Of Real Estate and Politics
The political divide that runs down the middle of Central Park, dividing the very blue Upper West Side from the very red Upper East is considered as unyielding and insuperable as the Berlin Wall. During the last presidential election, the top two fundraising zip codes for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were on the Upper West Side (10024) and Upper East Side (10021) respectively, an ideological division that has held fast all these years despite all that is shared between the fabulously wealthy residents who live in the sprawling, pre-war co-ops lining either side of the Park.
However, as the results of the most recent mayor’s race reveal, the political leanings of the East and West sides are not as uniform as they seem at first blush—in fact, during an analysis of The New York Times‘ election district results, The Observer discovered that there are some surprising bastions of conservatism in a few of Central Park West’s most storied buildings (alas, no corresponding pockets of liberalism can be found in the posh precincts that radiate out from Fifth Avenue).
Politically speaking, Bill de Blasio is the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. He will inherit a thriving, dynamic, creative city that is the envy of its competitors. His two most recent predecessors were not so fortunate when they took the oath of office for the first time—Rudy Giuliani was bequeathed a city deemed to be ungovernable, and Mike Bloomberg began his tenure in the shadow of 9/11.
Mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio made a rare appearance in the Bronx today, greeting excited voters, handing out candy to trick-or-treating kids and talking up his campaign’s get-out-the-vote efforts in the election’s final stretch.
That didn’t go as planned.
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota was forced to come to his rival’s defense this evening after a caller on his tele-town hall called Democrat Bill de Blasio’s family “sickening.”
Members of New York City’s Congressional delegation, long relegated to the sidelines of local politics, are increasingly filling the void left by the declining influence of political party apparatchiks.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Brooklyn, home to Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio and his GOP rival Joe Lhota, as well as public advocate runoff contenders Letitia James and Daniel Squadron. The latest trend from the borough of hipsters, Hasidim and Caribbean homelands is the toppling of incumbents with the help of U.S. Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Nydia Velázquez.
Occupy the mayor's race
This afternoon, Bill de Blasio described his candidacy for mayor as an outgrowth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is celebrating its second anniversary occupying Zuccotti Park today.
“It’s a complicated movement to say the least, but the core message was we have to address inequality,” said Mr. de Blasio during an endorsement press conference on the steps of City Hall, where the drums from an anniversary march could be heard echoing from the street.
A confident Bill de Blasio brushed off suggestions that the Democratic nomination is in limbo, telling reporters this afternoon that he’s moving full steam ahead, regardless of the final outcome of the mayoral race’s count.
“I don’t feel like I’m in limbo,” declared Mr. de Blasio, speaking to reporters at a lively rally in Brooklyn celebrating a judge’s ruling to keep Long Island College Hospital open indefinitely, to supporters’ enthusiastic applause.
“Can I ask the audience, ‘Do I look like a guy in limbo?’” he asked them.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed this morning that he will not weigh in on the mayor’s race–despite having recently called one of the likely contender’s campaign’s “racist.”
“I decided I am not going to make an endorsement in the race,” said Mr. Bloomberg during a truncated appearance on WOR’s John Gambling show, which marked his first interview since the mayoral primary Tuesday night.
Monday Morning Quarterbacking
After an electoral loss, it’s never hard to find pundits who, with the benefit of hindsight, can tell you exactly what went wrong.
Still, the long, brutal decline of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign stands out. She had dominated the early polls of the race—at one point approaching the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Last night, as the votes poured in, she was ultimately relegated to a distant third, holding just 15.5 percent of the primary vote.
At her somber election party, campaign staffers and surrogates acknowledged they had underestimated voters’ deep frustrations with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and demand for a change in leadership—a message seized on early by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, the decisive winner in the race. “New Yorkers have made it clear that they want a very different direction,” said Ms. Quinn’s campaign spokesman Mike Morey, referring to what he coined “Bloomberg fatigue.”
Election Day: 2013apalooza
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who was once considered the heir to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s throne, ended her campaign for mayor on Tuesday night, coming in a distant third place in the polls.
“I want to congratulate my opponents Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio on a hard-earned victory,” an emotional Ms. Quinn told enthusiastic supports gathered at the swanky Dream Hotel in Chelsea, where the only decoration was a single “Christine Quinn for New York” banner hung above a simple stage.