T&V asks teens about governor’s free CUNY tuition proposal

Interviews by Maya Rader

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed making tuition free at CUNY and SUNY colleges for students with households earning under $125,000. Town & Village asked students at Clinton High School for Writers and Artists if this would impact where they choose to go to school.

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George Weathers III
“I feel that I would probably want to stay in the city or the state rather than go outside and spend more money. My parent does not make over 125 thousand dollars, so I would want to get the free education.”

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Garodnick recommends Trump Tower police unit

Council Member Dan Garodnick

Council Member Dan Garodnick

By Sabina Mollot

Since the presidential election, traffic in the midtown streets surrounding Trump Tower has been consistently snarled, with local stores reporting a yuuuuge amount of lost business as a result.

While it did help that shortly before the New Year, the block of 56th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues was once again opened to traffic, the area still feels somewhat militarized. The reopening had been pushed by City Council Member Dan Garodnick, whose district includes Trump Tower, and this week, Garodnick spoke with Town & Village about how the neighborhood has been inconvenienced since Donald Trump was elected president.

“It’s an ongoing headache that gets worse when he’s around and we hope he does not choose to use Trump Tower as a pied-a-terre,” said Garodnick.

Incidentally, First Lady Melania Trump has recently reiterated plans to remain at Trump Tower with her son Barron until the school semester ends before moving to the White House.

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Council candidate says top priority is affordable housing

Democrat Bessie Schachter is a former aide to State Senator Liz Krueger.

Democrat Bessie Schachter is a former aide to State Senator Liz Krueger. (Photos courtesy of candidate)

By Sabina Mollot

There is no one in New York City who would deny that the rent is too damn high, but in the view of one candidate running for the City Council, tackling that one issue is so important that it would also solve others facing Manhattan’s District 4, like growing retail blight and homelessness.

That candidate is Bessie Schachter, who’s also a state committee woman with the Lexington Democrat Club, and up until recently, an aide to State Senator Liz Krueger.

“It all overlaps and comes back to affordable housing,” she said.

Schachter, a self-described progressive, said her campaign was fueled by the calls she’d get from Krueger’s East Side constituents two or three times a week that were from tenants who were being priced or pressured out of their apartments.

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Tenants protest landlord lawsuit aimed at undoing rent freeze

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Council Member Dan Garodnick outside the courthouse where arguments were being heard over the Rent Stabilization Association’s lawsuit (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Lawyers for a landlord group were met by an angry crowd of protesters as they arrived in court to argue against a citywide rent freeze Tuesday.

Despite freezing temperatures and snow, the sign-waving group of renters, made up mostly of seniors, led chants that at times called for either a rent freeze or a rollback.

Among their supporters was Council Member Dan Garodnick, who said, “We have seen what happens year after year, even in years when costs went down. Rents only seemed to go in one direction and that was up. As a result, evictions go up. Homelessness goes up. The Rent Guidelines Board acted totally appropriately in making that determination.”

Judge Debra James was hearing arguments from the Rent Stabilization Association, the plaintiff, and those seeking to intervene in the lawsuit, including a coalition of tenant groups, legal service organizations and 18 City Council members.

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Pols, political clubs head to march

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Tish James, State Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer (Photo by Larson Binzer)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Public Advocate Tish James, State Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough Gale Brewer (Photo by Larson Binzer)

By Sabina Mollot

Politically minded members of the community were split this past weekend on where they wanted to do their marching, with some heading to Washington, DC and others opting for the hometown event.

Local elected officials who marched in Manhattan however, included State Senator Brad Hoylman, Council Member Dan Garodnick, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Borough President Gale Brewer.

Brewer, spotted wading through the crowd at one point, told Town & Village, “This is one of the most exciting marches, if not the most exciting, I’ve ever seen. Sixty-three percent of the people who are marching around the country have never marched before. People are angry and upset and it really makes a difference.”

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Inauguration fails to inspire most people we spoke with

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The inauguration is screened to a mostly empty Stuyvesant Town Community Center. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With the majority of New York City residents not having voted for Donald Trump, the televised inauguration, which happened on Friday, wasn’t exactly must-see TV, at least not for too many people in Stuyvesant Town and Gramercy.

This became clear during the pre-inaugural ceremonies when this reporter, attempting to get some local reaction at Cooper Town Diner on First Avenue, was told “no comment” repeatedly.

But out of those who did comment, most, unsurprisingly, weren’t happy.

