Friday, January 29, 2010

The Short List: Idiotarod Edition

And God spoke unto Moses to gather the tribes of Israel and affix to themselves costumed images of their Creator; and to each tribe there shall be one shopping cart by which the tribe is to push itself through the desert of Sinai for many hours before making it into the promised land of Brooklyn; and God shall reward the Israelites with beer and manna on every stop of the journey and protect those tribes from the wrath of Sabotage; [Exodus 62:1-3]

And it came to pass that the 2010 Idiotarod, the third leg of the hipster triathalon, will commence at 9:00 AM
on Saturday, January 30, 2010 AD. We still don't know the starting point nor do we know exactly who is running this thing or how many people will show up in 26 degree weather (don't forget your long johns everyone!), but it should be interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing Team Brill and Team Tauber duke it out. The former teammates are on competing factions and both have creative ideas about how to proceed.
Let's take a look at Idiotarod through the years...





Meanwhile, if you're not Idiotaroded out, Steve Witt is having a book reading at Le Caire 189 E. 3rd on Sunday in the East Village at 4 PM. Check that out too. Let the race begin!

Ford Keeps On Truckin'

Harold Ford, seemingly wearing a field jacket stolen from a New York1 reporter, advanced on Cono's Restaurant for a lunch with Assemblyman Vito Lopez for the second time in less than a week this afternoon.
This time, the table was a little larger. It was a Fanatsy Owner's field day as Council members Recchia, Levin, Williams and Dilan were spotted entering the restaurant, as well as state legislators Jeffries, Camara, Adams, Dilan, Millman, and Senate Finance Chair Carl Kruger, who a Daily News photographer asked to pose for him multiple like he was Russel Crowe. Kruger just glared at him.
Not everyone is impressed with Ford, however, as several openly gay legislators chastised Ford at City Hall earlier in the day.
Reid Pillifant, who has been covering Ford for The Observer including his trip to Buffalo last weekend, was there inside the restaurant. So was City Hall News' David Freedlander. Both definitely have something cooking on this and I will link up once they finish.
One other note on this, besides the obvious conclusion that Harold Ford will no doubt be attending Thanksgiving at Ridgewood Bushwick to hand out meals to seniors this November. With Albany's budget in a quagmire mess, how did so many state legislators clear their schedule to get up to Williamsburg for a long lunch today no matter how delicious?

Looks like they're going back for seconds

Ford will be returning to Cono's Restaurant with Assemblymember Lopez, but this time, there will be a crowd. Several state legislators and district leaders will be attending, including Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, and State Senators Karim Camara and Eric Adams, and Borough President Marty Markowitz. Here are the key paragraphs from Fred Dicker:

Interesting to many state Democrats is the fact that Lopez has emerged as Ford’s leading New York backer even though another prominent Brooklyn politician, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, is Gillibrand’s most powerful backer.
“Vito is the Brooklyn leader and he believes Chuck ought to respect that,’’ quipped one source close to Lopez.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New York Fantasy Politics Draft Teams

To make this easier for everybody, this is the list of teams that came out of Saturday's NYC Fantasy Politics Draft.

Joe Walker aka The Ridgewood Raiders: Michael Bloomberg (QB), District Attorney Cy Vance (TB), Council Ydanis Rodriguez (WR), State Sen Jeff Klein (FB), Rep. Eliot Engel (RT), Bob Leaver Deputy Mayor (TE), Health Commissioner Thomas Farley (RT), Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio (TE), Council Lew Fidler (LT), Council Mark Weprin and Former Council David Weprin (Center), and SEIU 1199 (Defense).

Dan Bush aka The Sleepers: Mr. Comptroller John Liu (QB), Borough President Marty Markowitz (Center), State Sen. Jose Perralta (WR), Council Letitia James (LT), Council Brad Lander (TB), City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden (FB), EDC Commissioenr Seth Pinsky (WR), Council Elizabeth Crowley and Rep. Joseph Crowley (TE), Assembly 52nd Democratic District Leader Olanike Alabi (Kicker/ Punter), State Sen Joseph Addabo (Center/ RT) and Pratt Area Community Council (Defense).

