De Blasio, looking toward the camera will get used to managing his glances, his gestures, his lines of sight. In short order, the new Mayor will be as good at it as his predecessor. In the meantime, however, the Getty photographers have the advantage as the newbie steps gingerly, as he did yesterday during his first day on the job. And what was the major order of business (besides sidestepping the political threat of a snow storm)? That would be, swearing in your police chief and presenting your progressive self to a civil defense force famous for the zealous and racially skewed “stop and frisk.”
Because I wasn’t there, I couldn’t say if an atmosphere of friendliness pervaded or there was an undercurrent of tension in the room. (After all, many of the prominent speakers at the inauguration the day before had barely hung back, calling out Bloomberg to his face for the city’s social divide and the racial polarization surrounding the men and women in blue.) What I can say, looking at these pictures from the Bratton ceremony though, is how a series of unguarded expressions allowed Getty’s Spencer Platt to at least suggest a sense of discomfort.
It’s one thing to imagine a culture where purple abounds and everything’s kumbaya. That was the beat De Blasio orchestrated so well during the transition, proving there’s nothing more seductive than scenes — such as these from an event honoring Nelson Mandela, or the appointment of Bratton — where opposites attract.
Of course, the chance for the stolen moment is going to diminish as de Blasio gets adjusted. If the progressive agenda finds the police, the Police Commissioner and the Mayor settling in a different alignment, however, it will be interesting to see how Getty’s finest respond.
(photos 1-3 & 5: Spencer Platt/Getty Images captions 1: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sits on stage during the swearing in ceremony for New York City’s 42nd police commissioner William Bratton at One Police Plaza on January 2, 2014 in New York City. Bratton, who was recently the commissioner for the Los Angles Police Department, takes over the job of leading the nation’s largest police department.caption 3: (L to R) New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, sits on stage with William Bratton, just sworn in as New York City’s 42nd police commissioner, at One Police Plaza on January 2, 2014 in New York City. Bratton, who was recently the commissioner for the Los Angles Police Department, takes over the job of leading the nationÕs largest police department. photo 4 & 5: Christopher Gregory/Getty Images caption 4: Mayor elect Bill de Blasio and newly selected police commissioner Bill Bratton arrive at the National Action Network in Harlem on December 7, 2013 in New York City. Mandela, also known as Tata Madiba, passed away on the evening of December 5th at his home in Houghton at the age of 95. Mandela became South Africa’s first black president after being jailed for decades for his activism against apartheid in a racially-divided South Africa. caption 5: Bill Bratton’s wife, Rikki Klieman (2nd R) sits with New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray (2nd L), as Bratton is named to lead the New York Police Department by New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio on December 5, 2013 in New York City. Bratton was police commissioner in New York in the mid-1990s and had been considered a front-runner for the job, He will return to a city that is experiencing historically low crime rates.