Local events this week: Mammograms, Bird walk, MulchFest

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman at a mammogram event in December

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman at a mammogram event in December

Free mammograms outside Stuyvesant Town

Following a successful event last month in which women 40 and older were offered free mammograms outside of Stuyvesant Town, the mammogram van is back today.

The event sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, is running now through 4 p.m. today on First Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets. Space is limited and appointments are mandatory. Call (800) 564-6868. All insurance plans accepted. Co-payments and deductibles waived. Free for women over 40.

Theater at the 14th Street Y presents ‘Kaddish’

“Kaddish,” a play based on Nobel Prize-winner Imre Kertész’s novel “Kaddish for an Unborn Child,” will run January 10-13 at the Theater at the 14th Street Y.
“Kaddish,” a one-man show featuring Jake Goodman and directed by Barbara Lanciers, comes to the Y following a critically-acclaimed run in Budapest this past June.
The play is an exploration of ritual and loss. It looks at a father’s unrelenting conflict over the absence of the child he never had during his ultimately doomed marriage. A Holocaust survivor, he had refused to bring a child into a world where horrors like the one he experienced can occur. The longing and regret that haunt this character give rise to one of the most eloquent meditations ever written on the Holocaust. The production is intimate, featuring a solo performance by Jake Goodman on a 10-foot square stage covered in dirt and light.
Performances (55 minutes in length) are Jan. 10 at 5 and 7 p.m., Jan. 11 at 11 a.m., 3 and 9 p.m., Jan. 12 at 1, 4 and 6 p.m. and Jan. 13 at 3 and 5 p.m. Tickets, $18, can be purchased at http://www.14streety.org/boxoffice or by calling 1-800-838-3006. The Theater at the 14th Street Y is located at 344 East 14th Street between First and Second Avenues.

Bobby Fulham memorial game set for January 11

On Saturday, January 11, 2014 the sixth annual Bobby Fulham Epiphany Alumni basketball game will be held at Xavier High School in the main gym, 30 West 16th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
Doors open for registration and warm-ups at 6 p.m. The ladies’ game is at 7 p.m. Men’s game to follow.
The late Bobby Fulham, a resident of Stuyvesant Town, was a good friend to many families in the neighborhood and was instrumental in getting the Epiphany Basketball Program to the level it is at today. Fulham lost his battle to cancer five years ago this past November. Every year many former players return to play in the game in his honor.
All of the proceeds of this year’s event will be donated to the CYO Basketball and the Epiphany School basketball program. Admission is a $20 donation, which includes a commemorative t-shirt, $5 for students and kids. Players are also asked to donate $20. All checks should be made out to CYO. For more information, contact Ray Curley (rtcurley99@aol.com), Tom Issing (tgi32@aol.com) or Mike Nealy (Michael.nealy@admlaw.com).

Bird walk on January 12

On Sunday, January 12 at 9 a.m., Anne Lazarus will lead a bird walk through Stuyvesant Cove Park and Stuyvesant Town. This free event will begin at the 20th street entrance to Stuyvesant Cove Park near the rocky outcropping, continue through the park and end in Stuyvesant Town. Possible bird sightings include several winter water birds as well as some interesting ducks. It is also hoped that the Varied Thrush, a rare bird recently spotted in Stuyvesant Town, will stay in the area until then. The walk will last approximately two hours and will take place even in the event of light rain. All are invited to participate and encouraged to bring cameras and binoculars. The Stuyvesant Cove Park Association would love to receive any photos of birds spotted on the walk. They can be sent to stuyvesantcove@yahoo.com.

Kips Bay neighborhood Alliance fundraiser

The Kips Bay Neighborhood Alliance is holding a fundraiser at Hill & Bay, 581 Second Avenue, on Monday, January 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to raise awareness and membership. The event will give residents a chance to meet their neighbors, community leaders and local elected officials. The $20 suggestion donation for the event includes annual membership to the KBNA, one drink ticket and appetizers. There will also be a cash bar available. For more information, contact kbna.info@gmail.com.

