London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, traveled across the pond to visit the city that never sleeps during a political tour of North America. We asked him about his favorite spots in the city, his hopes for the future and what he thinks of Bill de Blasio.
First thing’s first: What spots will you be nominating for our inaugural Love New York Awards, which celebrate NYC’s best businesses?
Broadway’s Hamilton. Barrow Street Theatre, the Staten Island Ferry, Serendipity 3 restaurant and the World Trade Center. St. Paul’s Chapel, where I prayed with a vicar, a rabbi and an imam. The Mets at Citi Field; I threw the first pitch [last week]! And they made a shirt with my name with 44, the number of the bus my dad drove in London.
Why is it important to you to support local businesses?
Most shops support family and community and give neighborhoods unique identities. You want diversity, variety and to be surprised.
How would you describe our mayor?
I’m a big fan of Bill de Blasio. He’s doing a difficult job. New York’s a rich city, but there are challenges, like the explosion in Chelsea. As a mayor, you worry. Are we being vigilant enough? We mustn’t live in fear or terrorists win.
Now, tell me about London’s mayor.
He’s brilliant! The best mayor ever: charismatic, hard-working and humble. Mayors have the best job in the world. The chance to give back is a privilege. I was raised in a housing project. My mom was a seamstress. My parents were immigrants from Pakistan. If you work hard, you can achieve anything.
What are your policies and platforms?
To make housing and public transit affordable—I’m freezing London’s transport fares for four years. Dealing with Brexit. We’re invested in infrastructure and want our young people to have skills for tomorrow’s jobs. London’s population, 8.6 million, is like New York’s, but estimates say we’re going to hit 10 million by 2030. Growth is not a problem if you plan for it. I’ve got a simple campaign: London is open for talent, ideas and trade.
What else do you hope to accomplish?
I’m a proud feminist in city hall. As a father of two daughters, equality is personal. More than half the deputy mayors I’ve appointed are women.
What do you think of our current presidential election?
America is seen as a beacon of tolerance, welcoming immigrants. Your election has been depressing.
Who would you vote for?
Hillary Clinton is the most experienced presidential candidate ever. I’m in favor of hope and unity versus fear and division. May the best candidate win—I hope she does.
Show your love! Nominate your favorite local places for the Love New York Awards.