Chris Bragg aka Bragg's Bosses: Governor David Paterson (QB), State Sen. Pedro Espada (WR), State Sen. Malcolm Smith (WR), Education Commissioner Joel Klein (RB), Sen Frank Padavan, (TE), State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (RT) Former Comptroller Bill Thompson (LT), Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch (Center), AG candidate Eric Dinallo (R/L Tackle), Joe Lazar. Council candidate (TB) and Working Families Party (Defense).

Ben Fried aka The Spectacular Neckdown Receptions: Public Advocate Bill De Blasio QB, State Sen. John Sampson (TB), Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (R/LTackle), Council Joel Rivera (WR), DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (WR), State Sen. Carl Kruger (LT), MTA Chair Jay Walder (TE), Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler (WR), Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries (Kicker), Council Margaret Chen (Center) and Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (Defense).

Aaron Short aka The Jack Hammers: Speaker Shelly Silver (QB), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (LT), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (WR), State Sen. Eric Schneiderman (FB), State Sen. Eric Adams (TB), State Sen. Tom Duane (TE), Council Leroy Comrie (RT), Rep Ed Towns and Assemblymember Darryl Towns (Center), DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway (WR), Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe (WR/ Kicker), and Make the Road New York (Defense).

Greg Hanlon aka Stu's Loessers: Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (QB), Rep. Anthony Weiner (WR), Assemblymember Vito Lopez (LT), Borough President Scott Stringer (TB), Rep. Charlie Rangel (RT), State Sen. Diane Savino (TE), DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri (FB), Council Vincent Gentile (RT), State Marty Golden (TE), Council Diana Reyna (WR) and the Broadway Triangle Community Coalition (Defense).

Moses Gates aka Moe's Minyan: Speaker Christine Quinn (LT), Former Pres. Candidate Rev. Al Sharpton (Coach/ FB), Council Charles Barron (Announcer/ TB), Council James Oddo (WR), Former Mayor Ed Koch (QB), State Sen. Liz Krueger (RT), Rep. Jose Serrano (WR), Assemblymember Micah Kellner (Kicker), State Sen Martin and Council Erik Martin Dilan (Left and Right Guard), Council candidate Isaac Abraham (Center) and Real Estate Board of New York (Defense).

Juliet Linderman aka The Kenneth Brass Knuckles: Senator Chuck Schumer (QB), State Sen. Dan Squadron (WR), Council Steve Levin (Kicker/ Punter), Assemblymember Joseph "The Legislation" Lentol (FB), Council Dan Garodnick (WR), Assemblymember Jonathan Bing (TE), Council Eric Ulrich (TB), Rep. Yvette Clark and Oona Clark (RT), Council Gail Brewer (LT), Council Danny Dromm (TE) and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (Defense).

Reid Pilifant aka The Pillifant Cowboys Former State Senator Joe Bruno (TB), State Sen. Hiram Monserrate (FB), Former Governor Eliot Spitzer (QB), Mayoral Candidate Rev. Billy Thompson (WR), Council Larry Seabrook (LT), Council Miguel Martinez (RT), Assemblymember Anthony Seminiro (TE), Former Council Maria Baez (Center), Former Guiliani advisor Bernie Kerick (Kicker), Clarence Norman Jr. and Clarence Norman Sr. (Center), and the United Homeless Organizations (Defense). Pillifant is expressing in terest in ACORN as his Defense, so we may see a change made Friday.

Erin Durkin aka Walloping Wonks Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (QB), Senate candidate Harold Ford (RB), District Attorney Charles Hynes (RT), Rep. Mike McMahon (LT), Domenic Recchia (FB), Borough President Reuben Diaz Jr. and Sr. (both at WR), HPD Commissioner Rafael Cestero (Center), State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (Kicker), Council Jumaane Williams (TB), Rep Carolyn Maloney (Kicker/WR), and Rubenstein Associates (Defense).

