Photo Gallery: Jimmy Breslin’s Funeral



Writer Jimmy Breslin, whose outrage at societal wrongs and interest in people combined in a novelized reporting style that powerfully captured the New York of his era, was memorialized in a funeral Wednesday at the Upper West Side’s Church of the Blessed Sacrament.  Among the several hundred mourners were several Cuomos, including Governor Andrew, broadcaster Chris and their mother Matilda.  Contemporaries Mario Cuomo and Breslin had a decades-long close relationship, which Andrew Cuomo movingly described in his eulogy.

Mourners included Tony Bennett, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Bo Dietl, former NYC council speaker Chris Quinn, former NYC council member Robert Jackson and NY Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman.

Andrew Cuomo spoke briefly with reporters after the funeral:

Photo Gallery:

Cameras were not permitted inside the church during the funeral, so our photos were shot as mourners departed.  Our full photo gallery is here.

Wilson-Pakula For Dietl?



Bo Dietl held a campaign kick-off press conference today on the steps of City Hall for his quixotic mayoral campaign, moving forward after a muffed attempt at shifting his party registration from Republican to Democratic.  Dietl, who initially wanted to challenge Mayor de Blasio in the Democratic primary, ended up as a man without a party after the Board of Elections rejected the form he submitted as improperly completed.  Dietl now plans to run on a self-created ballot line, “New York Cares.”

Under New York election law candidates may seek to run on the line of a party that they’re not registered in only with the permission of the party, granted via a “Wilson-Pakula” waiver.  I’ve heard that some Republican party leaders are considering offering Dietl a Wilson-Pakula and asked him about it today.  Here’s what he had to say:

QVRC Lincoln Day Dinner (Updated)



The Republican mayoral primary rolled through Queens Village Sunday as America’s oldest Republican club held its annual Lincoln Day Dinner.  Over 300 people attended, lamenting the perceived faults of the de Blasio administration and hoping for a path to ending that administration.  Candidate Michel Faulkner and prospective candidate John Catsimatidis spoke during the dinner, while candidate Paul Massey attended the cocktail hour but did not address the crowd, departing before the dinner began.  2014 Republican gubernatorial nominee Rob Astorino also attended the cocktail hour, but departed without addressing the crowd.

With a long list of speakers and honorees, the dinner program limited the mayoral candidates to about 5 minutes each.  Faulkner took full advantage of his short time, launching into a fiery denunciation of Mayor de Blasio with a “dump de Blasio chant” and a declaration of “desperate times” in both the country and the city.  He breezed past his campaign finance difficulties, proclaiming that he’s “in it to win it.”  He closed by quoting Donald Trump; unlike Paul Massey and prospective candidate Eric Ulrich, Faulkner is an enthusiastic Trump supporter.

QVRC Lincoln Dinner 3-19-17-29

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St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017



The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, New York City’s annual celebration of all things Irish, featured numerous politicians marching up Fifth Avenue Friday.  Among the biggest political names were Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny.  Political parade traditions include a stop to greet Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of the New York Diocese,  as he watches the parade from a perch in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Photo Gallery:

Our full photo gallery is here.

A Queens Harvest



Massey 3-13-17-7Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey sought to again relaunch his campaign, with a visit today to Kissena Farms Kosher Supermarket in Flushing billed as part of a five day series of visits to the five boroughs “formally launch[ing]” his campaign.  His visit included his third press conference and a cameo by Queens Republican County Chairman Bob Turner, but omitted typical elements of a campaign launch such as cheering supporters, family or a symbolically important backdrop.

Massey arrived early and stood smiling and chatting with Turner as shoppers moved past them.  A few asked what was going on, but the majority rolled past pushing their cart and getting their list out.  Massey and the store manager then did a lap of the outer aisles, chatting about the products they passed, the grocery business and the upcoming holidays. Massey greeted a few shoppers, but he mostly walked past them seemingly absorbed in his conversation with the store manager.

Massey 3-13-17-5

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Turner With Massey



Queens County Republican Chairman Bob Turner supports mayoral candidate Paul Massey, although he’s not ready to describe it as “a formal endorsement.”  Turner joined Massey at a press conference today in Flushing, dubbed by the Massey campaign as “formally launching” his campaign.   “I am supporting Mr. Massey, but this is short of a formal endorsement” said Turner when I asked Massey whether he has Turner’s support or endorsement.  Turner had stood off to the side watching as Massey held his press conference, not joining him at the lectern.  (When I spoke with Turner on March 2nd, he seemed supportive of Massey, but was not nearly as direct.)