MulchFest in Stuyvesant Town, Tompkins Sq. Park

Stuyvesant Town and Tompkins Square Park will be participating as chipping sites in MulchFest on Saturday, January 11 and Sunday, January 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At this event, New Yorkers are encouraged to bring their discarded Christmas trees to be recycled into mulch. The site at Stuyvesant Town will be at the East 20th Street Loop and the site in Tompkins Square Park will be at East 7th Street between Avenues A and  B.  Free mulch will be available at each chipping site. Trees can also be brought to a drop-off site beginning on January 4 through January 12 to be recycled later. Special curbside collection for mulching and recycling of trees will be conducted by the Department of Sanitation from December 30 to January 15.

Coat drive at Oval Concierge through January 15

New York Cares is working with Community Partners in NYC to distribute coats to New Yorkers in need. A temporary bin has been set up at Oval Concierge to make it easy for PCV/ST residents to donate new or clean, gently used jackets and coats from Thursday, January 9 through Wednesday, January 15 at Oval Concierge (276 First Ave).

MORE EVENTS

For listings om local entertainments events: concerts, theater, comedy, burlesque, art exhibits, kids’ events, discussions and more, see T&V’s Around & About page.

For listings on local health and fitness events: support groups, screenings, classes and more, see T&V’s Health and Fitness page.

For listings on events held at local houses of worship: talks, special services, classes and volunteer efforts, see T&V’s Religion Page.

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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 9

Political cartoon by Jim Meadows (jimtoon.com)

Political cartoon by Jim Meadows (jimtoon.com)

What are the policies for student apartments?

To the Editor,

I recently witnessed an early morning scuffle between a neighboring tenant and the Security personnel of PCVST over incessant noise issues driving her to lose sleep and becoming extremely  frustrated over the lack of response from management. The problem here was the upstairs “neighbor.”

But the root cause of the problem is the local universities, NYU and the New School to name a few, who have entered into an “arrangement” with PCVST management to house students in a traditional urban residential setting.

The dormitory atmosphere that has been created is not compatible with the notion of decent affordable housing for families and working New Yorkers.  It has eroded the original intent of the developments’ creation.

Those of us who remember dorm life recall it was a great time of discovery and freedom – responsibility only came after graduation when reality set in.

As tenants, we have a right to know what this arrangement with the schools consists of. First, is it legal under NYS laws, which protect these housing units? Are there rules for students in other dorms under their direction and what are they? Has PCVST management given leniency on noise and rowdiness issues due to a seeming endless lucrative arrangement with these schools? Are there separate rules for the students and non-student tenants? As tenants, what recourse do we have against the nuisance?

Perhaps the Tenants Association and our state legislators can get some answers for us so we can better understand what is being created here.

Charles Sturcken, ST

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MTA gets earful about L train and station crowding

Straphangers head upstairs to exit the First Avenue L station on a recent morning. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Straphangers head upstairs to exit the First Avenue L station on a recent morning. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Representatives from the Metropolitan Transit Authority made an appearance at Community Board 6’s most recent transportation committee meeting to discuss the lack of distinguishing lights on SBS buses and the ongoing issue of overcrowding at the First Avenue L train station.

Residents at the meeting said that their concerns were more about dangerous conditions at the station due to the crowds, rather than it just being a nuisance.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” said one Stuyvesant Town resident at the meeting. “It’s routinely dangerous and way beyond annoying because everyone masses at the station’s exits.”

Others at the meeting agreed, adding that on top of the station’s increasing popularity as more people have moved to Williamsburg, the lack of multiple exits results in commuters packing the end of the train and causing hazardous conditions on the platform because of the pushing and shoving of the crowd.

“We acknowledge that (there are overcrowding problems),” Rob Marino, the MTA deputy director of government and community relations, said in response. “The station was built in 1924 and was probably not designed for the level of service that it receives now.”

Transportation committee member Fred Arcaro asked about the possibility of conducting a study to increase the number of trains but according to MTA representative Marcus Book, there have been studies done determining when the train is the busiest and the L is already running at capacity at those times, he said.

Stuy Town resident and Transportation Committee Member Larry Scheyer asked about the possibility of building another entrance to the station at Avenue A in an attempt to balance out the crowds. CB6 Chair Sandro Sherrod added that there was discussion in CB6 about four years ago about L train crowding at the station and the MTA had discussed the possibility of doing a feasibility study on an eastern entrance for the station. But both Marino and Book said that there were no plans for such a study at the moment and although they understand it’s a problem, building an entirely new entrance is an “expensive proposition.” They had no other information about solutions for the time being, other than to say that the issue was “on the radar.”