I have an alibi, I swear

My apartment had a gas leak at the time on Sunday, and a National Grid guy made a house call. There are witnesses. I was not involved in this...

West Mifflin police make quick arrests after two holdups
Monday, January 25, 2010
By Jim McKinnon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Three robbery suspects were arrested early today minutes after two convenience store holdups in about a half hour in West Mifflin.
Borough police first were called at 12:04 a.m. after a gunman, wearing sunglasses and a bandanna covering part of his face, entered the 7-Eleven store on Camp Hollow Road, police Capt. Thomas Richards said.
The suspect flashed what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol and demanded money before he fled across the road to a vacant lot.
Police immediately went to investigate and department detectives took over the scene.
A patrol officer had driven to the southern end of the borough to warn another convenience store about the holdup when a second robbery was reported at 12:36 a.m. at a Uni-Mart on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Minutes later, a patrol car saw a suspicious car with foggy windows speeding toward Buttermilk Hollow Road.
The officer pulled over the car and saw the weapon, an Air Soft pellet gun, in plain view.
Cigarettes reported stolen in the second robbery also were seen strewn about the vehicle.
The three men, Brandon Brown, Aaron Short and Jevon Turner-Boyer, all of Homestead, admitted their roles in the robberies, Capt. Richards said.
Police found $174, the amount taken in the second robbery, in the pockets of Mr. Short.
The three are awaiting arraignment today on the charges.
Jim McKinnon can be reached at or 412-263-1939.

City Room Updates Day Laborers

City Room at the Times went to the corner of Marcy and Division Avenues this week to write about the Polish and Mexican women who wait to work as day laborers for Hasidic women in Williamsburg. This is not a new story. The Times wrote about this as a citywide issue in 2005, the Gotham Gazette interviwed day laborers in 2001 as well as The Village Voice.

In February 2009, I interviewed several mobile soup kitchen workers from St. John Bread and Life in further depth. I can't find the link online, so here's an excerpt.

For the past eight years, volunteers from St. John’s Bread and Life have parked their Mobile Soup Kitchen on Marcy Avenue and Division Street, feeding dozens of day laborers looking for housecleaning work in Williamsburg’s Hasidic Quarter.
Once a week the Soup Kitchen comes, making one of ten stops throughout Brooklyn and Queens, providing meals and service referrals to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. On Wednesday mornings, Sister Kathy Byrne and her volunteers make the drive to Williamsburg’s South Side, just outside the Williamsburgh Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, The practice of women day workers seeking off-the-books employment in Hasidic households has occurred for several years, though Byrne has seen a rise in the number of laborers, both men and women, visiting the site in recent months.

"Oh yes, the population has definitely grown," Byrne said. "We’re serving 250 meals now when we were serving 160 last summer."
With the city’s economy in free fall, poorer groups such as Williamsburg’s immigrant Spanish women are among the most vulnerable to the economic downturn. The Food Bank of New York, which provides food items to St. Johns Bread and Life estimates that the number of people utilizing emergency food programs is up 25 to 30 percent.
"The biggest problem we’re seeing is that more and more people coming to our programs," said Carol Schneider, a spokeswoman with the Food Bank.

Some laborers have food stamps, but it is not necessary to present them to receive a hot meal. Most of the time, workers just come up to the van, stand in line, and receive a hot meal. A makeshift office big enough for two people has been set up in the backseat of the van, which Byrne and her outreach volunteers refer workers to if they are in need of additional services such as referrals for legal counseling, detox programs or shelters. Librarians at the nearby Brooklyn Public Library have also tried offering their services at the branch, but many immigrant workers are reluctant to fill out paperwork of any kind,
"We don’t ask for any ID. We just give them the food," said Byrne.
Another recent trend has been the presence of Polish women day workers at the site, who travel each day from Greenpoint. Agnes Sulewski, an outreach worker and Polish translator with St. Johns, estimates that as many as 70 women per day join the group, waiting to be hired by Hasidic households. Sulewski believes that the large population of Polish Jewish Hasidim has attracted the Greenpoint Polish women looking for work.

