Saturday, August 8, 2009

Man-on-the-street Interviews: Michael Bloomberg

Student Nathaniel Reel from the Bronx, NY interviews a passerby on his opinion of Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Rockefeller Plaza. (Photo Credit: Brian Rokus '99)

By Wing Cheung (New York, NY) 

On a scorching August afternoon, my group and I went out to interview people in Manhattan about their opinions on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to pursue a third term by participating in the upcoming mayoral election.

My first encounter was with a Long Island couple at Lincoln Center. Both the husband and wife approved of Bloomberg’s record, explaining that the incumbent’s work in the areas of education and the economy was exceptional. As a New Yorker, I agree with the couple’s opinion that Bloomberg’s work in reforming the post-9/11 economy has been effective, but I disagree about the mayor’s work in the area of education. While Bloomberg reduced class sizes, many schools (mine included) still lack resources and space.

My most memorable interview from this assignment is my encounter with a family of non-English speakers. The husband, seemingly lost in the foreign tongue in which I made my introduction, failed to convey to me what he wanted to say. I felt frustrated by the linguistic barrier because it confined me to the most basic form of communication: a firm handshake and eye contact.

While the time allowed for this assignment was limited, it had a long lasting effect on me: I am now fond of interviewing people, whether they are people in a prearranged interview or strangers on the street. Though prearranged interviews often feel less intimidating because I get to conduct research about my interviewee beforehand, interviews with people on the street has a unique element of surprise.

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