Meanwhile, area residents also shared their concerns about the SBS blue lights with the MTA reps.

A lack of the flashing blue lights that used to announce the impending arrival of the SBS express buses have been a problem for bus riders since Staten Island representatives pressured the MTA to turn them off at the end of 2012. SBS buses were put into service in 2008 and the lights caused no problems until Staten Island got its first SBS bus in late 2012 and then-MTA commissioner Joe Lhota agreed to turn them off at the beginning of 2013.

Marino said at the meeting that at the time SBS routes were initially rolled out, the NYPD had no problems with the flashing blue lights on the front of the buses, but Staten Island representatives later protested the lights, saying that they were too similar to volunteer emergency vehicles and were causing too much confusion for drivers.

Since the lights were turned off about a year ago, the MTA has been trying to work with the State DMV to find an alternative but have had no luck so far, as most other light colors are also reserved for emergency vehicles by law.

Local elected officials have introduced legislation that would allow purple lights and although it will be reintroduced in the next Assembly and State Senate sessions, Staten Island representatives have said that they oppose any lights for the vehicles.

As a result of the difficulty in getting the lights restored, the MTA has been exploring other options.

“We’re looking into doing things that are not regulated by the state and will hopefully be able to do something to designate (SBS buses),” Marino said. He added that the MTA is coming up with such a plan, one that doesn’t involve lights at all. He wasn’t able to give any details at the meeting but said that he was hoping they would be able to announce the plan soon.

Garodnick concedes in Council speaker race

Council Member Garodnick as pictured getting sworn in for his third term (Photo by Genevieve Michel)

Council Member Garodnick as pictured getting sworn in for his third term (Photo by Genevieve Michel)

By Sabina Mollot
The hotly contested race for speaker of the City Council ended on Wednesday afternoon with Melissa Mark-Viverito as the winner in a unanimous vote.
Town & Village was unable to reach a rep for Mark-Viverito by press time. However, Council Member Dan Garodnick, who’d refused to back down in recent weeks, conceded the race on Wednesday. The vote was held after that.
In an official statement, Garodnick called Mark-Viverito, who represents the Upper West Side, East Harlem and part of the Bronx, “a smart and committed public servant,” adding they had “worked extremely well together in the past.”
Garodnick and Mark-Viverito co-authored the Tenant Protection Act several years ago, which allows tenants to sue landlords who’ve harassed them in an attempt to get them out of their apartments.
“I look forward to supporting her work as speaker during the course of this term,” Garodnick added. “I will do my part to resolve any rifts this process may have caused among our colleagues, and am here to take any steps necessary to help move forward together.”
The successor to Christine Quinn was first elected to the Council in 2005, becoming the first Latina member to represent the 8th District. She is also now the first Latina speaker. The Puerto Rican-born Mark-Viverito is the chair of the Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. Prior to getting elected, she worked as the strategic organizer of the union 1999 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.
Mark-Viverito had been considered the frontrunner since then-incoming mayor Bill de Blasio began

City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito

City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito

privately campaigning for her last month, speaking to her colleagues who were on the fence.
In his statement this week, Garodnick said he looks forward to working with Mark-Viverito and “helping her to ensure that we can deliver a sound and responsible government for all New Yorkers.”
Previously, Garodnick had said he thought by Wednesday, he’d have enough support to win the position, although Mark-Viverito essentially declared victory weeks ago, saying she had the majority with 30 votes. However, the victory seemed less certain in the days leading up to the vote, when a story emerged in the press about Mark-Viverito not filing taxes for income she may have earned on rental properties she owns. In a particularly unflattering story in the New York Post, she was even accused by a former political challenger of arranging for a black magic mural of a head of a rooster to be painted on the side of the former opponent’s building. Recent news stories have also painted Mark-Viverito as the more progressive choice and Garodnick as the more moderate one.
Last week, Garodnick told Town & Village he was running because he thought it was important to have “checks and balances” in times when the Council and mayor disagree on issues.
“We are at an important crossroads in New York City history,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of turnover in local government. There are going to be issues in which the mayor and the City Council part company. That’s why you need to have two distinct branches of government and we should not stray from that.”

