While the position is actually known as the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, Markowitz has received support for the position from public advocate-elect Letitia James and Councilman David Greenfield.
“It is flattering that two of my colleagues in government would think of me in such esteem,” Markowitz said in response to the support. “I look forward to whatever role I may take in continuing to serve to my borough and my city in the next chapter of my life.”
As commissioner, currently held by Columbia graduate Marjorie Tiven, Markowitz would be responsible for working with city agencies to “expand New York’s foreign city outreach,” as well as represent the city as a liaison with foreign governments, the United Nations and the U.S. Department of State.
Now the question is whether he is qualified or not.
As some have come forward in opposition of the promotion to commissioner, the fact that he is even being suggested for the post is actually more telling of the job he did as borough president.
Though some have deemed Markowitz as nothing more than a mascot, he has in fact often been a powerful advocate for pushing technological and green development in one of the fastest developing counties in the country, whether you always agreed with his positions or not. Just look at the recent developments at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. That along with his devout cheering and advocacy for development projects like the Barclays Center helped usher in a new public image for the borough beyond New York City.
According to the report titled “NYC Tourism: A Model for Success,” the borough has seen a steady influx in new hotels and growth in room inventory, a sign that tourism dollars are being spent in the borough.
At a time when the post of borough president is openly lambasted and lampooned, with many calling for its removal altogether, the fact that Markowitz is still so highly regarded among his colleagues shows what can be done with the post.
We don't know if New York City Ambassador is really the right post for Markowitz or if he even wants it, but the fact that he is leaving office with this amount of respect shows that there is still a spot in public service for the inimitable politician.
While it can be argued whether the borough president’s limited budget can only go so far, Markowitz has undoubtedly evolved with the fast-changing borough.
If there were in fact room on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s staff for the jovial Brooklyn advocate, it would be a great disservice to the borough and the city to lose such a supporter.