NYC’S EPICENTER IS IN THE HEART OF ITS CITIZENS: It Does Not Take the ‘King of Corona’ to See that a Five Borough Vision of New York City Eludes Long Island Girl Christine Quinn
I am what some might refer to as a so called REAL New Yorker. I grew up in Queens and Brooklyn and now live in Manhattan, something I long aspired to but have questioned the necessity of living in this borough in recent years, given the escalating cost of housing here. My parents made the move to Manhattan before leaving to retire in the warmth of Florida. My dream of the ‘Bright Lights Big City’ may have been different than that of Jay McInerney’s character in the book of the same name but it was a dream nonetheless. Like it is for many, Manhattan remains a concept or an idea as much as anything else.
Yet, I am ‘B&T’ or bridge and tunnel all the way; and there is simply nothing getting around that fact or that the basis for my dreams was formed in middle and working class neighborhoods in the Outer Boroughs of New York City. I have never forgotten who I am, where I came from, nor am I deaf to the dreams of those who remained from whence I came. That includes my own family, friends and fellow citizens who pursue their dreams still in those places, even if their success in life, in many cases, has often well eclipsed mine on many levels. Even so, since my life is not over, maybe even the Bronx and Staten Island might still be in my future. Maybe it is even my destiny to be the five borough citizen. Who knows? But if I have learned anything it is that the soul of New York City is well outside Times Square, Grand Central Station (Terminal) or City Hall. The epicenter of New York City is in the hearts of its citizens.
ABOUT ME & THE BOROUGHS OF NYC: In Black & White with a little Color
Jamaica Hospital is my birth place. My early years were spent in this city of neigborhoods in several notable ones, including Kew Gardens, Rego Park and Corona, Queens before our family picked up and moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. I grew up playing in the Forest Hills Little League, enjoying pick up games and otherwise exploring Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the two time site of the World’s Fair, when it was even more of a wide open space and my mother Virginia Bernadette Saunig who grew up attending St. Columba in the Chelsea section of Manhattan while her parents worked for AT&T and the New York Central Railroad, even worked there along side Louis Armstrong of all people. But then again she was also a cocktail waitress at joints in Queens where Xavier Cugat practiced his craft. But I diverge, I recall also pending afternoons at the Corona Ice King and Spaghetti Park and playing Stickball at St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church parking lot on 99th Street.
But it was there at P.S. 14 where it was “me and Julio down by the school yard” trying to figure out how to impress Barbara Alman, the first girl that truly caught my eye. I got butterflies in my stomach just looking at her. I could barely utter a coherent phrase to illustrate a more than passing interest in her, but some of my female classmate friends saw it clearly and often teased me about it. Those were the days, when the biggest challenge in life was to figure out if I was going to say hello to Barbara or something more.
After leaving Queens during the Saturday Night Fever era, I often found myself hanging out at Connie’s Pizza on Nostrand Avenue in Sheepshead Bay trying my best to look like one of the local punks. But how could we even think we were ‘gangsta’ in our shiny orange and white Sheepshead Bay High School Sharks Swimming Team jackets or even acting like we founded the joint.
I have memories and I still have friends and family who grew up live in the ‘Outer Boroughs’, the ones that Manhattan political elites only realize exist after a natural disaster or when they seek citywide elective office. So yes, though I may live in Manhattan currently, my soul is ‘Bridge & Tunnel’. Words once used to disparage people of my ilk are now, for me, a source of pride. When I found work in Manhattan and landed my first legal job in New York City at Weil, Gotshal & Manges on Fifth Avenue, I can recall some of those I first associated with in Manhattan, who perhaps saw themselves as somewhat higher on the human food chain, snidely refer to those from the outer boroughs as ‘B&T’. I got past some of my friends in college at Boston University calling me ’Brooklyn’ by improving my diction, getting higher grades than they did and then gaining acceptance to the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Long before Joey from friends made “How you doin” famous for me that simple phrase got me snickers in some circles when I spoke, including from a young girl from the Town of Yardley in Bucks County, Pennsylvania who later became my college girlfriend. I would be lying, however, if I did not say it irked me when I overheard ‘young urban professionals’ or Manhattanites at happy hours at fancy bars and restaurants in Manhattan, denigrate the people on the other side of the bridges and tunnels leading to Manhattan. When I reminded them, in my Brooks Brother suit (the one my mom bought for me) that I was from Queens and Brooklyn too, they would quickly say ” but you are different.” Ironically today on the other side of Manhattan’s bridges & tunnels you find trust fund kids and wealthy entrepreneurs and folks I knew who never received the education I did and never emigrated to Manhattan became millionaires on their own. Some even have more than those who made it in Manhattan. And no, it is not because they or their families were “all mobbed up.”