 

Manhole cover explosion outside Peter Cooper Village, FDNY responds to gas smell in PCV

NYC manhole (Photo via Wikipedia)

NYC manhole (Photo via Wikipedia)

By Sabina Mollot

Residents who live on the east side of Peter Cooper Village heard a loud boom on Sunday evening, which, according to the ST-PCV Tenants Association, was due to a manhole cover exploding on Avenue C.

The Tenants Association, which posted about the incident on Facebook, said this led to some brownout conditions, including a stop in elevator service at 601 East 20th Street. In response, a resident of 6 Peter Cooper Road reported that firefighters responded to her building due to a strong smell of gas.

“We evacuated for a few hours and have returned. All seems fine,” resident Paula Veale added.

Meanwhile, Brian Moriarty, a rep for CWCapital, said the manhole incident, which occurred outside of PCV, only resulted in a flickering of lights, but no power outages. A spokesperson for Con Ed, Alfonso Quiroz, said the same and that he had no report of a manhole exploding. The utility had not gone to the scene to respond, he added.

However, TA President John Marsh, who heard the explosion from his building, called the sound “a very loud and distinctive percussion sound.”

The explosion occurred at 4:48 p.m., said Marsh, shortly after he left his apartment and was walking along East 20th Street at the equivalent of Avenue A. Not long before that, he’d noticed the lights in his apartment flickering. Then, when he returned home at around 8 p.m., the lights were flickering even more.

“There definitely was a brownout condition in the building,” he said. “Elevator service for both cabs were out. When I came up, my computer was down.”

The manhole, said Marsh, was located on the Avenue C northbound roadway just south of East 23rd Street and police closed off Avenue C north at East 20th Street. The police car was there until at least 1 a.m. on Monday, he added.

As for the gas odor in PCV, a rep for the FDNY said that firefighters were at 6 Peter Cooper Road at 5:06 p.m. to respond and that “Many people did self-evacuate.” The spokesperson added that the firefighters’ visit to Peter Cooper did “not warrant any more than a normal response.”

There were no injuries reported and the FDNY was gone by 6:23 p.m. The FDNY said it did not get any call from 601 East 20th Street and didn’t indicate if the gas at 6 Peter Cooper was related to any Con Ed activity.

Police Watch, Jan. 2

CARS DAMAGED

Two people reported that their cars were damaged in separate incidents last week.

A 23-year-old woman told police that her car was damaged after she parked it in front of 127 East 17th Street at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. When she returned to the car at 8:15 p.m. the same day, she found that her car had been hit by another vehicle, which fled the scene and did not leave any contact information.

A 29-year-old man parked his car in front of 530 East 20th Street last Friday at 9:30 p.m. and reported that he found it damaged when he returned to check on the vehicle the next morning. There was damage on the left side and the unknown vehicle left the scene.

MAN ARRESTED FOR DAMAGING COP CAR

Police arrested 26-year-old Roy Assan for criminal mischief last Thursday at 11:10 a.m. in front of the 13th Precinct stationhouse at 203 East 21st Street. Assan allegedly damaged the passenger’s side mirror of an unmarked NYPD vehicle by ripping the mirror off with his hands. He also kicked the rear bumper, police said.

CAR ACCIDENTS NEAR EAST 23RD

Two people reported in separate incidents that they were involved in car accidents near East 23rd Street in the last week.

A 50-year-old woman told police that she entered the FDR Drive at 42nd Street driving south last Friday at 10:45 p.m. and when she reached East 23rd Street on the FDR, a yellow taxi drove into her lane and collided with her car. The collision caused damage to the front fender of her vehicle but there were no injuries. The taxi continued south on the FDR without stopping.

A man reported that he was driving near the southwest corner of East 23rd Street and Avenue C last Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. when another vehicle hit his car. He told police that he made an attempt to stop the other driver, who slowed down but then sped off. The second driver has Florida license plates and no arrests were made.

MULTIPLE BURGLARIES FROM CARS

Four people reported in separate incidents that their parked cars were broken into.

