NEW YORK - New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, an unabashed liberal who campaigned to keep down crime and continue the city's prosperity while reducing the gap between rich and poor, was sworn in at a ceremony at his home just after midnight.
De Blasio's formal inauguration ceremony will take place at noon on Wednesday at City Hall, where former US President Bill Clinton will administer the oath of office using a Bible once owned by Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who led the city through its response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the recession six years later, and whose policies have been credited with making the city safer, greener and more livable, is leaving City Hall after 12 years.
Bloomberg plans to take a two-week vacation in Hawaii and New Zealand with his longtime girlfriend, Diana Taylor. Then, the billionaire, who has homes in Bermuda and London, has said he will focus on his charitable foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and remain active in public health, gun control and government innovation.
On the campaign trail, de Blasio presented himself as an anti-Bloomberg, decrying the "tale of two cities" that emerged as New York shed its reputation, from the 1970s and 1980s, as a gritty and dangerous place.
After a resounding victory in November with more than 70 per cent of the vote, de Blasio has pledged to confront the affordability gap that has led to those in the middle and at the bottom of the economic ladder struggling to pay for basic services such as housing and mass transit.
Over the last decade, as the city prospered, apartment rents in New York City rose about 44 per cent and the cost of a monthly Metro card jumped 60 per cent.
De Blasio has made some major promises, and his critics are likely to quickly seize on his ability to deliver.