"During World War II, a lot of Jews were helped by the Polish and they are very grateful to them," Sulewski said. "They were citizens of Poland so they’re comfortable around Polish women."
Although emigration from Poland to Greenpoint slowed in recent years due to the growth of the Eastern European economy. members of the older generations, aged 40 to 70, who fled their homeland for opportunities in New York are the ones who now need assistance.
"Younger generations who could attend college are fine," Sulewski said. "Older generations do not have the possibilities for employment we have."

Thursday morning thoughts: Dead Authors Society

Author J.D. Salinger just died. Howard Zinn died on Wednesday. Um... anyone know how Philip Roth is doing? He can't go now! He hasn't won a Nobel yet!

School Closure Rallies (Correction!)

The story everyone should be talking about today is the school closure list and the public school rally that followed. The Courier's Michele De Meglio is on the trail and covering the story throughout the borough (with a quote from former Yasskyite Danny Kanner, now at the DOE!).
Correction: This post earlier stated that Automotive H.S. (students pictured above) is among those on the city's list for closure. It is not. The school is on the state's list for underperforming schools, which is quite different. A clarification: this does not mean that they aren't in danger of closing in the future, as the state's stipulation may force some kind of change in the future. De Meglio's key paragraph is below:
The DOE may accept $500,000 in federal funding for each school upon implementing any of these restructuring options — replacing the principal, replacing 50 percent of the staff, turning the school over to a charter or school-management organization, or closing the school. The DOE is waiting for further guidance from the state Education Department before making decisions about the schools’ futures
The Brooklyn schools on the closure list include: Paul Robeson High School, Metropolitan Corporate Academy, Middle School for Academic and Social Excellence, P.S. 332, and W.H. Maxwell and Career Technical Education H.S.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bruce Hirschfeld Challenges Nydia

Yes, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez will have a congressional opponent this fall. His name is Bruce Hirschfeld, he lives in NoLiTa, and he runs a mortgage broker company in Hackensack, NJ. Read all about it.

Bedford Bike Wars

There were a lot of cyclists and a lot of press (but few Hasids) at Pete's Candy Store Monday night for The Great Williamsburg Bike Wars debate.

It wasn't really much of a debate. I've got the play by play at The Courier, so check that out, including the part when Fantasy Owner Moses Gates greets his 10th round prospect Isaac Abraham afterwards. For those of you scoring at home, Gates picked up three points for Isaac's testimony.

**Correction! In an earlier post, I noted that Ries posted a video of the debate, but it was actually a Gothamist video from Mr. Muessig. Duly noted.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday morning links

Despite what you read on this blog, other things did happen this weekend. Important newsy things. Let's shove in a list of must-read links over the past few days before returning to a complete analysis of Saturday's Fantasy Politics Draft.

You may have been reading lots of Haiti coverage over the past few weeks, but make sure you check out The Courier's Helen Klein's coverage from Flatbush. Also, Ivan Pereira and Anna Gustafson have the local beat from Cambria Heights, Queens.

Violent crime in Greenpoint this weekend made the news. Gothamist has a round-up and NewYorkShitty is looking into one incident at Huron and Manhattan in particular. The 94th Precinct is having a "Crime Stats" meeting at the station house at 100 Meserole Avenue at 4 PM for press and community organizations (like NAG). Will have more soon.

Finally, Brian Ries, a FreeWilliamsburg contributor, already has video from last night's Bike Wars debate. The video speaks for itself, though what we really need is a Youtube greatest hits mash-up of Isaac Abraham's one-liners.