A 58-year-old man told police that an iPad Air was stolen from his work vehicle after he parked it in the garage at 320 East 23rd Street on December 20 at 9 a.m. He realized that the property, which belongs to his company, was missing when he checked on the car last Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

A 35-year-old man reported that he parked his car at the southeast corner of First Avenue and East 23rd Street at 2:15 a.m. last Thursday and when he returned at 6:30 p.m. the same day, he noticed that the passenger’s front window was smashed in and his GPS device had been stolen.

A man reported at 11 p.m. last Monday that his car was broken into earlier that day after he parked it in front of 130 East 18th Street. He left the car in that spot at 8 p.m. and when he returned at 10:50 p.m., he saw that the rear passenger window was broken and his GPS, camera and inverter had been removed.

A 77-year-old man told police that his car was broken into after he parked it in front of 302 East 19th Street last Wednesday at 5 p.m. When he returned to the car at 7:30 p.m. the same day, he found that the rear driver’s side window was broken and his cell phone, radio and parking permit were missing.

DRUNK DRIVER’ IN PARKED CAR ARRESTED

Police arrested 33-year-old Hamlet Perez for intoxicated driving  at 4:20 a.m. last Sunday. A homeless man told police that he saw Perez passed out and unresponsive at the wheel of his car, which was parked in front of 270 Park Avenue South. The fire department and EMS knocked on his car window for 20 minutes, trying to wake him up. Police said that Perez was passed out in the car with the engine still running with his foot on the brake. He was removed from the vehicle and allegedly had slurred speech, a heavy odor of alcohol on his breath and poor coordination. He refused a Breathalyzer test at the scene.

MAN ARRESTED FOR BROKEN NOSE AT GANSEVOORT HOTEL

Police arrested 22-year-old Samuel Hodgkinson for assault at the Gansevoort Hotel Bar inside 420 Park Avenue South last Wednesday at 12:20 a.m. A 26-year-old man said that Hodgkinson allegedly head-butted him in the face, causing his nose to break.

‘DRUNK DRIVER’ ARRESTED ON FIFTH AVE.

Twenty-three-year-old Shahbaaz Virk was arrested in front of 225 Fifth Avenue for intoxicated driving last Wednesday at 6:33 a.m. An officer saw Virk allegedly cut across lanes of traffic on Fifth Avenue from west to east, took a U-turn on Fifth Avenue going north in the southbound lane and then attempted to parallel park. When the officer stopped the car, Virk allegedly had a slight smell of alcohol on him and blew a .124 percent on a Breathalyzer test.

CAR STOLEN ON AVENUE C

A 56-year-old resident of Peter Cooper Village reported that his car was stolen after he parked it in front of 256 Avenue C on December 23 at 5 p.m. He told police that he parked the car in a legal spot and when he went to check on it at 10:30 a.m. the next day, it was missing. He checked the tow pound and the city marshal’s office and was unable to locate the vehicle.

PHONE THEFT AT EAST 15TH ST. HIGH SCHOOL

A 17-year-old student of the High School for Health Professions and Human Services at 345 East 15th Street reported that her phone was stolen on December 18 at 11:30 a.m. She told police that she went to the restroom and when he returned, found that her backpack was open and her Blackberry Curve was missing.

PHONE STOLEN AT KAMBI RAMEN HOUSE

A 27-year-old woman reported that her phone was stolen while she was eating in Kambi Ramen House at 351 East 14th Street last Saturday at 5:37 p.m. She told police that she put her iPhone 5 on the counter in front of her and a few minutes later after she had been looking at the menu, noticed that her phone was gone. She didn’t see anyone take it and there was no video surveillance available.

WOMAN ROBBED ON BROADWAY

A 23-year-old woman reported last Wednesday that her wallet and cell phone were stolen on December 20 at 5 p.m. while she was on Broadway between West 28th and 29th Streets. She told police that while she was walking to the subway, the wallet and iPhone 5S were removed from off of the stroller in which she was pushing her son. She didn’t feel like she was bumped or jostled and she attempted to use the “Find My iPhone” app but the phone was turned off. Her wallet contained $550 in cash, her Social Security card, MetroCards and a money order.

