US

Bloomberg: 3-term NYC mayor's impact unquestioned, but his legacy still hotly debated

  • In this Oct. 27, 2001, file photo Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, center, endorses Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg, left, on the steps of City Hall in New York. Giuliani’s popularity soared after the Sept. 11  terror attack and his endorsement of Bloomberg, combined with panic among voters about the city’s safety and fiscal future, propelled the businessman to a narrow win. Bloomberg went on to serve for mayor for 12 years, and now, as he prepares to leave office at month’s end, he has dramatically reshaped the city. (AP Photo/Robert Spencer, File)

    In this Oct. 27, 2001, file photo Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, center, endorses Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg, left, on the steps of City Hall in New York. Giuliani’s popularity soared after the Sept. 11 terror attack and his endorsement of Bloomberg, combined with panic among voters about the city’s safety and fiscal future, propelled the businessman to a narrow win. Bloomberg went on to serve for mayor for 12 years, and now, as he prepares to leave office at month’s end, he has dramatically reshaped the city. (AP Photo/Robert Spencer, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Nov. 5, 2001 file photo, Michael Bloomberg holds 11-month-old Joshua Rodriguez while campagning for mayor during an impromptu campaign stop at a Brooklyn McDonald's restaurant in New York.  Bloomberg went on to win the election and during his 12-years in office zeroed in on fast food chain restaurants witH innovative public health policies that appear to have added years to residents’ lives. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, File)

    In this Nov. 5, 2001 file photo, Michael Bloomberg holds 11-month-old Joshua Rodriguez while campagning for mayor during an impromptu campaign stop at a Brooklyn McDonald's restaurant in New York. Bloomberg went on to win the election and during his 12-years in office zeroed in on fast food chain restaurants witH innovative public health policies that appear to have added years to residents’ lives. (AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 11, 2002 pool photo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bows his head as he leaves the podium after speaking at a ceremony marking the one year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. When Bloomberg became New York City’s mayor 12 years ago, he was a political neophyte faced with the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Now, as he prepares to leave office at month’s end, he has dramatically reshaped the city. (AP Photo/The New York TImes, Ruth Fremson, Pool, File)

    In this Sept. 11, 2002 pool photo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bows his head as he leaves the podium after speaking at a ceremony marking the one year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. When Bloomberg became New York City’s mayor 12 years ago, he was a political neophyte faced with the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Now, as he prepares to leave office at month’s end, he has dramatically reshaped the city. (AP Photo/The New York TImes, Ruth Fremson, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

When Michael Bloomberg became New York City's mayor 12 years ago, he was a political neophyte faced with the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Now, as he prepares to leave office at month's end, he has dramatically reshaped the city.

New York has never been safer or cleaner and welcomes more than 50 million tourists a year.

But it also faces widening income inequality and strained relations between police and some minority communities.

Bloomberg's legacy will be debated, but his impact is clear. One pundit says it is "unlikely that there's going to be another Bloomberg."

His great fortune rewarded allies and silenced critics, allowing him to largely stay above partisan fights.

He vowed to never seek office again but will fund pet causes like gun control.