Monday, January 25, 2010

NYC Politics Fantasy Draft 2010

The first ever 2010 NYC Politics Fantasy Draft is over and it was a marathon, wide-ranging draft featuring political players throughout the five boroughs. Who won, who lost, and whose team is going to be just plan dysfunctional. Let's go to the draft...

The draft order was as follows: 1. Joe Walker , Freelancer City Hall News, City Limits. 2. Dan Bush, Brooklyn Downtown Star, 3. Chris Bragg, City Hall News, 4. Ben Fried, Streetsblog, 4. Aaron Short, CNG, 6. Greg Hanlon, formerly CNG/ Greenline, 7. Moses Gates AllCity, 8, Juliet Linderman, Greenpoint Gazette, 9, Reid Pillifant, The Observer, 10. Erin Durkin, Daily News.

First Round:
1. Walker: Mayor Michael Bloomberg- QB
2. Bush: Mr. Comptroller John Liu: QB
3. Bragg: Governor David Paterson: QB
4. Fried: Public Advocate Bill De Blasio QB
5. Short: Speaker Shelly Silver- QB
6. Hanlon: Attorney General Andrew Cuomo QB
7. Gates: Speaker Christine Quinn LT
8. Linderman: Senator Chuck Schumer: QB
9. Pillifant: Former State Senate Presidenet Joe Bruno- TB
10. Durkin: Senator Kirstin Gillibrand- QB
Joe Walker is happy to begin building his team with eight-time all star Mayor Bloomberg.

Second Round
11. Durkin: Senate candidate Harold Ford: RB
12. Pillifant: State Sen. Hiram Monserrate FB
13. Linderman: State Sen. Dan Squadron: WR
14. Moses: Former Pres. Candidate Al Sharpton: Coach/ FB
15. Hanlon: Anthony Weiner WR
16. Aaron: Rep. Jerrold Nadler: LT
17. Ben: State Sen. John Sampson-TB
18. Bragg: Pedro Espada- WR
19. Bush: Marty Markowitz- Center
20. Walker Cy Vance TB
After being picked in the 2nd Round, Congressman Anthony Weiner uses the opportunity to raise attention about rising child care costs.

Third Round
21. Walker: Council Ydanis Rodriguez- WR
22. Bush: State Sen. Jose Perralta WR
23. Bragg: State Sen. Malcolm Smith WR
24. Fried: Commissioner Ray Kelly- Nose Tackle
25. Short: Rep. Nydia Velazquez WR
26. Hanlon: Assemblymember Vito Lopez- LT
27. Gates: Council Charles Barron: Announcer/ TB
28. Linderman: Council Steve Levin: Kicker/ Punter
29. Pillifant: Former Governor Eliot Spitzer- QB
30. Durkin: District Attorney Charles Hynes- RT
Lopez is displeased that he slipped to the 3rd round after receiving a 2nd round guarantee from Campbell who missed the draft due to illness.

Fourth Round
31. Durkin: Rep. Mike McMahon LT
32. Pillifant: Mayoral Candidate Reverend Billy Thompson
33. Linderman: Joseph Lentol- FB
34. Gates: Council James Oddo WR
35. Hanlon: Scott Stringer TB
36. Short: Eric Schneiderman: FB
37. Fried: Council Joel Rivera: WR
38. Bragg: Education Commissioner Joel Klein: RB
39. Bush: Council Letitia James: LT
40. Walker: State Sen Jeff Klein: FB
Joe Lentol was on the phone with Linderman within minutes to work out the details of his new contract.

Fifth Round
41. Walker: Rep. Eliot Engel RT
42. Dan: Brad Lander: RB
43. Bragg: Sen Frank Padavan, Unassigned.
44. Fried: Commissioner Janette Sadik Khan- WR
45. Short: State Sen Eric Adams: TB
46. Hanlon: Charlie Rangel- RT
47. Gates: Former Mayor Ed Koch: QB
48. Linderman: Council Dan Garodnick: WR
49. Pillifant: Council Larry Seabrook
50. Durkin: Domenic Recchia: FB
It was only a matter of time before Streetsblog's Fried picked Sadik Khan.