Josh Thompson, a Stuyvesant Town resident and Democrat candidate for mayor, once previously told T&V he considered Cooper Town to be his second office. But on this day, he was taking his food to go.

Asked for this thoughts, Thompson, an avowed “Obamacrat,” said he had recorded the inauguration of President Obama in 2009 and would go home to watch that instead.

“I’m going to do that for the day,” he said before rushing off.

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Women’s march a sign of the times

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By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, marches were held in Washington, DC and in other cities, including New York, in midtown. Women, as well as men and children, packed behind barricades along Second Avenue in the East 40s before marching through the surrounding streets. Marchers came in all ages and ethnicities, and while women’s rights was the main theme, some participants also led chants calling for Muslim, black and LGBT rights. Meanwhile, although many elected officials were in attendance, the biggest stars of the show were the inventive signs carried by marchers, some of whom also donned knit “pussy hats” with cat ears. Many of the signs involved digs at the size of President Trump’s hands and comments he’s made about women as well as countless vagina puns.

A few included were: “Keep your tiny hands off my cuntry,” “Viva la Beaver,” “Vulva la Revolucion,” “Power: Snatch it back” and “Hey PeeOTUS, this is your pussy riot.”

See our gallery for some of the signs seen at the New York march.
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Attorney for Planned Parenthood discusses the de-funding threat

Zoe Segal-Reichlin, senior associate general counsel/director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pictured in November with her husband, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and their two sons, Devin and Asher, as they door-knocked for Hillary Clinton (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

Zoe Segal-Reichlin, senior associate general counsel/director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pictured in November with her husband, Council Member Dan Garodnick, and their two sons, Devin and Asher, as they door-knocked for Hillary Clinton (Photo courtesy of Dan Garodnick)

By Sabina Mollot

Inauguration Day for President-Elect Donald Trump hasn’t happened yet, but already Planned Parenthood is preparing for a major battle ahead to protect its federal funding.

Earlier in the month, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a push by Republicans in Congress to defund the now century-old organization. While Planned Parenthood has always faced opposition from the GOP, soon there will be a Republican in the White House as well as a majority in the Senate and House.

Meanwhile, the women’s healthcare giant has vowed it won’t be going down without a fight.

Locally, Planned Parenthood has a weapon in Peter Cooper Village resident Zoe Segal-Reichlin, the senior associate general counsel and director of advocacy and political law for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Segal-Reichlin, also a mother of two and wife to City Council Member Dan Garodnick, provides advice and guidance on matters of law and regulation.

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T&V asks: Will you watch inauguration?

By Sabina Mollot

While some recent news stories have indicated tickets to the presidential inauguration, set to take place on Friday, have been getting scooped up rather slowly, the event is still sure to be what most Americans will be tuning into on television. For Republicans, it’s an opportunity go out to a local bar and celebrate with likeminded people, watching the president get sworn in on a big screen while raising big mugs. For Democrats too, drinking is likely to be involved, with voters drowning their sorrows any time the president says “huge” or accuses a news report of being fake.

This week, Town & Village asked around in the community to see who planned on watching the ceremony.

Asked if he’d be watching, Frank Scala, a Stuyvesant Town resident and president of the Albano Republican Club, said he would be.

He’d actually been invited to see the inauguration live, but won’t be able to make it. Reached at the Fifth Avenue barber shop he owns and operates, Scala explained he’ll be working that day and needs to stay open late.

So instead, he’ll be watching the event at home. Scala also admitted he’s a little concerned about how Trump will present himself as president on the big day. During the race, the Albano Club shifted from Manhattan GOP by not endorsing Trump or any other candidate.

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GOP-leaning candidate enters Council race

Melissa Jane Kronfeld says she’s a “progressive Conservative.”

Melissa Jane Kronfeld says she’s a “progressive Conservative.”

By Sabina Mollot

The race to replace term-limited City Council Member Dan Garodnick has a new candidate in the GOP-leaning Midtown East resident Melissa Jane Kronfeld.

Kronfeld, a former New York Post reporter, said she is not yet sure what party she’ll be running on, although one thing is for sure. It won’t be Democrat. The 34-year-old, a lifelong resident of the City Council District 4, which snakes its way from Stuyvesant Town to the East 90s, identifies as a “progressive Conservative.”

Asked what this means, Kronfeld, known to friends as “MJ,” said, “Being progressive and conservative are not mutually exclusive. Democrats didn’t copyright it. I checked.

“But,” she added, “we don’t bend so far to the left that it’s a free for all for everybody.”