In a conversation  with Turner afterwards he emphasized that the Queens Republican organization has not yet endorsed or supported Massey, although he expects a decision on whether to do so in “less than a month.”  Turner appeared quite optimistic on the effort by the five New York York City Republican county chairs at uniting behind a single candidate.  Doing so, presuming Massey is their choice, may discourage Eric Ulrich (the only New York City or New York State Republican elected official representing Queens) or John Catsimatidis from entering the race or encourage Michel Faulkner to end his campaign.

Video:

Here’s our post-presser conversation:

Republican Mayoral Forum – Columbia Edition



Like a blooming sign of spring, the nascent Republican mayoral primary continued emerging this week, with a candidate forum last night.  Hosted by the Columbia University College Republicans, the forum featured four candidates: Darren Aquino, Michel Faulkner, Paul Massey and Eric Ulrich.

Columbia Mayoral Forum 3-9-17-6

The forum was a “compare and contrast,” rather than a mix-it-up/toe-to-toe, style.  Each candidate was asked each question seriatim, with little direct interaction among the candidates.  It’s a less dramatic format, but useful in this early “getting to know you” stage.  The audience of about 75 people was attentive but mostly silent in the soaring rotunda of Columbia’s Low Library.

Aquino is an actor and self-described “national advocate for disabled” who has not had any significant previous visibility in the race.  His January campaign finance filing reported raising $1,000, with $542 on hand.  Faulkner and Massey are both declared candidates who have been running energetically for months, with their most recent appearances being Wednesday night at a Bronx County Republican dinner.  Ulrich, a member of the City Council and the only Republican candidate with government experience, is registered with the Campaign Finance Board as a candidate for an “undeclared” city office.  He’s effectively running at the moment, albeit at a somewhat reduced pace and without a full commitment, appearing at some political events while he considers whether to fully move ahead and formally declare himself a mayoral candidate.  That decision is likely in the next couple of weeks.

John Catsimatidis, a wealthy businessman who lost to Joe Lhota in the 2013 Republican primary, is also considering a run but did not appear at this forum.  Like Ulrich he’s appearing at some political events but hasn’t announced his candidacy.  (Unlike Ulrich, he has not registered with the Campaign Finance Board.)  Catsimatidis recently said that he expects to make a decision on running by late March or early April.

Video:

Here is the full forum:

Bronx GOP Dinner



Bronx County Republican Chairman Mike Rendino 3/8/17
Bronx County Republican Chairman Mike Rendino 3/8/17

It was dinner with the 1%.  Not that 1%, but the 1% of New York City voters registered as Bronx Republicans.  The not-quite 40,000 registered Bronx Republicans comprise less than 1% of New York City’s registered voters and don’t have any New York City or New York State elected officials, but they hosted an energetic dinner last night featuring two mayoral candidates and one prospective candidate.

Cast by Bronx County Republican Chairman Mike Rendino as kicking off the 2017 Republican mayoral race, the dinner featured appearances by candidates Paul Massey and Michel Faulkner and possible candidate John Catsimatidis.  Among the three hundred or so attendees were Republican State Chairman Ed Cox, Republican County chairs from Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island and New York City’s two Republican members of the New York State Assembly, Staten Islanders Nicole Malliotakis and Ron Castorina.

NYS GOP Chairman Ed Cox, Queens GOP Chairman Bob Turner and John Catsimatidis at the Bronx GOP dinner. 3/8/17
NYS GOP Chairman Ed Cox, Queens GOP Chairman Bob Turner and John Catsimatidis at the Bronx GOP dinner. 3/8/17

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Photo Gallery: Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017



Rockaway Parade 3-2-17-5A cold, bitter wind blew across Rockaway Saturday afternoon.  It wasn’t the sentiment of residents toward Mayor de Blasio, but an actual wind blowing in from Jamaica Bay during the Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The cold temperature and strong wind dampened attendance, but those turning out appeared to have their usual good time.  It’s a world apart from the large Fifth Avenue parades, and even from many parades in other parts of the City, with a strong small town feel to it as the parade flows through a suburban neighborhood of single family homes.  Green-clothed crowds filled many front lawns and porches, with cheers for the marchers interspersed amid a steady flow of eating, drinking and talking.