Sixth Round
51. Durkin: Rueben Diaz Sr. and Jr. both at WR
52. Pillifant: Council Miguel Martinez- RT
53. Linderman: Assemblymember Jonathan Bing- TE
54. Gates: State Sen. Liz Krueger- RT
55. Greg: State Senator Diane Savino: TE
56. Short: State Senator Tom Duane: TE
57. Fried: State Sen. Carl Kruger- LT
58. Bragg: State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli RT/LT
59. Bush: Commissioner Amanda Burden FB
60. Walker: Bob Leaver Deputy Mayor TE
Hanlon and Gates are building hungry o-lines with picks Liz Krueger and Diane Savino.

Seventh Round
61. Walker: Health Commissioner Thomas Farley- RT
62. Bush: EDC Commissioenr Seth Pinsky- WR
63. Bragg: Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, O-Line
64. Fried: MTA Chair Jay Walder-TE
65. Short: Council Leroy Comrie- RT
66. Hanlon: Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri: FB
67. Gates: Rep. Jose Serrano WR
68. Linderman: Council Eric Ulrich- TB
69: Pillifant: Assemblymember Anthony Seminiro- TE
70. Erin Durkin: HPD Commissioner Rafael Cestero- Center
Republican Eric Ulrich is just happy to be here.

Eighth Round
71. Durkin: State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery- Kicker
72: Pillifant: Maria Baez- Center
73. Linderman: Rep. Yvette Clark and Oona Clark- TE
74. Gates: Assemblymember Micah Kellner- Kicker
75. Hanlon: Council Vincent Gentile- Nose Tackle (RT)
76. Short: Rep Ed Towns and Assemblymember Darryl Towns- Center
77. Fried: Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler WR
78. Bragg: Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch
79. Bush: Council Elizabeth Crowley and Rep Joseph Crowley: TE
80. Walker: Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio- TE
Reid Pillifant needs to keep Baez on track, with her tendency to disappear in big games.

Ninth Round
81. Walker: Council Lew Fidler LT
82. Dan Bush: Assembly 52nd Democratic District Leader Olanike Alabi
83. Bragg: AG candidate Eric Dinallo- O-line
84: Fried: Hakeem Jeffries- Kicker
85: Short: DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway WR
86: Hanlon: State Marty Golden TE
87: Gates: State Sen Martin and Council Erik Martin Dilan: Left and Right Guard
88. Linderman: Council Gail Brewer- RT
89. Pillifant: Former Guiliani advisor Bernie Kerick- Kicker
90. Durkin: Council Jumaane Williams: TB
Erik Dilan is excited to be heading to Moses Gates' team with his dad Martin.

Tenth Round
91. Erin: Rep Carolyn Maloney- Kicker
92. Pillifant: Clarence Norman Jr. and Clarence Norman Sr. LT
93. Linderman: Council Danny Dromm TE
94. Gates: Council candidate Isaac Abraham- Center
95. Hanlon: Diana Reyna: WR
96. Short: Adrian Benepe. WR/ Kicker
97. Fried: Council Margaret Chen- Cener
98. Bragg: Joe Lazar. Council candidate- Unassigned
99. Bush State Sen Joseph Addabo- Center/ RT
100. Walker: Council Mark Weprin and Former Council David Weprin.
Despite being the last pick in the draft, the Weprins are far from being Mr. Irrelevants.

Eleventh Round: Defense
Walker: SEIU 1199
Bush: Pratt Area Community Council
Bragg: Working Families Party
Fried: Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn
Short: Make The Road New York
Hanlon: Broadway Triangle Community Coalition
Moses: Real Estate Board of New York
Linderman: Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council
Reid: United Homeless Organizations
Durkin: Rubenstein Associates.
Hanon's pick of the BTCC was immediately ridiculed as "awful".

