There was no dancing at the Seneca Club’s 109th Dinner Dance–a veritable sea of elected officials–but there were about 55 honorees, who received diamond-shaped trophies and dined on a buffet that included a kosher option.
“It’s sort of like a political bazaar that’s as much like Baghdad as it is anything else," said Roger Adler, a judicial candidate for the 1st Civil Court District in Brooklyn. "There’s a chuckle quality to it, like, give me a break, this is like polyester. And then there’s the more substantive one–people are brought together.”
Outside the buffet, I caught Representative Ed Towns, who was on his way out after receiving an award.
“This is one of the oldest clubs in the borough,” he told me. “In order to be around for over 100 years you have to have a level of consistency, and also the ability to evolve with the community — Greenpoint is not the same as it was a hundred years ago,” he said, gesturing outside as a man rolled by in a motorized wheelchair.
Near the stuffed cabbage, an onlooker who did not want to be identified confided that he finds spotting the judicial candidates an excellent way to pass the time.
“Nobody ever sees them,” the source said, winking. “Ask the average person. Nobody has the slightest idea who they are, but they’re here tonight.”
Adler’s opponent, Devin Cohen, was also there. They seemed to be avoiding each other.
Seated right inside the door holding a light blue trophy was Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, drinking coffee. I asked his thoughts on the Democratic presidential primary. Lentol, like many elected officials in the city, supported Clinton.
“It’s hard to break two glass ceilings at once,” he said. “We just didn’t break the one we wanted.”
He shrugged. “But if you want my prediction, I don’t think [Hillary supporters are] going to go vote for McCain.”
Representative Anthony Weiner didn’t get an award, but he was there to address the crowd and afterward met me in what he referred to as his office: the couch in the lobby.
“Well, she’s not expired,” he said when I asked him about Clinton, adding, “I worked very hard for Hillary."
"I think she would have been a terrific president of the United States," he went on. "But these primaries don’t guarantee that you get your way, they just guarantee that you get your say.
"I said everything I could for her. She’s going to come back and be an amazing senator just like she was before. And Barack Obama’s going to be our next president, so I think we made out pretty well.”
Near the end of the event, an older gentleman in a gray shirt sang an enthusiastic rendition of the Frank Sinatra song “My Way." Then City Councilman Eric Gioia made the last speech of the evening.