Rockaway Parade 3-4-17-35

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Faulkner On ConCon



Republican mayoral candidate Michel Faulkner does not support a state constitutional convention.  He gave a nod to supporters, but ultimately placed himself in the “no” for November’s ballot question.

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.

Here’s what Faulkner had to say following an appearance Monday night at the Knickerbocker Republican Club:

Massey Misses With The Masses (Updated)



Massey Press Conf 2-21-17-9Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey is having a tough time connecting with the Republican party faithful, despite some strengths as a candidate and support among the party leadership.  While “masses” may overstate the 60,000 or so Republicans scattered across the city who may actually vote on primary day it’s still a sizable group that Massey will need to persuade.

There are immediately apparent similarities between Massey and Michael Bloomberg: each is a wealthy self-made man who created and ran his own business, was born and raised in the Boston area, oozes self-confidence and discipline and chose New York City mayor as his first political race.  Resembling a successful well-regarded past mayor is a good starting point for a new candidate.  The downside for Massey is that Bloomberg, while now ever-more highly regarded as Republicans chafe under a de Blasio administration, was never really loved by the Republican rank and file and his Bloombergesque profile, at this early stage, appears to leave many Republican Party faithful cold.  The operatic Rudy Giuliani, rather than the emotionless Michael Bloomberg, is the mayor these Republicans love.  Massey may be a more personable and warm version of Bloomberg, but he’s nonetheless much more Bloomberg than Giuliani.

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Bob Turner On The Mayoral Race



 

Queens County Republican Chairman Bob Turner.  3/2/17
Queens County Republican Chairman Bob Turner. 3/2/17

Will an effort by New York City’s five Republican County chairs to avoid a mayoral primary by uniting behind a  single mayoral candidate succeed?  It’s possible, but some of the county chairs are publicly skeptical.  Beyond the initial challenge of agreeing on a single candidate, should such agreement occur the county chairs and organizations can’t prevent other candidates from running.  They can cajole, try to convince and pressure candidates, but candidates will have the opportunity to petition on to the primary ballot regardless of county organization preferences.

Queens County Chairman Bob Turner expressed that view tonight, affirming that the county chairs would like to unite but acknowledging that it’s beyond their direct power.  In a brief conversation last night Brooklyn County Chairman Ted Ghorra similarly lauded the goal of uniting but expressed doubt about it happening and emphasized the importance of voters having a chance to hear from all interested candidates.  In late January and early February Manhattan County Chairwoman Adele Malpass expressed more enthusiasm for the effort, saying she was hopeful that it would conclude by late March or early April.

Turner told me tonight that he will “probably” personally endorse a mayoral candidate and that he expects to do so in about two weeks.  He would not say who he’ll support but it’s my guess (and that’s really just a guess) that he’ll go with Paul Massey.

Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey (standing with hands folded) listens as Queens County Republican Chairman Bob Turner speaks at the Queens Village Republican Club. 3/2/17
Republican mayoral candidate Paul Massey (standing with hands folded) listens as Queens County Republican Chairman Bob Turner speaks at the Queens Village Republican Club. 3/2/17

 

Video – Here’s what Turner had to say following a Paul Massey appearance at the Queens Village Republican Club:

Brooklyn GOP Mayoral Forum



Republican mayoral candidates Paul Massey and Michel Faulkner appeared at a candidate forum hosted by the Brooklyn Republican Committee last night.  The candidates appeared separately for just under an hour each, with time allotted for a speech, questions submitted via social media, audience questions and press questions. An audience of 60-70 people listened closely, responding positively to both candidates although more enthusiastically to Faulkner.

Sitting in the audience was New York State Conservative Party Chairman and Brooklynite Mike Long.  Long said that he does not yet personally support any mayoral candidate and that he was there to listen.  Long also said that his party is also not yet at a decision point for selecting a mayoral candidate, adding that Massey, Faulkner and John Catsimatidis have expressed interest in receiving the party’s support.

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