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Tuesday, 6 November, 2001, 03:16 GMT
A new mayor for a changed city
New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg
Rudolph Giuliani, left, is barred from seeking a third term
Megan Lane

On Tuesday New Yorkers will go to the polls to choose a new mayor. The winner will take over a job now dominated by the aftermath of the terror attacks and overshadowed by a commanding predecessor.

New York City is about to lose its newly beloved father-figure, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

He will vacate City Hall on 31 December after eight years, barred by law from running for a third term.

Voters will chose his successor on Tuesday, after a campaign all but ignored after the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and subsequent anthrax threats.

Graffiti on a New York bus stop
New Yorkers are being urged to resume their normal lives and vote
Before 11 September, it would have been a relatively easy ride for the new mayor.

For the past five years, the FBI has rated New York as the safest large city in the United States.

Crime has been cut by half and the city is cleaner.

A poll by the New York Times last August showed the city's inhabitants to be unusually content with their lot.

But governing New York City is once again going to be a tough job.

The city faces a massive rebuilding programme, a projected $8.7 billion budget shortfall, and its citizens are jittery and in need of reassurance.

New-found presence

The two men vying for the job, Democrat Mark Green and Republican Mike Bloomberg, have a tough act to follow.

Mayor Giuliani has come into his own since the attacks, largely by being where the people need him to be and telling them what they need to hear - whether they like it or not.

He has toured Ground Zero almost daily. He has mourned lost rescue workers, made the unpopular decision to cut the numbers searching the ruins, and returned to yet another memorial service.

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the New York Marathon on Sunday
Mayor Giuliani is seen as a hero by many New Yorkers
At the weekend, as his city hosted its annual marathon and faced Arizona in the final game of the baseball World Series, he shuttled between New York and Phoenix to cheer the runners and the Yankees respectively. Everywhere he goes, crowds erupt.

His behaviour has earned him respect of fans and detractors alike.

Father Peter Meehan, of Our Lady of the Rosary - the chapel set aside for British relatives to pay their respects - says the straight-talking Giuliani was just what a city in denial needed.

Plea to vote

"He's not my cup of tea but he has been brilliant, and consistently so. He was very brave when he announced publicly the end of the rescue work, that no more survivors would be found.

"Then he backed that up with services for the families, such as speeding up getting death certificates," he said.

Although on 25 September, the re-run of Primary Day suspended on 11 September, many voters said they only wanted to cast a ballot for a man not on the list - Rudolph Giuliani - they now accept that his term is almost up.

Mayor Giuliani himself is among those urging people to resume their normal lives. Voting for a new mayor is one such task.

In the Upper West Side, one of the more politically active parts of the city, campaign posters remind residents that: "Things will never be the same. One thing must never change - vote."

See also:

06 Nov 01 | Americas
New York goes to the polls
06 Nov 01 | Business
Feud erupts in New York election
19 May 00 | Americas
Giuliani quits Senate race
28 Jan 01 | Americas
New York mourns John Lindsay
05 Jun 01 | Americas
Billionaire eyes Big Apple
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