“Of course I wouldn’t miss this,” he said as he surveyed the more than 40 television cameras and 100 journalists who were there to witness the event.
“He couldn’t hold it together,” Mr. Cohen continued, speaking of his local Congressman in his last moments in office. “This is the day of the Internet. You can’t do stuff like that.”
Weiner’s choice of venue for his resignation announcement–The Council Center for Seniors–was poetic. It was where he began his first race for the City Council in 1991. It was also one of the few venues where Weiner could find a welcoming audience, as nearly every onlooker who made their way up to the 2nd floor cafeteria (where a scheduled sing-along was canceled in light of recent of events) to catch the speech counted him or herself a Weiner backer.
“I didn’t want him to resign,” said Ethel Martinburg, sitting outside the cafeteria. “Why? Because there are other precedents. What they did with those beauties and they hushed it up. I could write a letter about them. You know what they did. Kennedy. His brother. And where is Clinton, the son of a gun?”
But Ethel–crotch shots?
“He shouldn’t have resigned. He should have gone for treatment. His wife was never there when she should have been. What is she doing over there? When you are married you can stay near your husband. Otherwise he’ll look. You know, let ’em look. You don’t give ’em a chance.”
When Weiner finally appeared before a phalanx of the press corps–the size of which he could only have dreamed about when he was in office–he was greeted by cheers from the seniors in the back of the audience. After a few paeans to the middle class that sounded like the start of a stump speech, Weiner said, “I am announcing my resignation.” The crowd let loose with a loud, “Awww.”
It was about as good as it would get for the embattled Congressman.
Before he could get another sentence out, Benjy Bronk, a regular on the Howard Stern Show stood up and shouted, “Senator Weiner [sic] the people must know–Were you fully erect? The people want to know. I want to know.”
Mr. Weiner gamely soldiered on, but Bronk stood up again a few seconds later, “Senator Weiner–fully aroused, are you more than 7 inches? Fully aroused, are you more than 7 inches? Who’s with me?”
A Weiner staffer tried to quiet him. Community police officers came over. As the press conference ended, Bronk shouted, “Will you maintain your hot physique?”
Afterwards, the press fanned out to get quotes from the old folks standing by. And the old folks traded notes about which TV stations had caught them, and made plans to watch evening newscasts together.
Florence Greenberg, 87, and sitting by herself by a sign that advertised the center’s activities for the day, including 1 p.m. Chinese and Hawaiian folk dance class and a 2:15 “Still Kick Just Not As High” Session flagged The Observer down and wanted to know where we were from.
We told her.
“Isn’t that a Jewish paper?” she asked.
“I think it’s disgusting the whole thing,” Ms. Greenberg continued, unprompted. “The man was stupid but he didn’t kill anybody. He didn’t commit any crimes for God’s sakes. And Spitzer too was good. Spitzer used his own money. He didn’t rape anybody. And you know the way those young girls dress nowadays they are asking for trouble. “