A four alarm fire erupted this morning on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, drawing a massive FDNY response. The fire began in the basement of a small building on Second Avenue between 82nd and 83rd Street, spreading upwards through pipe spaces and walls.
Thousands gathered in front of the Stonewall Inn Saturday as a show of “solidarity” against Donald Trump. Elected officials, LGBT activists and entertainers (with some meeting more than one category) exhorted the audience to stand firm against many of Trump’s actions and initiatives, particularly those that would harm the LGBT community. Speakers included Senator Chuck Schumer, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, former council speaker Chris Quinn, Public Advocate Tish James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Council Members Corey Johnson, Jimmy Van Bramer and Rosie Mendez, Cynthia Nixon and Omar Sharif Jr.
Council Member and putative Republican mayoral candidate Erich Ulrich supports holding a state constitutional convention.
The 2017 general election will present voters with a ballot question of whether to hold such a constitutional convention, often referred to as a “ConCon.” The state constitution requires that voters be presented with such a ballot question every 20 years; it was voted down in 1997 and 1977. Should voters approve a ConCon, convention delegates would be elected in the 2018 general election and the convention would convene in the spring of 2019.
Saying that there are vital changes that “weak-kneed politicians in Albany and City Hall have refused to take up,” Ulrich said that he is “wholeheartedly” in support of a convention. Should Ulrich run and make it to the general election, the ConCon could be an energizing issue in November.
We spoke with Ulrich following an appearance at the Upper East Side’s Metropolitan Republican Club.
“The current mayor is failing. I’m the answer.” That was Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey as he offered a harsh analysis of the “current mayor” and displayed supreme self-confidence in his ability to correct those perceived failings.
Speaking to a packed room of about 125 people at the Upper East Side’s Metropolitan Republican Club Monday evening, Massey demonstrated strong speaking skills and a steady, friendly temperament that easily engaged his audience. He shared their disdain for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who Massey never referred to by name, but there was a meaningful gap between Massey and his audience on several issues.
Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey offered a less than full embrace of President Donald Trump. Speaking briefly after an appearance at the Metropolitan Republican Club Monday evening Massey offered only modest criticism of Trump’s recent executive order banning refugees and residents of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.
On the so-called “travel ban”, Massey began with a declaration that “we’re a city of immigrants” and defended the travel ban only so far as it may address realistic security concerns around controlling entry to the U.S. He added that any such security measures should “be done with dignity and respect for everyone.” When asked his broader view of Trump’s first ten days in office Massey demurred, saying only that “I disagree with him on a bunch of policies” before pivoting to talk about the importance of a mayor “getting along with the federal government” as well as the governor of New York, and attacking Mayor de Blasio as “corrupt … divisive … incompetent.”
His lukewarm comments toward Trump separate him from his audience, which appeared enthusiastically supportive of Trump. Notably Eric Ulrich, one of Massey’s Republican mayoral rivals, is also not a strong Trump supporter. Their coolness toward Trump may be a significant element in the nascent Republican primary.
Governor Andrew Cuomo cruised into the Javits Center this afternoon, speaking at a brief opening ceremony for the annual boat show. Cuomo, a self-described enthusiastic boater and fisherman, is a regular at the boat show.
Cuomo’s brief remarks touched on his own love of boating, with a few cracks about hosting his daughters’ dates on boat trips and his brother Chris’s fishing skills. He also spoke of the economic contributions of the boating industry. Cuomo did not take any press questions, going on a “private tour” of the boat show immediately after the opening ceremony. Notwithstanding that the boat show was open to the public, Cuomo’s staff sought to prevent members of the press from accompanying him as he walked the floor.
Hundreds of thousands of people filled Manhattan streets Saturday in opposition to Donald Trump. Marching from Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, opposite the Trump World Tower, to Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower, the enormous throng voiced their disagreement with many things Trump; from snarky dismissals of his “small hands”, to his stated opposition to abortion and reproductive rights to his misogynsitic views crystallized in his infamous Access Hollywood recording.
Anger and opposition were the underlying motivators for the march and most participants, but the mood of the march itself was quite celebratory. Participants appeared thrilled to be there, joining with hundreds of thousands of like-minded opponents of President Trump in cheering each other on.
The day began with a rally in an overflowing Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, with thousands more people filling the surrounding streets. The rally and march were surprisingly light on elected officials. Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was the top-billed speaker, and Public Advocate Tish James and City Comptroller Scott Stringer also spoke. Senator Chuck Schumer was among the crowd during the march, but no elected officials walked at the head of the march. Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand did not attend.
It was an arresting start to the Trump presidency for three New York City elected officials. Council Members Jumaane Williams and Carlos Menchaca and NYS Senator Marisol Alcantara sat down in the middle of Fifth Avenue just as Donald Trump took office, staging a protest that promptly produced arrests by the NYPD. They were joined by several others, including Kirsten John Foy, Gillman Rose, Margalit Ewart and Council Member Williams’ mother.
Family and friends gathered by the thousands Friday to say goodbye to NYPD Detective Steven McDonald. In contrast to most line-of-duty police officer funerals, in which most attendees did not personally know the deceased, virtually all of the thousands in and around St. Patrick’s Cathedral that morning knew of McDonald and a large portion knew him personally.
Shot and paralyzed in 1986, McDonald had an unmatched role in New York City’s civic life. Literally unable to speak initially after being shot he became a unique voice, both tirelessly supporting and encouraging his fellow police officers and publicly forgiving the teen who nearly killed him.
Governor Andrew Cuomo began a three day, six speech tour today, replacing the traditional State of The State address in Albany with a roving series of regional appearances. He spoke today to an invited audience of approximately 200 on the 64th floor of 1 World Trade Center. Far above any protesters or discordant views Cuomo’s 40 minute speech provided an array of new programs and funding, a congratulatory look at his six years in office and an outline of how Cuomo may seek a prominent national role during the Trump presidency.
Governor Andrew Cuomo offered interesting introductions of some political friends and frenemies today. As he began his State of the State tour today in Manhattan Cuomo noted the presence of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (“doing great work with us, please stand”), Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (“doing a great job”), NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (“let’s give him a round of applause”) and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (“doing a magnificent job”). He’s had significant friction with Schneiderman, although they’ve had a much more cooperative relationship in the past 18 month, a fraught relationship with DiNapoli since Cuomo was attorney general and a dizzyingly difficult relationship with de Blasio.
Perhaps due to an apparent cold/sore throat, Governor Cuomo also referred to “Cardinal O’Connor” when thanking Cardinal Dolan for offering a blessing before Cuomo took the stage.
Today’s Three Kings Day Parade featured five elected officials; Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, NYS Senator Jose M. Serrano and NYS Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez. Marking the Feast of the Epiphany, the date that tradition holds Jesus was baptized and then visited by three wise men, or kings, the parade is sponsored by El Museo del Bario.
It was a warm reception for Mayor de Blasio, as squeals of school kids and shouts of encouragement floated out over Third Avenue. The hazy morning was brightened by scattered pods of cuteness as small children lined up wearing crowns, waving and trying to attract the mayor’s attention. “Four more years” shouted a woman as the mayor and his marching companions moved up the Avenue. She ran out and hugged the mayor mid-march, falling in behind him for the rest of the parade and sporadically repeating her “four more years” call.
In a seemingly spur-of-moment decision at the end of the parade, Mayor de Blasio accompanied Speaker Mark-Viverito to La Marquetta. It’s a marketplace under the Metro-North tracks on Park Avenue, and a favorite location of the Speaker. Mayor de Blasio did not take press questions.