of ground zero - eight years on - and the tales your team have told me of a rising death toll and fresh suffering.

We share similar challenges safeguarding investment, seeing off threats to our core industries and persuading our most wealthy constituents that they have much to gain by proving their social responsibility.

Our shared privilege is to preside over people who have energy, enterprise and creative genius. We are fortunate and the good people of London and New York should face the future with confidence and determination.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Wrap up from Times Square

More videos from New York are available at

Speeches at Columbia University with Mayor Bloomberg

Inspiring session with Michael Bloomberg, gently sparring over the relative strengths of our great cities. Have agreed we’re both high on a list of the two best cities in the world. Shamelessly boasted about London’s advantage in terms of universities, theatres, bookshops, Wi-Fi and a number of other fields. But both cities have a shared edge on the core qualities that lift us - energy, enterprise, creativity and a generosity of spirit. Packed hall at Columbia University where I used to sleep through lectures - not because they were tedious but because I was a baby when my mother was here as a student. Today's seminar proved very lively and spending time with Michael Bloomberg has sharpened my vision and resolve to re-establish London as the greatest city on earth when we welcome the world to our Olympics in 2012.

Early start at JFK to boost visits to London

At JFK to wave off 200 American entrepreneurs taking their latest business plans to London. The last year's seen an alarming fall in visits from our sister city and the main reason I'm here is to put that right. It helps that Brits are doing very well on Broadway at the moment and arguably dominating some of the creative sectors here in New York. We're doing well in retail too as was clear in a very prestigious store, which hosted a fabulous reception for us last night. New York and London have always been in healthy competition with each other but both are clearly benefiting these days from a creative cross fertilisation fed by constant transatlantic traffic. I wish today’s passengers well with their ideas and look forward to sitting down later with my good friend Mayor Bloomberg to see how we can encourage more mutually beneficial schemes. I'll be checking in for my own flight home in about 12 hours.

Monday, 14 September 2009

NYC - the place to be

Facing stiff competition for my next speech. Slight clash with a keynote address by a certain Barack Obama! Still, impressive list of powerful people for my private lunch at Thompson Reuters. And press interest here's been almost overwhelming. My opening of the Nasdaq was carried live over multiple channels and projected on a massive screen on Times Square. Wonder if our exchanges in London should create a bit more of a carnival to get the day's trading underway. President Obama and I are both focussing on similar concerns - the future of our financial sectors. I understand the lure of legislation, or regulation as it would end up, and I get the public mood. But I do urge everyone to tread carefully on this one to avoid harming a sector that has been vital to the success of London and New York, and should - I believe - have a thriving future.
To view the coverage of my NASDAQ speech and the opening bell ceremony go to the NASDAQ homepage - link below. You'll need to fast forward to 4mins 40 seconds for my speech and bell ringing:

Live on Fox News

Early start. Live on Fox News ahead of a high powered breakfast with leading investors. President Obama's here in New York later today urging tighter regulation of the financial sector. Don't want to clash with him but have shared my concerns with Fox about the need to tread carefully here. Our sister cities have thrived on innovation, enterprise and the enormous energy of our key sectors. And finance has been central - producing huge tax revenue to fund public services as well as enormous income which sustains so many other jobs outside finance. I'll shortly be ringing the opening bell at Nasdaq. Later I'll have a similar stunt to close the NYSE. Let's hope for a record day of trading in the meantime.

Thank you Michael!

Terrific night at the stunning private home of Michael Bloomberg. The Mayor of New York was one of the first people to visit me after my election to City Hall and he threw the most wonderful party in my honour last night. Shouldn't really say who was there but can't resist mentioning the adorable Emma Thompson, top newscaster Katie Couric, and a very powerful newspaper man credited with frightening influence over British politics. We share many common challenges as Mayors and I'll be spelling some of them out as I ring the opening bell on the NASDAQ exchange later today and close the NYSE at the end of the day's trading. But Mayor Bloomberg was quite right to remind me last night of our first meeting in my office. He handed me a beautiful crystal apple. I gave him a shirt showing a map of our underground. Last night was payback time. I am now the proud owner of a hat, an umbrella and a tie all emblazoned with the the New York subway lines - thank you! Mike and I will get down to business tomorrow at the Manhattan Institute. First I'll be spending a day with some of the most powerful investors in the world, reminding them of the exciting, and lucrative opportunities open to them in London.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Christmas in London

Morning all. A fine day in Manhattan. Central Park looking splendid on my jet-lagged dawn run. Off shortly to the Disney Store to help promote their version of Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol. It's got fabulous British actors like Bob Hoskins, countless scenes of our great capital and it will set the scene for the Christmas lights in the west end when it premiers in November. It feels a little early for carols perhaps but I look forward to the choir on 5th Avenue later and I'm delighted Disney will help fund the energy-efficient light bulbs which will light up London during the forthcoming festive season. Tourism has proved robust in these difficult times, but visits from North America are down. So this is a chance - alongside others in the next few days - to put that right.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

9/11 British Memorial Garden

Some footage here of my visit to the British Memorial Garden in Lower Manhattan, a wonderful memorial to those who died in the tragedy.

New York Visit - arrival

Just landed in New York - the city where I was born. My good friend Mayor Bloomberg kindly sent two detectives to ease my passage through immigration and the weekend traffic. All talk here is of Derek Jeter - the Yankees captain who has just set a new record with 2,722 hits. The City is also reflecting on the 8th anniversarry of 9/11. My close colleagues in the NYPD have been recaling their own roles clearing the debris at ground zero, and explained how the death toll is still rising because of of illnesses contracted then that are killing some survivors now. Mayor Bloomberg has paid tribute to "the compassion and selfless acts" which helped the city move on. I'll be visiting the British Memorial Garden, launched in 2003 and opened to the public two years ago. 67 obelisks stand in memory of the 67 British citizens murdered that day. A rose, thistle, flax and daffodil reminds us they came from every part of the UK and the motto says it all: "Reflect, remember, rebuild".

Friday, 11 September 2009

New York, New York

Great weekend ahead, back to my birthplace in New York. Looking forward to championing London and saluting its sister city.

It's a pretty packed schedule. I'm going to meet some top actors, glamorous fashion figures and some high powered business leaders. Also spending some time with my good friend Michael Bloomberg, the New York Mayor, and doing a joint session at a prestigious Manhattan Institute conference.

Our cities have much in common and we'll be making some anouncements about joint projects that will benefit us both.