12. The Big Apple’s First Lady
For some New Yorkers, Chirlane McCray represents a modern First Lady for modern times — one who speaks her mind, remains true to herself and stands on her own while working in tandem with her husband of 20 years, Mayor Bill de Blasio. Citizens there aren’t always fixated on a prototype — or on having a First Lady in Gracie Mansion at all. Some mayors had them (Dinkins). Some didn’t (Bloomberg and Koch). Some had more than one (Giuliani).
“The best part about being First Lady is that I can now do a lot more to help those who are helping others,” McCray said.
Earlier this year, de Blasio appointed her as the unpaid chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. McCray focuses on raising funds to Improve neighborhoods and opportunities for children. She’s an advocate for education, including universal pre-kindergarten, and she also supported an Ebola relief fund.
In October, she hosted the UpStander Awards at Gracie Mansion, as part of a campaign to encourage New Yorkers to stand up against domestic violence rather than being passive bystanders.
Mental health is also near and dear to her heart, especially after her eldest child, Chiara, shared her challenges with depression, anxiety, drugs and alcohol.
And true to today’s times, she’s put a digital spin on Eleanor Roosevelt’s “My Day,” columns which were published from 1935 to 1962. McCray keeps New Yorkers abreast of her words and actions via Twitter @Chirlane and a blog on Tumblr, flo.nyc — First Lady of New York City or #FLO-NICE, evoking her love of poetry.