“If one could take one sentence out of the deliberations, it should be gratitude that in our system, the powers of government are limited, because if the assemblage of our representatives had the authority to make decisions of greater importance to our lives, I would feel increasingly uncomfortable living in any area in which their writ would run.”—Henry J. Stern (Starquest), Promises Abandoned
This amazing video is a couple of years old, but a great lesson for all would-be unscrupulous politicians and those that would seek to do illegal business with them. It depicts disgraced former Brooklyn Assemblywoman Diane Gordon soliciting a bribe from a developer. Gordon was trying to get the developer to build her a $500,000 home and outfit her office with a pair of expensive doors, in exchange for helping the developer get a city contract to develop a vacant lot in her district. Gordon was sentenced to two to six years in prison, after she was convicted of 8 of 9 counts, including “two counts of receiving bribes, two counts of official misconduct and two counts of ‘receiving awards for official misconduct.’”
New York Civic is looking for a bar or restaurant willing to host our next networking event. Does anyone know of a location (preferably in midtown Manhattan) that would appreciate 150 drinking patrons on a slow weeknight in December? Please Reblog with any suggestions you have! And if you’re interested, here are photos from the last event we held in Bryant Park.
IMPORTANT DATE CHANGE: New York Civic’s Fundraiser Is Next Week, NOT Tonight! The new date for the event, featuring our special guest Mayor Ed Koch, is September 30th. If you have not received a mailed notice of the event and would like to come, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-564-4441.
Former City Council candidate Pete Gleason caused a stir at the NY Civic soiree at Bryant Park last week, when he showed up and accused Village Voice writer Wayne Barrett of being a hypocrite for not denouncing the newspaper for running sex ads.
So there Gleason was last week, brandishing a flier with the headline “Is Wayne Barrett on the level?” with a photocopy of “Nailah” — “a wet Indian & Ebony 21yr old freaky nasty GFE” — on all fours from the back pages of the Voice.
Zulch said that he and members of the Pelham Parkway Preservation Alliance, newly formed in the wake of this news, want written, legal safeguards in place that will guarantee that the city work carefully, and in many cases “use hand and shovel” as opposed to heavy equipment.
“The big focus and concern now is root damage during construction of the roadway, and damage to the trees in a delayed effect,” he said. “They’re digging up the whole parkway, and that will mean many, many trees dying. It’s going to be deceptive to the public, because they’ll look and see all the trees still there, but then in a couple years the trees damaged by the construction will die, and it will be too late.”
We recently solicited questions from our friends on Twitter and Facebook, to be answered by Henry Stern in a column on the Starblog. Below, we’ve posted one of the questions and answers. You can read all of them here.
Question: Where did Gracie Mansion gets its name and what is its history? - Ken Stewart
Answer: Gracie Mansion is named for the Scottish-born shipping magnate Archibald Gracie, who was a business partner of Alexander Hamilton and a friend of John Jay. In 1798, Gracie bought a large tract of land on Hoorn’s Hook near the East River, and the following year he built the two-story wooden Federalist mansion on the crest of a hill. Gracie primarily used the house as his country residence, entertaining guests there such as future President John Quincy Adams and future French king Louis Phillippe, until he was forced to sell it in 1823 to pay off debts. At one point, the city took the house for back taxes.
Various occupants resided in the house, until 1896, when the City of New York acquired the property and made it part of what is now Carl Schurz Park. As part of the park, the house served in numerous capacities, including an ice-cream stand, classroom space, and even public restrooms. From 1924 until 1936, it served as the Museum of the City of New York, and from 1936 until 1942 it was shown as a historical house.
In 1942, Robert Moses convinced Fiorello La Guardia to turn the house into the official mayoral residence. It is where he lived during his entire third term.
This September 7 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm, join New York Civic’s Henry Stern and noted muckraker Wayne Barrett, Senior Editor for The Village Voice, at New York Civic’s free, end of summer networking event at Bryant Park. More information here.
87 Mature Pelham Parkway Trees Face Deracination Under City Plan
Do you know about Pelham Parkway? It is a magnificent park and boulevard, 2.3 miles long and 400 feet wide. It connects Bronx Park and Pelham Bay Park. You should read its fascinating entry in Wikipedia. There is nothing quite like it in the City of New York, in terms of greenery and grandeur enhancing a public thoroughfare.
Today it is threatened - by, of all entities, the City of New York, whose Department of Transportation is planning to improve the park’s roadways, and remove 87 mature trees that give the parkway its character and beauty. The project is slated to begin this fall and conclude in 2012.
If this were proposed for Central Park, or anywhere in Manhattan, the roar of public outrage would be impossible to ignore. But this is the Bronx, where cries are more likely to be ignored by bureaucrats and by the media. Many Manhattanites don’t even know where Pelham Parkway is, much less appreciate its unique appearance.