New York State’s Electoral College convened Monday, casting its 29 votes for New York’s home state candidate Hillary Clinton. Led by former president Bill Clinton, the electors met in the majestic state senate chamber at the Capitol for a tightly scripted session without any disruption or deviation. Clinton’s New York victory, expected to be a foundational bloc for her winning campaign, was instead a cruel coda to the disorienting election night experience of an anticipated presidency suddenly vanishing. There were some smiles and applause in the senate chamber Monday, but it wasn’t a celebration. Like a jilted groom recasting the pre-paid reception as a party, New York Democrats could cheer their own victories and predominance in their state but the overriding feeling was the last-minute loss of something so much bigger.
Former President Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo were the stars of the show, with Cuomo presiding as president of the convention. They entered the senate chamber together to a standing ovation, after all of the other electors and spectators had taken their seats, later rising to cast their ballots together. Cuomo lauded Clinton during his closing remarks, drawing a standing ovation for the former president.
Mayor Bill de Blasio continued his energetic embrace of New York City’s Muslim population Sunday evening, visiting Staten Island’s Albanian Islamic Cultural Center. de Blasio spoke at a celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birth. Since taking office de Blasio has embraced the City’s Muslim community, adding two Muslim holidays to the school system’s calendar for example, with that embrace more visible as we enter the Trump presidential era. For de Blasio the Staten Island location was an additional plus, as many Staten Islanders feel that de Blasio has minimal interest in the smallest borough.
Arriving about 30 minutes late, de Blasio joined a group of about 75 men seated on the carpet of a large prayer room. Women were seated on a rear balcony, obscured by a scrim-draped railing. de Blasio was accompanied by the NYPD’s borough commander, Assistant Chief Edward Delatorre and escorted by the Center’s president, Dr. Zarkani Vardar, and Imam Tahir Kukaj. Both Vardar and Kukaj gave warm introductions of de Blasio, with Vardar thanking de Blasio for the respect implicit in his visit. Dr. Vardar’s compliment that he could see de Blasio as president someday drew a smile and a chuckle from the mayor.
de Blasio spoke strongly on confronting anti-Muslim bias and hatred, promising continued vigorous effort by the NYPD. He praised Imam Tahir Kukaj, hailing the NYPD’s arrest of a man charged with threatening the Imam. Afterwards, the mayor greeted and took photos with several dozen well-wishers. He did not take press questions.
The “friends” scattered, leaving separately through different court house doors, united only in their silent response to press questions.
Joe Percoco, a former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and seven co-defendants were arraigned today on federal corruption charges. According to prosecutors, some of alleged corrupt actions committed by Percoco were for “friends” of the governor and his political operation.
The eight defendants were arrested and charged in September on a criminal complaint prepared by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Today’s arraignment followed the recent issuance of an indictment by a federal grand jury, which replaced the criminal complaint. All eight defendants were reported to have entered not guilty pleas today.
Thousands of anti-Trump protesters filled Fifth Avenue Saturday afternoon and evening, venting their anger and frustration at the election of Donald Trump. Converging marches from Union Square and Columbus Circle brought protesters to a stand-off with police just south of Trump Tower. There were a couple of minor scuffles between protesters and police, but no major trouble that I observed. Waving signs and chanting, the crowd’s contempt for Trump was unmistakable, expressed in signs ranging from angry to funny to earnest.
The annual memorial service marking the 2001 crash of American Airlines Flight #587 was held Saturday morning. Mayor Bill de Blasio joined attendees at the service, held at the memorial constructed just off the beach on Rockaway’s Beach 116th Street. The flight was headed from JFK to the Dominican Republic and the majority of those onboard were Dominican Americans and Dominican nationals. The crash also killed five people on the ground in Rockaway.
de Blasio was infamously late to the 2014 memorial service, his first as mayor. He missed the moment of silence, provoking a firestorm of criticism over his then-frequent tardiness to public events. This year, as in 2015, de Blasio arrived early and worked his way through the audience shaking hands, hugging and talking with attendees before the service began.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made a four borough GOTV swing today, visiting Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College, Queens’ LaGuardia Community College, Manhattan’s Baruch College and the Bronx’s Hostos Community College. At Medgar Evers and Baruch de Blasio spoke to about 150-200 people at brief outdoor rallies. (I did not attend the LaGuardia or Hostos Community College appearances.)
There’s little in the way of competitive races within the City, so the Mayor’s GOTV effort won’t impact election outcomes. Instead, it’s an opportunity for the Mayor to limber up the campaign muscles with some positive visibility. (Curiously, however, the Mayor was accompanied by government staff rather than campaign staff.) Continue reading Photo Gallery: de Blasio GOTV (Updated)→
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill attended a memorial for NYPD Detective Randolph Holder this afternoon, marking one year since Holder was murdered while on duty.
Held at PSA 5 in Harlem, the memorial included about 200 police officers and about a dozen members of Holders family. The memorial included remarks by Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner O’Neill, PBA President Pat Lynch and the current commanding officer of PSA 5, as well as Detective Holder’s father. The ceremony concluded with an unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Detective Holder’s memory.
There was no discussion of politics or the variety of issues facing the NYPD and the Mayor, with the speakers focused on Detective Holder and his family, along with the at times grave challenges that police officers regularly face.
New 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.
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 then joining a motorcade for the sad journey.
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.
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.
2017 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.
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.
It was a Sixth Avenue sauna for the annual Dominican Day Parade today, as marchers made their way up a hot and humid Sixth Avenue. The crowd was smaller than past years, perhaps due to the uncomfortable weather.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was the political headliner, joining numerous members of Congress, state legislators and city council members (including Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito) and fellow City-wide electeds Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Tish James. Among the legislators were State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Member Guillermo Linares and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, each born in the Dominican Republic. de Blasio did not hold a Q&A or take press questions, and reporters and photographers were kept well away from the Mayor as he marched. Governor Andrew Cuomo, the honoree at the 2015 Dominican Day Parade breakfast, did not attend.
Orchard Beach, once nicknamed New York City’s Riviera for its broad crescent beach, hosted a visit from Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Chief of Department Jimmy O’Neill this afternoon. de Blasio and O’Neill, named by de Blasio as the next NYPD Commissioner, inched their way along the boardwalk for about 45 minutes posing for pictures with a steady flow of well-wishers.
It was a very positive reception for the pair, with no vocal negative reactions apparent. de Blasio, readily recognizable, maintained a steady refrain of “have you met our new commissioner” as he exchanged pleasantries with the stream of people approaching him. O’Neill appeared to enjoy the walk, although he was less absorbed in it than de Blasio. At times O’Neill, in uniform and still the highest ranking service member of the Department, appeared equally absorbed in what he’s done for decades – watching the goings-on around him and the operation of his Department.
Mayor de Blasio and his administration face a very large transition in Commissioner Bratton’s departure, larger than in any other commissioner replacement. Bratton arrived as a dominant public figure, well-known to New Yorkers from his prior stint as New York’s police commissioner and enormously comfortable in the public eye, and his public visibility has dwarfed that of all of de Blasio’s other commissioners. O’Neill is a very well regarded chief, but largely unknown to the public and a very different persona than Bratton. He may well succeed in both managing the NYPD and in the larger public role that comes with being commissioner, but his tenure will undoubtedly be very different as he moves into the post-Bratton vacuum.
This very small moment in O’Neill’s rollout as commissioner and de Blasio’s simultaneous lead up to a reelection campaign was a success, moving both efforts incrementally forward. As they departed de Blasio commented to O”Neill on the warm reception, optimistically emphasizing that “they want you to succeed.”