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Breaking News! Mayor Michael Bloomberg Overall #1 Pick

Photo by Aaron Short
January 23, 2010 1:31 PM EST
Williamsburg- Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Quarterback) was taken as the overall #1 draft pick Saturday in the first annual New York Fantasy Politics Draft by reporter Joe Walker, who won the rights to the first pick in the draft moments earlier.
It was a first round devoid of surprises, with several executives, including both Senators, rumored gubernatorial candidates, and the four highest city officers selected early.
Bloomberg was followed by second overall pick City Comptroller John Liu (QB), Governor David Paterson (QB), Public Advocate Bill De Blasio (QB), Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (QB), Speaker Shelly Silver (QB), Speaker Christine Quinn (LT), Senator Chuck Schumer (QB), Former Senate President Joe Bruno (QB), and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (QB) who filled out the first round.
Check back Monday for the complete 10-round fantasy politics draft and draft analysis.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New York Fantasy Politics Draft Preview

It is the dawn of a new era in Fantasy Politics as nine reporters will gather in Williamsburg today to choose their Fantasy Political Players over ten rounds. Speculation in the hours preceding the draft has been intense as to who will be chosen in the first round, who will be the first rookie selected, where Governor David Paterson and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be claimed, and which team will emerge as the preseason favorite to win it all. Check back later for the draft, featuring reporters Dan Bush, Chris Bragg, Erin Durkin, Juliet Linderman, Aaron Short, Ben Fried, Andy Campbell, Reid Pillifant, and Greg Hanlon and Moses Gates.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Short List: Fantasy Politics Draft Edition

Ahhh, smell that fresh Chamber scent. Smells like anticipation for possibly the greatest single political blogging event in the history of New York City blogging.

On Saturday at 1 PM, A Short Story has assembled a veritable all-star Press Row of reporters, bloggers, and v-loggers to participate in the first ever City Hall Fantasy Politics Draft. Yes, you heard that right. We're going to draft New York City Council members, state legislators, executives, congressmembers, and commissioners over a period of ten rounds. Each will be assigned a football position such as quarterback, left tackle, wide reciever, etc., and selected in order of strength, speed, quickness and overall athleticism.

Points will be tallied based on legislation pased (6 points), major initiatives created (6 points), and press conferences/ press releases (3 points) per news cycle, and tracked through June.

Draft day rumors are already swirling. Several reporters have contacted me about trading up in the draft to get a better draft position to take a look at likely overall #1 pick Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but Senator Chuck Schumer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo are also generating interest, as are Congressmembers Anthony Weiner, Jerrold Nadler, and Nydia Velazquez, Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, Comptroller John Liu and Borough Presidents Marty Markowitz and Scott Stringer.

There are also rumors of an agreement in place for Assemblymember Vito Lopez to be taken in the second round as left tackle with a guaranteed contract of $2.3 million, but that Lopez may get converted into a fullback. At a lunch with Senate candidate Harold Ford (and project late first round draft pick), Lopez denied the rumors, claiming to be more impressed with Ford's tremendous upside potential.
Check back this weekend for a full Running Diary of the Press Row Fantasy Politics Draft and draft analysis of the winners and losers on Monday. Have a good weekend, and draft wisely.

Vito Eats Harold Ford's Lunch

A media clusterf##k descended on Cono's Restaurant on Graham Avenue this afternoon for Vito Lopez's introductory lunch with former Congressman (and maybe future Senator) Harold Ford Jr.

Lopez was joined by his A-Team, which included Christiana Fisher (RBSCC Executive Director), attorney Carl Landicino, legislative assistant and attorney Debbie Feinberg, and super-intern, Georgetown's finest Andy Marte. I didn't see Angela but I would be shocked if she wasn't there too.
All sorts of reports have been coming in about the lunch this afternoon, including Steve Witt's report in The Courier (best headline: Dem Boss takes Ford on a test drive), Andy Campbell's report in The Brooklyn Paper (best lede: The path to the Senate obviously goes through the stomach of Assemblyman Vito Lopez.), Azi Paybarah's Politicker video, below, Liz Benjamin's Daily Politics blog at The Daily News, and Heather Grossman from DNAInfo who has been following Harold Ford around as he crisscrosses the state.