 

 

Lhota now chief of staff at NYU Langone

Joe Lhota at a mayoral forum held last year (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Joe Lhota at a mayoral forum held last year (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

It doesn’t quite have the ring to it that “Mayor Lhota” would have, but the former Republican mayoral contender now has a new job with multiple impressive titles. As of January 6, the former head of the MTA will become chief of staff, senior vice president and vice dean at NYU Langone Medical Center.

In his new role, Joe Lhota will be responsible for “helping to further align and integrate our hospitals and the School of Medicine,” the hospital said in an internal memo. The news was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Lhota’s replacing Tony Shorris, who left NYU Langone on December 31 to serve as first deputy mayor under Mayor de Blasio.

He’ll be reporting directly to Robert I. Grossman, the hospital’s CEO, and will serve as an advisor on management and policy issues as well as an ambassador to government and other officials.

“I am excited to join the talented leadership team at NYU Langone,” Lhota said in a statement through the hospital. “A true visionary, Dr. Grossman has bold plans for the organization, and I am look forward to taking part in what lies ahead for this great organization.”

In the memo, Grossman noted Lhota’s 35 years of managerial experience from the MTA to his working for the Giuliani administration as deputy mayor for operations. Then there’s the corporate resume: Lhota also served as executive vice president of administration for the Madison Square Garden Company and held several executive positions with Cablevision.

“Joe’s unique blend of corporate management and public sector leadership, in addition to his accomplishments as an executive in complex organizations, will make him a great asset to our team and important to our ongoing success,” said Grossman.

Editorial: To-do list for Mayor de Blasio

CAPTION Bill de Blasio, pictured with his family, has been sworn in as mayor. (Photo via Mayor's Office Flickr)

CAPTION
Bill de Blasio, pictured with his family, has been sworn in as mayor. (Photo via Mayor’s Office Flickr)

Now that the ball has dropped in Times Square, ringing in another New Year, we are hoping that the new mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, does not drop the ball at City Hall, and remembers the promises he made to voters while campaigning.

So, without further ado, here are a few matters we think should be at the top of the mayor’s to-do list:

1) Come up with a concrete plan for the building of new affordable housing units and the preservation of the city’s existing but dwindling stock of it. While running in the primary against several other tenant-friendly Democrats, de Blasio spoke of affordable housing as a way to combat the “tale of two cities” or rather the lack of a place for the middle class in New York. He even specifically mentioned Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village as a place in need of protection, along with other communities like it from speculative developers. We hope he remembers saying this, because we certainly do as do all the tenants who elected him.

 2) Create more classroom seats — and not just by shutting down existing schools to make room for re-branded ones. The top concern of public school parents around the city—along with the fact that school system itself has become a “testocracy” — is classroom crowding. On the East Side of Manhattan, the problem has started to subside somewhat with the opening of two new schools, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. In addition, we hope this mayor will find creative solutions to helping failing or struggling schools rather than simply slating them for closure and re-branding them by sticking differently named schools, including charters, in their buildings.

3) Find a new head for NYCHA. Following the announcement that NYCHA Chair John Rhea was stepping down on Monday, it’s imperative that the city find a replacement soon. Granted, de Blasio was no doubt already on this, considering Rhea’s poor job performance over the past four years he held the position. Under his tenure, the Housing Authority sat endlessly on funds allocated by elected officials for security upgrades at numerous public housing developments. At the same time, the agency cried poverty and hatched the revenue-making scheme of putting market rate buildings on top of existing NYCHA properties’ parking lots and common areas. This includes local developments like Campos Plaza, where tenants also saw numerous delays for the implementation of their much needed surveillance camera system.

4) Quit meddling in the workings of other branches of government. While we absolutely believe the mayor is entitled to openly endorse whoever he wants for the position of City Council speaker or any other job, the fact that he has quietly contacted members of the Council to try and get them to vote for his favorite is concerning. It is important for the Council to maintain its independence from the mayor’s office, so we hope that in the future, de Blasio refrains from any actions that appear to be efforts to manipulate its operations.

