Well, it did not take long for Hillary Clinton to assemble her campaign team.
With Bill and Chelsea off in India, Jesse Jackson flew into town and emerged as the voice of the “Clinton for Senate” campaign last week, as he stood before a microphone and characterized Mrs. Clinton’s opponent, Rudolph Giuliani, as a “mentally disturbed person” who was both “insane” and “un-American.” Meanwhile another Hillary surrogate, the Rev. Al Sharpton, declared that Mr. Giuliani had a “personality disorder.” Mrs. Clinton rounded out this chorus with her own speech, at a town hall meeting in Harlem, where she blasted the Mayor for “dividing this city.”
It appears Mr. Giuliani now has three opponents, each of whom is rough, dirty and capable of inflaming any situation. Their incendiary words contributed to the climate which provoked a riot outside the funeral of Patrick Dorismond. A political race which features Hillary and her tag-team partners Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson is going to make the World Wrestling Federation look like nursery school.
Mrs. Clinton could, of course, have taken a statesmanlike stand against Mr. Giuliani’s unfortunate response to the police shooting of Dorismond. She could have risen above verbal jousting and spoken from a position of strength about her dismay over her opponent’s demeanor. Instead, while giving lip service to the high road, she steered her campaign straight onto the low road. She embraced one hatchet man, Mr. Jackson, who in the past has shown just how deeply concerned he is about New York’s well-being by referring to the city as “Hymietown.” She forged another pact with Mr. Sharpton, a well-seasoned liar and anti-Semite who helped incite a fatal fire outside a Jewish-owned business, and who has never disavowed his close relationship with Louis Farrakhan or Khallid Muhammad, two vicious bigots who routinely call Judaism a “gutter religion” of “bloodsuckers.” What does Mrs. Clinton have to say about her political alliances? This time, she can’t blame a faulty translator, as she did when she gave a warm hug to Suha Arafat just after the P.L.O. leader’s wife accused Israelis of gassing Palestinian children.
There is no question that the Dorismond shooting has wounded the city, and that Mr. Giuliani’s words and actions have been less than wise. But Mrs. Clinton’s response-to pour salt into that wound-is a sorry indication of her intention to fight as dirty as she can to win a Senate seat in a city and state where she has never lived. Mr. Giuliani may be aggressive, obstinate and impossible, but at least he fights his own battles. To find out who the real Hillary Clinton is, one must remember that he who lies with dogs, riseth with fleas.
Nerds Come to Town
Back in the early 1990’s, New Yorkers who wanted to work in the fast-growing Internet business had to move to sleepy San Francisco or soggy Seattle. No more. According to a recent survey conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, there are now more than 250,000 Internet-related jobs in the New York area, up from 106,000 in 1997. The survey reports that 1,700 Internet companies have moved to New York in the past three years. The average age of their employees is not, as myth would have it, 25, but rather 35. In other words, these men and women may be the new bedrock of the city’s cultural life and are a driving force behind the vigorous real estate market.
The Internet can be seen as a savior for New York’s ability to attract young people, sparking a rebirth of the entrepreneurial spirit. Moreover, each and every one of these wired worthies is going to need an apartment, is going to be eating at restaurants, buying tickets to the theater. New York’s status as the nation’s top provider of creative content has always made the city an inevitable Internet hub. What the city also had to offer was vast amounts of industrial commercial space in lower Manhattan that was available and cheap. The old Nabisco baking company buildings are now home to Oxygen Media Inc.; the old Port Authority building in Chelsea is now Barnesandnoble.com; and 55 Broad Street, previously home to Drexel Burnham and other investment firms, is a fully modernized Internet office building.
Of course, a lot of Internet money could fade away. One hopes it isn’t just I.P.O. money that is buying into the real estate market, that the new jobs are based on real potential earning power, not a temporary cash infusion. For now, we’re happy that the nation’s brightest, Web-savvy college grads no longer have to live in cities with coffee bars instead of culture.
Lincoln Center’s Leading Man
Far too often we read about high-ranking public servants who put in a few years at a high-profile position, then leave for a lucrative private-sector job, trading on their connections. And then there’s Nathan Leventhal, the former Deputy Mayor under Edward Koch, who is stepping down after almost 17 years as president of Lincoln Center. When he left public service in the early 1980’s, after having distinguished himself not only in the Koch administration, but as one of John V. Lindsay’s Young Turks, Mr. Leventhal went into the not-for-profit sector at Lincoln Center. A lawyer by training, he could have easily found a rewarding position as a lobbyist-rainmaker at any of the city’s white-shoe firms. Instead, he continued to serve the public as the head of one of the country’s cultural jewels. He was responsible for attracting new audiences to Lincoln Center with programs such as the Jazz at Lincoln Center series. His political skills served him well, too, in dealing with Lincoln Center’s various components, including the Metropolitan Opera.
Beverly Sills, Lincoln Center’s chairman, called Mr. Leventhal’s departure a “devastating loss.” No doubt. But New Yorkers should be grateful for his long run, and wish him well in the next stage of his life.