In my teens, my mom moved us to Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn where I literally became a man. It was was the first place I laid down with a woman, got mugged, got my ass kicked and put myself on a path to realize my dreams or at least some of them. After all the clock has not yet run out on my life. OK, I must confess, living in Brooklyn in the hey day of Saturday Night Fever, I never owned a Members Only jacket. Instead fashion was nary a concern, because I was hoisting iron at Bath Beach Bodybuilding with some of my dorky friends, some of whom walked around full time as if they were on stage doing a lat spread. If any of you are reading this I hope you crack up but you know it is true! Leaving the gym, I was often dressed in engineer boots and Lee Jeans. And if you know Bensonhurst, you would know I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was ok that I never totally fit in. But then again that is what we wore to school in Queens at I.S. 61 and later at John Bowne in Queens and I spent more time listening to Rock and even got a job at Harry M. Stevens, the concessionaire at Madison Square Garden, where I was able to work rock concerts in the 70’s. I liked the movie Saturday Night Fever but starting out in Queens, for me, people like that were characters. That is until my first day at Sheepshead Bay High School where I saw folks dressed like Tony Manero and his friends in my class.
THE ED KOCH BRIDGE? – Nobody Calls it that!
REAL New Yorkers, those in the outer boroughs know that Long Island girl Christine Quinn is not one of us. Maybe she should become Mayor of a nice town in Long Island? I do not have an axe to grind with the deceased Mayor Edward Irving Koch other than to take issue with elements of the public relations burnished legacy that attempted to make him more than he was and gloss over selected elements of his actual legacy. There is no doubt that Ed Koch deserves his props, St. Christopher, however, he was not. Nevertheless, Quinn should know that her backroom deal to name the Queensboro Bridge the Ed Koch Bridge while he was ’still alive’ so she could bank an endorsement from him, won’t mean much to folks in Queens. We don’t call the 59th Street Bridge or the Queensboro Bridge the Ed Koch Bridge; in fact ‘Nobody Calls It The Ed Koch Bridge.’ Giving the city to Ed Koch and Bill Rudin so she can herself become Mayor is not impressive; its political patronage at best and at worst, something else entirely.
Furthermore, if Quinn hopes to have the Queens Democratic Machine rig the vote for her maybe she can win Queens but I believe that if the voters Queens have their say, Christine Quinn will be repudiated at the ballot box. Quinn’s best hope is to have her campaign and the mainstream media lure voters into thinking that the Mayoralty is already the bag for her. It is not. Once the voters realize it is not, Quinn’s candidacy will implode like a house of cards. All politics is local and the Democrats in Chelsea, at least those who participate and watch what leaders actually do, have already walked away from Christine Quinn. The campaign to Defeat Christine Quinn is growing at the grassroots level across this city, among Democrats and within the LGBT Community. Quinn’s ‘identity politics’ are not a good enough reason to vote for her. That should tell any Democrat paying attention to the truth of what Christine Quinn represents. They know Quinn does not represent the working men and women of New York City. Fact is that this ought to and just might be the “Twilight of the Elite Christine Quinn” if the media campaign to wash over her record does not fool a majority of voters.
DOES QUINN HOPE TO BE THE WIZARD OF OZ?
Voters in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island as well as the enlightened in Manhattan will come to realize, if they have not already, that Christine Quinn is the plutocracy’s wind up toy. But, especially, if you live along the LIE, the BQE or take the MTA into the city or near the city for work, you will recognize that via Bloomberg and Quinn Manhattan is becoming more like the Emerald City in the fictional Land of OZ, a place so far out of reach for the forgotten working men and women who grew up in New York City and more an urban playgroundfor the global jet setting elite only ; a place with a skyrocketing real estate and stock market with a plummeting middle class.
THE FUTURE OF NEW YORK CITY – QUINN & RUDIN’S LIMITED VISION
New York City was once to the rest of the world, a beacon of urban possibility, a place of dreams for artists and the iconoclastic; a place where Governor Mario Cuomo, also a product of Jamaica, Queens,challenged the vision of elites who were looking past the plight of the every man and woman in this country. Cuomo cut his teeth at the local level – representing “The Corona Fighting 69″ and then at the national level in a historic speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention challenging Ronald Reagan’s vision of America as a “Shining City on the Hill”. In his speech, Cuomo outlined how America had become “Tale of Two Cities” illustrating in vivid detail the emergence of a less compassionate society, the plight of the increasingly forgotten and eroding middle class and vulnerability of the elderly, the sick and the poor. Cuomo referenced the folks behind the Norman Rockwell like paintings of America that all too often some politicians seek to craft at election time to brush over the uncomfortable externalities of their policy. Now our city is becoming as empty and soul less as Hollywood on the Hudson and the words of Mario Cuomo’s historic speech in 1984 even more relevant today then they were back then.
