At the Manhattan Inauguration
At the new Manhattan Beep's inauguration this week, the mostly radical attendees made sure to razz Christie and his road scandal, and celebrate their successful election after years of non-Democrat management.
The new mayor, not content with having rocked the election so inarguably (though one still wonders how people could, after 6 years of Obama, vote in a guy just as resume-free and experience-challenged), spoke bad Español about bettering our escuelas, in an accent and speed that rivaled the muy malo accent and speed of the just-left great manager/mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Another speaker said that de Blasio had "already passed the climate "test." So this is de Blahs' unearned Nobel Prize: The mercury went down to a single digit, then up a few days later, and the new mayor survived! He made it through. As if temperature is a test. If his non-existent managerial prowess is any guide, maybe it is the single test -- aside from a blood test -- that this newbie can pass. Time will tell.
No one brought up the pizza-permutation fail. De Blahs ate pizza with a knife and fork. In a city teeming with pizzerias, and a country fairly insanely given to this cholesterol-rich snack, and in a mayor supposedly Italian, it perplexed at least the news-hungry TV news corps to note this new mayor dining out with utensils rather than the hand-to-mouth job usual. But such does not really bother the vets in the pol-watching game. We await real tests of his mettle, and pray he acts for all, the way his first appointment of the superb police chief, William Bratton, suggests.
Honoree Gale Brewer deserves the new Borough President title. Though she is a Democrat, she is by our lights an extremely hard worker, and is indefatigable in her efforts on housing, reducing bedbug problems in her district, helping the homeless, helping those who have rental difficulties. She remarked that her volunteers and staff have worked hard to ensure everyone has heat and water in their apartments, "And if not, call me!" evoking a rare laugh from this careful and usually sober-sided public worker. Not everyone, be it known, approves her commitments and public acts.
Disgraced Charles Rangel, the multiply re-elected Harlem statesman who has had repeated tax disclosure and property undisclosed scandals, yet managed to win handily at each successive election despite good men opposing his candidacies, walked around the vast crowd of some 2,000 and glad-handed the Dems who eagerly stuck out their hands. Give him props, of course, for being, as he is, a war hero.
Great Performances, the catering crew, had some six food stations, and delicious fare in those cardboard boats that often offer French fries in fast-food loci. Lentils, 'dirty rice' and chicken was great. Mac and cheese was appropriately gooey and filling. Terrific mesclun and walnut salad. And penne a la vodka disappointed by just tasting of penne, no vodka sauce. But along with the bottled water, coffee, and tea there was the welcome addition of carafe-generated hot chocolate with humdinger-size marshmallows for the child in us all, especially nice in the frosty afternoon. Though the hall was full, and people went back for thirds and more, the food, surprisingly, did not run out, even after three hours.
Venue: The Hammerstein Ballroom hall on West 34th and 8th, hard by Macy's and the huge post office around the corner, built by Oscar Hammerstein the merchant in 1906 as an opera house, has its own story to tell. One of New York's most elegant and versatile special event destinations, for years in the early 20th century it competed with the struggling Metropolitan opera, such that finally, the Met offered $1.1 million to the place to stop mounting operas, so they could flourish without the competition. Done. Now, the great hall, with its tiered balconies and 6 bays, easily seats some 2,000, and the place was almost filled. Many standees in the back. Near the food.
We sat in the tiny, 18-person press section about 60 feet from the podium and Hizzoner. The sign language interpreters -- there were three, spelling each other as the afternoon wore on -- exhibited no signs of incipient schizoid tendencies or crazy histories of necklacing. They stood on the left side of the stage. Jumbo screens carried the speeches and images to those with seats in the rear and far sides.
Oddly, since this was a press section, one expected the seated to behave accordingly -- no mad clapping for the radical leftist agenda of the speakers. Yet when Ruth Messinger (now totally grey, but still totally left) spoke, or deputy mayors spoke, or union reps spoke, the press folks stood up and applauded vigorously. We counted three people who maintained their journalistic integrity and sat as the audience and the fellow pressies clapped. Newsies do not clap -- they are supposed to be neutral. De Blasio looked tall and fit, but what he said was predictably rank to those not diehard Dems, and somewhat frightening.
The speeches went on mocking the GOP, Chris Christie and his bridge traffic trouble, but what really got to us was when the new mayor cited his "predecessor," not as Mayor Bloomberg, 12 years in office, nor Rudy Giuliani (in office 8 years) but completely forgot those two titans and 20 years of increasing NYC safety and livability, in order to leap back to the notably moribund, unsafe, fiscally irresponsible, and inefficient unsafe tenure of the tennis-playing Mayor David Dinkins.
At least the signage people looked fairly straight and legit -- we were looking for incipient signs of schizoid hand motions.
Though we are a peaceful country, and elections, no matter their result, are met stoically and with resignation or joy, one worries about the next four years. Still, the attendees at this event were polite, warmly accommodating, and so far, did not frighten the horses.