5) Be transparent. No matter what decisions he ends up making, the public has a right to know what’s going on, whether it’s the real reason behind a push for a development project in a particular neighborhood or a well-intentioned project spearheaded by the city that turns out to be a failure, like the ill-fated CityTime accountability system. The public shouldn’t have to rely on subpoenaed records and FOIL requests from reporters frustrated by politicians evading questions about everyday City Hall business. So, we hope this mayor, who like any other is bound to make some mistakes, will be transparent, because if he does, they won’t seem like such a big deal when they happen.

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 3

Weekly cartoon by Jim Meadows (jimtoon.com)

Weekly cartoon by Jim Meadows (jimtoon.com)

A bit of feedback

Dear T&V,

Steven Sanders’ article, “Obama’s cure for the common cold” in the opinion section of the Dec. 5, 2013 issue was exceptionally funny and insightful.

I don’t know what’s happened to movie critic Seth Shire, who I’ve always enjoyed. However, judging by four of his movie reviews, Michael Phillips is pretty good and very funny.

I am grateful that you thought my letter to you about my visit to Stuyvesant Town was worth printing in “The Soapbox” of your the Dec. 5, 2013 issue.

I love that the Third Street Music School is on 11th Street. Thank you, NYC.

To Sabina and Maria, it finally just hit me how many articles you two write every week! Where would T&V be without you? (It would be about six pages, mostly ads and columns and a couple of letters.)

Dear Mr. Kilik, your review of “Soul Doctor” was wonderful and I’m dying to see it but I’m here in Minneapolis. But you sure made it come alive in your terrific column.

Dear Mr. Hagedorn, you’ve done it again with your article in the October 3, 2013 article, “Subway grates: Urban Artifacts.” God, I love your column.

Most sincerely,

Richard Luksin
Minneapolis, MN

P.S. I’d give anything to go on one of Alfred Pommer’s (historical walking) tours.
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Garodnick: Speaker race is not over yet

Council Speaker hopeful Dan Garodnick

Council Speaker hopeful Dan Garodnick

By Sabina Mollot

In a move that was considered somewhat unusual, in recent weeks, incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio gave a big boost to would-be City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, by asking her colleagues to give her the vote for the position, as opposed to another frontrunner for the job, Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Recently, Mark-Viverito, who represents the Upper West Side, East Harlem and part of The Bronx, essentially declared victory, saying she had the support of 30 Council members, while Garodnick has responded to say he has no intention of dropping out. The internal Council vote will take place on January 8 and this week, Garodnick told Town & Village he believes by then he’ll have enough support among his colleagues to be the winner.

That said, he knows his opponent has the edge given de Blasio’s open support.

“We haven’t has a Democratic mayor in 20 years, so obviously his influence is felt on this election,” he said. But, he added that he thought that “any declaration of victory is premature here. This is why we have elections.”

He added that he’s gotten “a very strong coalition” of members of the Council supporting his bid for speaker, which includes the entire Bronx delegation and much of the Queens and Staten Island delegations. “I’m very honored to have their backing,” he said.

As for the then mayor-elect’s interference in selecting Christine Quinn’s replacement, Garodnick stressed the need for “checks and balances.”

“We are at an important crossroads in New York City history,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of turnover in local government. There are going to be issues in which the mayor and the City Council will part company. That’s why you need to have two distinct branches of government and we should not stray from that.”

As for why he thinks he’s the best Council member for the job, Garodnick cited his history of finding creative solutions to problems and his diplomacy skills.

In the past couple of months, Garodnick has frequently made headlines for his hesitance to support the East Midtown Rezoning plan, but he said he doesn’t believe that issue is a factor in whether or not he would get his colleagues’ support. Nor, he said, does he believe it’s an issue for other Council members that, as the Wall Street Journal recently noted, his East Side district covers one of the “wealthiest swaths” of the city. “You could say that about anyone’s district that’s different from someone else’s district,” he said. He added that any speaker has to be “a five-borough speaker” and “a person of empathy.”

Mark-Viverito did not respond to requests for comment on this story, nor did a rep for de Blasio.

On Tuesday, a story in Capital New York reported that outgoing Speaker Christine Quinn has been putting pressure on colleagues to support Garodnick, or more specifically not to support Mark-Viverito.

Previously, the Daily News reported that Mark-Viverito had the support of feminist Gloria Steinem.