ARE RUDIN/QUINN – OFFERING TO BUILD ‘A BETTER NEW YORK’?
‘The Surreal Shutdown of St. Vincent’s’ awakened many of us in this town to the reality that there is in fact something very wrong going on. The Rudin Real Estate Family may think they are building ‘A Better New York’ or building some ‘Shining City on the Hill’ by knocking down this city’s history to install similar and soul less high rise glass towers and shopping malls in place of hospitals, educational institutions, public parks and community centers across this city so a handful of Real Estate Insiders can profit from creating 3rd and 4th homes or real estate investment properties for people who live in Manhattan barely 20% of the time while they screw the people who have to live and work here 100% of the time. Whether it is the destruction of St. Vincent’s Hospital, the over development of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the planned waste transfer facility in family neighborhood on the Upper East Side and tearing down schools for more glass high rises, we ought to stop and asking what the hell is going on?
One must ask Quinn and Rudin:
Am I missing something? Do Rudin and Quinn have any grander vision for the future of New York? Or is all that they can imagine for the future of this once proud metropolis is that its citizens should be working wage slave servants to those they hope come to populate the similar glass high rises that they continue to build? Is the only vision you have for New Yorker’s that they should serve the food and drinks, clean the apartments and drive the limousines in this New- New York? Have certain Manhattan elites forgotten the true import of New York City’s rich history, the lessons of Jane Jacobs and the ‘Future of New York’ she imagined – a place of hope and expectation? I wonder about this because all they seem able to imagine is condo’s for the global elite while they rip apart the ties that bind our community of citizens. We all need to go on a Jane Jacobs Walk if we want to avoid the complete and total cultural collapse of our metropolis and avoid a “Dark Age Ahead.”
Christine Quinn is unacceptable. I hope and expect that the chorus will be amplified my fellow citizens in that regard in the months ahead. Quinn’s ‘identity politics’ must lose at the polls if we are to preserve New York as a place of hope and expectation for future generations.
REFERENCE LINKS - The Anti-Quinn Grassroots Movement
Key Websites: Vote Quinn Out | Facebook: Defeat Christine Quinn | Facebook: Queers Against Christine Quinn | The Campaign to Be Mayor of NYC in 2013 | Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club – Chelsea Democratic Club | Facebook: The Outer Boroughs of New York City Against Christine Quinn | Save Flushing Meadow Park: from developer friends of Bloomberg and Quinn
Constituent Abandonment: A Democratic Club (Jim Owles Club) Continues its War on Christine Quinn | Capital New York: Actress Cynthia Nixon endorses Bill de Blasio, Criticizes Quinn over Paid Sick Leave | Anybody But Quinn | City & State NY | Citizens Union: Council Politics Taint Discretionary Funding
Quinn Slush Fund Scandal – NY Magazine: Quinn in the Slush | NY Times: NYC Council Speaker Presides Over $4.5 Million Slush Fund | Pauline Park: Christine Quinn the NYC Slush Fund Scandal | Christine Quinn Sold Out: Quinn Slush Fund Lawsuit Update | NY Times: Christine Quinn Uses NYC Council Funds to Reward Allies | Bronx Chatter: Quinn, Seabrook & the Slush Fund Scandal
RUDIN Family Blood Condos – SATANIC LUXURY: Rudin Family Blood Condos |St. Vincent’s Hospital to Close in Manhattan | NY Times: The Decline of St. Vincent’s Hospital | Norman Siegel Calls to Mayor to Open Investigation to City Council Hospital Hearing St. Vincent’s Site | Tom Allon Slams Quinn For St. Vincent’s Closure | Suzannah B. Troy (NY Artist):NY Post Christine Quinn our Belladonna Porn Queen [Killed] St. Vincent’s Hospital | The Surreal Shutdown of St. Vincent’s
Repeal of Term Limits – Term Limits & Christine Quinn | Christine Quinn Wants to be Mayor of NYC | WSJ: City Council Speaker Defends Power to Overrule Voters on Term Limits | Boss Quinn Will Do Anything to Win to Become First Gay Mayor: insults constituent in her own district by referring to him as a no-name blogger. | NPR: Christine Quinn Never Supported Term Limits | Facebook -The Day Democracy Died: 3rd Anniversary of Quinn’s Repeal of Term Limits | NY Magazine: How Bill DeBlasio Can Defeat Christine Quinn
Character, Integrity & Temperament – The New Corrupt Adventures of Old Christine | Christine Quinn: Corrupt Democrat of the Week | The Epoch Times: Challenging Quinn A Risk For NYC Council Members | Why Quinn Must Go | The Voice of the West Village | Politicker: Christine Quinn Storms Out of Living Wage Rally
