Warren Alexander, author of Cousins’ Club (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
After penning a satirical novel about America’s most unsuccessful Jewish family – despite their many schemes, including a basement bialy racket — Warren Alexander began hearing from readers around the world who felt they were reading about their own relatives.
“A woman from South Africa said, ‘This is my family,’” recalled Alexander. “A friend from Spain said, ‘Are you writing about us?’”
The Stuyvesant Town resident, whose book, Cousins’ Club, was self-published earlier this summer, said he was surprised at how universal the story seemed, considering much of the humor comes from distinctly Jewish cultural references. Not to mention, the pressure within the Jewish culture to succeed, particularly in a financial sense.
“You have 5,000 years of success. Freud, Einstein, Karl Marx, who have changed the fabric of society,” said Alexander. “Not only do you have to be successful for yourself and so your family will be proud of you but you have all these people, like Sandy Koufax and Steven Spielberg. There are only 14 million Jews worldwide, but Jews are 20 percent of the Nobel Prize winners. So you have that extra burden.”
Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Democratic leaders in the Brooklyn and Manhattan on Sunday chose Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh as the nominee for the State Senate seat Daniel Squadron resigned from in August. The contentious nominating process pitted Kavanagh against district leader Paul Newell, who received the majority of the votes from county committee members in Manhattan but was not nominated because the block of votes from Brooklyn went to Kavanagh.
Since State Senate District 26 spans two boroughs, Manhattan and Brooklyn, party bosses in each were allowed to determine how to nominate a candidate, either by a convention, vote from committee members or a block vote.
The process in Manhattan included a convention on Sunday in which 100 county committee members took a vote, Gothamist reported. The vote was only advisory but members hoped that Keith Wright, the leader in Manhattan, would heed the results, in which members voted overwhelmingly for Newell.
According to official rules, Brooklyn did not have to hold a convention, although Democrats encouraged party boss Frank Seddio to do so. Seddio ultimately announced on Sunday that he would be backing Kavanagh without a convention or vote from committee members, which he said was because Kavanagh had the most support from elected officials in Brooklyn as well as the Working Families Party.
Brooklyn gang member Frank Smith, 31, was recently charged in connection with the murder of two men in 2010 who were reportedly in a rival crew on Park Avenue South and East 19th Street.
According to the indictment, Smith and other members of Rival Impact began conspiring to murder members of a rival crew, Thirty-O, specifically Terrance Serrano and Rashawn Washington, in October 2009. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District said that Smith and other members of the gang planned and carried out the murders in retaliation for the victims’ perceived involvement in the 2009 drive-by shooting of Rival Impact member Vincent Carmona.
On Monday, October 4, 2010 at around 4 a.m. police arrived on East 19th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway after getting a call about a person shot. Serrano and Washington were getting into their car after leaving a nightclub and Smith, who had been lying in wait in a nearby vehicle, allegedly approached their car, opened fire and fled.
Both Washington and Serrano were shot in the head and died at the scene.