On Saturday afternoon, crowds came out for a meet and greet in Stuyvesant Oval with nine City Council candidates hoping to replace Dan Garodnick next year.
The representatives at the event, which was organized by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, were Rachel Honig (D), Jeffrey Mailman (D), Keith Powers (D), Bessie R. Schachter (D), Marti Speranza (D), Maria Castro (D), Barry Shapiro (D) and Vanessa Aronson. Republican Rebecca Harary, who’s an Orthodox Jew, couldn’t travel on the Sabbath but had a representative there.
When Maria Castro, a political consultant who’d also served as a delegate for Bernie Sanders during the Democratic National Convention, decided to join the City Council race for District 4, it was shortly after ending up in the hospital.
Castro, a midtown resident on the west side of the district, said she was “holed up” following a fall down a malfunctioning escalator at the subway station near City Hall on January 4. During this time, with little else to do, she found herself watching the news surrounding President Donald Trump’s inauguration — and getting very upset.
“I was watching the rhetoric of the Trump administration, how he was affecting women, minorities, the working class,” said Castro.
She had a couple of friends over at the time, one of whom mentioned the seat for her City Council district was open. Castro didn’t need to think twice about what she would do about this, and got on the ballot on January 26.
Democrats Alec Hartman, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson, Maria Castro, Bessie Schachter and Barry Shapiro and Republicans Melissa Jane (MJ) Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary discussed affordable housing, concerns for seniors, the fate of small businesses and the sanitation garage planned for the neighborhood over the course of the two-hour debate. WTA President Janet Handal and T&V editor Sabina Mollot moderated the event, each asking two questions of the nine Democrats and two Republicans on the stage, who are running to replace term-limited Councilmember Dan Garodnick.