What was on the menu today? Political endorsements. Also, appetizers of baked clams, fried sweet peppers, fresh mozzarella and fried calamari.Vito didn't make an endorsement, saying he will wait until April, but he emphasized Ford's speaking skills as opposed to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's, which Observer reporter Reid Pillifant profiled this week. From Liz Benjamin-
"There’s a little of celebrity that he has - certain people have it," Lopez said of Ford. "I was impressed about his style, and he has a certain degree of charisma. I think he would do a very good job of connecting with people. He’s got a very smooth personality."

Vito had a lot to say today about Ford and Gillibrand, noting that even though Gillibrand was not really an incumbent (having been appointed by an unelected Governor a year ago), "incumbents around the country have a lot to worry about".
"When the economy is in shables and layoffs increase, and when [the state legislature] is cutting budgets, people are concerned. There are no easy answers," said Lopez.
This was a good day for Vito. I have never seen him holding court with that many reporters before in Williamsburg, or anywhere else. Not when he was introducing Maritza at City Hall, not when he was holding a pep rally in front of his offices, not when he was hosting a Christmas lunch with Mayor Bloomberg and 500+ seniors. There may have been as big a crowd when Hillary came to town, but I wasn't there, and he certainly had more local television stations there today.
This was also a good day for Cono's Restaurant. I've been once and it was ethereal. Zagat's should bump them up a couple of points just for the politics-infused atmosphere (below).

Spotted... at Cono's O'Pescatore Restaurant...

Harold Ford... prospective Senate candidate...(with Steve Witt)...

Assemblyman Vito Lopez... Kings County Democratic Party Chair (with Steve Witt)...

...and the media scrum that followed... Will Vito formally endorse Harold after lunch? Who picks up the bill? And what does the third member of this political love triangle have to say about it?... xoxo

Land(er) of the Lost

Welcome to Brad Lander's service-themed installation! Please grab a monitor and start disassembling it.
Actually the service component would take place one week later, but in the meantime, Park Slopers huddled in the Prospect Park Picnic House Sunday afternoon for Brad Lander's installation. And I have pictures.

Think Brad knows it's his special day?

Brad Boys Brad Boys, whatcha gonna do. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

The real stars of the installation were a little shy.

My favorite part of Brad's installation was the torah portion.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Party Don't Start Till Quinn Walks In

Committee assignments at City Hall are done and Steve Witt has the lowdown. Be sure to check back tomorrow for links, photos from Brad Lander's installation, more on Vito Lopez's lunch with Harold Ford... and finally an extra special double secret Short List which features local media personalities and every political figure in New York. You can't wait can you? Don't miss it.

Manhattan Island now "Revis Island"

Via Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor David Paterson:

"Sunday’s game in Indianapolis will be as tough as it gets, but anyone who has counted out these underdogs the last few weeks has regretted it,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Two years ago, we renamed Brady’s Bar ‘Manning’s,’ and this year we’re thinking even bigger. Starting today through the end of the playoffs, Manhattan Island is hereby renamed ‘ Revis Island .’ It’s been more than 40 years since the Jets won the Super Bowl, but Revis and the Jets have New York City abuzz. Denino’s on Staten Island serves up some of New York ’s best pizza, but I think Mayor Ballard will have to come east if he wants to taste it.”

“As a lifelong Jets fan, I remember that fateful January day in 1969, when the Jets upset the Baltimore Colts in Superbowl III. Though the Colts have since moved to Indianapolis , our New York Jets will again show them how it's done,” said Governor Paterson. “This season, we have watched the Jets defense keep points off the board and the offense make touchdown after touchdown. This team is not only competitive, it's high-powered and ready to win. J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!”