This, she said, means support for immigrants. “There should be a process (to become legal) but I don’t want to send you anywhere because (your) parents didn’t fill out the proper paperwork,” Kronfeld said. “I’m not a conservative who will tell you don’t have the right to choose or that you don’t have the right to hold your husband’s hand if you’re a man.”

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City Council speaker and Garodnick say feds should foot the bill for Trump’s protection

Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue

Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue (Photo via Change.org petition) 

By Sabina Mollot

With the cost to protect President-elect Donald Trump and his family in New York City reported to be $1 million a day, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick are calling on Trump to get the federal government to reimburse the city.

Garodnick, whose Council district includes Trump Tower, where the president-elect lives and works, and Mark-Viverito have also launched a change.org petition, which already has about 1,500 signatures.

As the petition notes: “At an estimated $1 million per day, protecting you, your family and your home at Trump Tower will total over one billion dollars during your four-year term. This represents an extraordinary financial burden for New York City taxpayers.”

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Op-Ed: The Election 2016: The fight we had and the battles to come

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Council Member Dan Garodnick, his wife Zoe Segal-Reichlin, and their sons Asher and Devin on the campaign trail

 

By City Council Member Dan Garodnick

Like most New Yorkers, I was extremely disappointed in the outcome of the presidential election. Hillary Clinton won nearly 80 percent of the vote in Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, and the nationwide popular vote by more than 2 million votes.  Despite this result, she won’t be occupying the Oval Office in January.  

I am further disturbed and outraged by the uptick in hate crimes and bias incidents that have been taking place across the United States and in our own backyard. A swastika was recently carved into a door in the apartment building our own State Senator, Brad Hoylman. Hate crimes against Muslims in New York City have doubled from 2015 to 2016. A terrifying, homophobic death threat was sent to an openly gay colleague of mine, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens. This is shameful, unacceptable, and not the city I know.

It’s also not the country I saw as I campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

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HS students: Trump is scary, Clinton was less corrupt

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The Clinton School (photo by Maya Rader)

 

They may not be able to vote, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have political opinions.

Town & Village intern Maya Rader interviewed fellow students at The Clinton School for Writers and Artists in Union Square about the presidential election, and the teenage perspective was far from indifferent. Like most New Yorkers, those interviewed seemed stunned by Trump’s victory and most were concerned.

Fifteen-year-old Bernardo Malatesta shared the view of most people interviewed when he said he prefers Secretary Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump.
“Even though she’s corrupt at times, her moral values are a lot better than Trump.” He then added, smiling, “but Bernie will always be in my heart.”

Ava Rosenbaum, 14, remarked that although she dislikes Trump as a person, she isn’t as worried about him as a president. “I’m more afraid of Pence and Trump supporters.”

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New Yorkers protest election results at Union Square

Protesters made their way to midtown, starting from Union Square. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Protesters made their way to midtown, starting from Union Square. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Steady rain didn’t keep protesters out of Union Square Park last Wednesday evening, with the results of the presidential election drawing crowds of New Yorkers opposed to President-elect Donald Trump. Many gathered in the north plaza of the park held signs that both protested the outcome of the election and called for unity, and protesters started various chants throughout while on their way to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue just south of Central Park.

The crowds of people walked from Union Square towards Madison Square Park and up Fifth Avenue, at one point being diverted to Broadway by police but remaining peaceful. Gothamist reported that there were 65 arrests as a result of the protests, with most receiving desk appearance tickets for charges like disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstruction.

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Internet trolls accuse Hoylman of lying about swastika

State Senator Brad Hoylman with other elected officials representing the Greenwich Village area, the heads of two universities and local clergy members (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

State Senator Brad Hoylman with other elected officials representing the Greenwich Village area, the heads of two universities and local clergy members (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Meanwhile, pols denounce hate crime in Village

By Sabina Mollot

Following State Senator Brad Hoylman’s posting of a swastika found in his building on Twitter, which was picked up by a few news outlets, Hoylman’s Twitter was been hit with a number of trolling tweets, including a few that called the senator a liar.

“It is obvious who is facilitating this nonsense. When we find the evidence, you will be replaced for #LYING,” wrote one.

User “Slavic Harvest” wrote, “You carved it yourself you Jew hahahahaha.”

A user with the handle “Otto Hofler” chimed in, “Probably your local rabbi did it.”

When another user shot back at this comment to say, “It makes me happy my atheist dad killed so many Nazis,” “Hofler” tweeted, “Sad? We in the White House now.”

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