Fahy Motorcade



The FDR Drive was a sad trail marked by periodic flashing lights today as fire companies briefly halted their activities, setting themselves in small groups along the Drive to salute their fallen brother.  The remains of FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, killed yesterday in a Bronx house explosion, were moved today from the City Medical Examiner’s office to a Yonkers funeral home.  Manhattan fire companies gathered in small groups scattered along the Drive, standing at attention and saluting as the ambulance carrying their colleague passed by.

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Two engine companies, one ladder company and a battalion chief gathered at 90th Street, standing along both sides of the highway.  The blustery winds and dark clouds were barely noticeable, pushed aside by the overwhelming sensory experience of a steady whoosh of passing cars.  The firefighters lined up along the guard rail drew horn toots and waves from passing cars, along with an occasional supportive clenched fist.  Some firefighters waved in return but their hands rarely made it above their sternum, seemingly weighed down by their loss.

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There was a false alarm of sorts, triggered by a real alarm.  Firefighters briefly snapped to attention as two FDNY trucks, lights flashing, moved up the Drive.  As it quickly became apparent that they were responding to an emergency and not part of Chief Fahy’s motorcade the firefighters relaxed.  The momentary respite quickly gave way to a silent northbound side of the highway, with traffic blocked as the motorcade approached.  Chatter ceased as the motorcade rolled past, firefighters at attention and southbound motorists staring.  It was soon over, the fire fighters climbing back into their trucks and driving off as the sound of a fire truck siren and blairing air horn drifted across the river from Queens.

Photo Gallery:

Our photo gallery of Battalion Chief Fahy’s motorcade is here.

Our report and photo gallery of Mayor de Blasio’s press conference is here.

Photo Gallery: FDNY Battalion Chief Fahy



img_8165New York City Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Fahy died in the line of duty Tuesday, killed in a Bronx house explosion.  Mayor Bill de Blasio joined FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and other officials at a New York Presbyterian/Allen Hospital press conference to announce Fahy’s death.

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Shortly after the press conference Fahy’s remains were removed from the hospital and transported to the City Medical Examiner’s Office.  More than 100 firefighters present stood at attention, saluting their fallen comrade as the FDNY ambulance carrying his remains passed, with many than joining a motorcade for the sad journey.

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Our full photo gallery is here.

Percoco Surrenders



Percoco Federal Court 9-22-16Joe Percoco, once among the most powerful New York political figures, appeared in federal court today to face criminal charges stemming from a pair of alleged bribery schemes.  A longtime aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Percoco was one of nine men charged in connection with the alleged schemes.  Three of those defendants, Percoco, SUNY Polytechnic Institute CEO Alain Kaloyeros and Peter Galbraith Kelly, appeared in federal court in Manhattan.  The others appeared in federal court in Syracuse and Buffalo.

Percoco was visible to cameras for only a few seconds, despite a long day spent in the U.S. Attorney’s office and court.  He was wholly out of sight until 4:30, when he appeared in a courtroom.  Cameras are not permitted there, so his appearance in front of any press cameras was limited to a few second dash from the courthouse to a waiting car.  Here’s a look:

Percoco Fed Ct 9-22-16

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Our full photo gallery is here.

Cuomo & de Blasio At Explosion Site



Cuomo & de Blasio At Chelsea Explosion Site 9-18-16It was a tale of two hugs.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio briefly put aside their differences this morning to jointly visit the site of Saturday night’s explosion in Chelsea.  They did not make any public comments or answer press questions during their walk, however, instead holding separate press conferences.  Cuomo spoke with the press at the site shortly before their walk, following an initial unannounced site visit by Cuomo, while de Blasio spoke with the press shortly afterwards at NYPD headquarters.  de Blasio had also held a press conference Saturday night at the site.

Cuomo & de Blasio At Chelsea Explosion Site 9-18-16

The governor and mayor met just outside the security perimeter at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue, hugging hello and then moving inside the security perimeter accompanied by aides, their own respective photographers and videographers and a small press pool.  They spoke with a few small groups of residents and business owners/employees inside the perimeter as they made their way to and from the blast site.   Most of the large press presence observed from outside the perimeter, about 100 yards from the blast site.

Cuomo and de Blasio wrapped up their walk with a visit to a Starbucks just outside the security zone, press excluded.  Emerging from Starbucks the pair again hugged, amid a press crush, then parted.

Photo Gallery:

Our photo gallery is here.

Photo Gallery: Bratton Departure Walk



Bratton Departure 9-16-16William J. Bratton concluded his second term as New York City’s police commissioner Friday with a sun-dappled stroll through a cheering crowd of several hundred police officers and invited guests.  Leaving the NYPD’s One Police Plaza headquarters with his wife Rikki Klieman, Bratton smiled, waved, shook hands and hugged his way across Police Plaza.  Waiting at the end of the line were his successor, Chief of Department Jimmy O’Neill, and his boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio.  With some final goodbyes Bratton and his wife mounted an antique fire engine for a short ride through the arch of the Municipal Building and onto Park Row.

Bratton Departure 9-16-16

Bratton leaves behind a re-energized New York City legacy, having led the NYPD through continued declines in crime over his 32 months in office, and stood as a central figure in the de Blasio administration’s public profile.  He’s been an enormous political asset to the Mayor, both for his Department’s success in continuing to push crime rates down and for his essential public role as de Blasio’s prime voice on public safety.  His polite Boston-accented bluntness has mostly been welcomed by the public, giving his “progressive” boss room to operate amidst a determined chorus of “hellholers”; critics who from de Blasio’s election declared that the City is destined to become a crime ridden hellhole with de Blasio in charge.  Preventing that from actually occurring and fighting the creation of a public perception that it’s occurring are both vital and Bratton largely succeeded on both.  He certainly has critics though, and a small but vocal group stationed themselves near the end of Bratton’s walk.

His successor Jimmy O’Neill is, so far in his career at least, not nearly as large a public personality and doesn’t display any evidence of a craving of the spotlight.  The large post-Bratton vacuum will be filled, but whether it’s by Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner O’Neill or critics is, of course, to be determined.

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Our photo gallery is here.

Bratton Departure 9-16-16

Saddle Up For 2017



Horse Protest - Gracie Mansion 9-15-162017 could be a rough ride for Mayor de Blasio as animal rights activists saddle up for a renewed campaign to end the use of carriage horses in Central Park.  150-200 activists loudly protested outside Gracie Mansion this evening, demanding de Blasio follow through on his 2013 promise to do so and expressing bitter disappointment over his failure to do nearly three years into his first term.

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During the 2013 campaign de Blasio unequivocally promised to immediately end the use of carriage horses, drawing enthusiastic support from advocates.  He quickly encountered difficulties in fulfilling that promise, however, with little visible progress after nearly three years.

Fairly modest in number, activists working toward a carriage horse ban are highly organized and energetically devoted to their cause.  Their loud visible presence hounded Christine Quinn in the 2013 mayoral campaign and it looks increasingly likely that, unless Mayor de Blasio comes through on his long-promised ban, he will receive similar attention in 2017.

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Our photo gallery is here.