Economics/Class Relations

‘The Builder Who Remade New York Reckons With His Legacy,’ by Justin Davidson

As Michael Bloomberg’s deputy mayor, Dan Doctoroff was behind an extraordinary number of sweeping, city-changing projects. That run of condo towers, office buildings, and parks that lines the East River’s east bank? The makeover of Downtown Brooklyn? And two new ballparks, Barclays Center, Hudson Yards, even Citi Bike: They are all things Doctoroff conceived or championed or rammed through or otherwise enabled. He was a man in a furious rush, often compared to Robert Moses both for his get-it-done attitude and, sometimes, his shouty arrogance. Later on, at Bloomberg L.P. and Google’s Sidewalk Labs, he dived into other cities’ plans with the same zeal. As it turns out, he had good reason to get things done in a hurry. In 2021, Doctoroff, like his father and uncle before him, was diagnosed with ALS, and the disease is beginning to rob him of his mobility. In this vivid, definitive portrait of the man and his career, Justin Davidson generously but clearheadedly assesses his legacy and even gets Doctoroff to offer some self-criticism — but only a little, of course. He’s still Dan Doctoroff.

—Christopher Bonanos, city editor, New York

What the Builder Built Under Mayor Bloomberg, Dan Doctoroff remade the city at top speed. Now, as New York is again mired in crisis, he faces his own.

Photo: Hugo Yu

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