1. St. Vincent’s Hospital – Epicenter of AIDS Crisis
St. Vincent’s Hospital | AIDS Memorial Park: St. Vincent’s Hospital did not turn its back on the LGBT Community during the AIDS Crisis, quite the opposite in fact. St. Vincent’s was the epicenter of the AIDS Crisis. I am pretty sure that the entity’s compassionate policies exemplified for its care for those that nobody else would care for, destroyed its balance sheet. Yet, the humanity of the institution was not reciprocated by the liberal elites from Boss Quinn to Bette Midler of New York Restoration Project, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Susan Sarandon, Rosie O’Donnell et al etc. Perhaps they would rather have a luxury condo and toast in restoring the Continental Baths at the Ansonia or Studio 54 than fighting for a Catholic Hospital. You see, it is truly important to put in the Mayor’s Mansion, a woman who enables the corruption of NYC Insiders in backroom deals. Enabling her sponsor: Bill Rudin of the ABNY – Association For A Better New York to build luxury condos over the corpse of a Landmark medical treatment facility is critical, because its not like we have enough of them already in this town. The physicians, nurses and staff were there for the West Village Community during the AIDS Epidemic but the politically corrupt, grandstanding and annoyingly verbose, self serving and pontificating windbag - Tom Duane and his protege Christine Quinn turned their back on St. Vincent’s in its hour of need. History will show that those running St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center made a huge mistake in letting in the vultures: Rudin Management Company, Inc. For years leading up to its 2010 closing, St. Vincent’s was the target of a controversial billion-dollar luxury condo conversion plan by the Rudin real estate dynasty. Quinn’s Sponsor, Crony Capitalist Vulture Bill Rudin long had plans to develop Luxury Condo’s on the landmark site of the 160 year old hospital and chapel. With the assistance of Speaker Quinn, State Senator Tom Duane and a media campaign hatched and waged by societal elites in the shadows of society, the true vampires pulled the strings to enable Quinn’s sponsors: the Rudin clan to shutter a historic humanitarian medical institution and acquire for pennies on the dollar a landmark property of the 160 year old medical treatment facility and leaving the Lower West Side of Manhattan without a trauma hospital. Maybe someone should ask Bill Rudin who leads the Association For a Better New York whether more luxury condos for celebrities is preferable for a better New York than a critical hospital to treat its citizens in a vulnerable part of Manhattan.
2. QUINN & DUANE – LGBT Elites & Media Campaign Assisted Rudin Family in Acquiring/Stealing St. Vincent’s Hospital
Background: St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Center (wiki)
The Vultures Gain Access: St. Vincent’s ‘Let’s in the Vultures’ (Rudin Management Company, Inc): For years leading up to its 2010 closing, St. Vincent’s was the target of a controversial billion-dollar luxury condo conversion plan by the Rudin real estate dynasty. As noted by the following article, the vultures initially promised something quite different then before commencing construction decided that a hospital was impractical. See: The Villager: St. Vincent’s and Rudin unveil elliptical hospital, condo tower: St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Rudin Organization last week revealed their preliminary plans for a new state-of-the-art hospital building on the west side of Seventh Ave. and for the residential redevelopment on the east side of the present hospital complex.
The Plan: DNAinfo.com: Rudin’s St. Vincents Plan Debated at City Planning Hearing | Curbed: Plans Filed For Latest Aspect of St. Vincent’s Redevelopment | Observer: Rudin’s St. Vincent Project Gets Green Light From Planning Commission | CRAINS: Last Minute Deal Saves St. Vinnie’s Redevelopment | SATANIC LUXURY: Rudin Family Blood Condos with an AIDS Memorial Park
The Luxury Condos: 130 West 12th Street
Community Outrage: Coalition For A New Village Hospital | Hospital Now: Coalition Calling for Re-establishment of a Medical Center for Lower West Side of Manhattan | Video: Community Outrage at Rudin Family, Mayor & Quinn | Senator Tom Duane Shamed on St. Vincent’s Hospital Closing | Norman Siegel Calls to Mayor to Open Investigation to City Council Hospital Hearing St. Vincent’s Site | Tom Allon Slams Quinn For St. Vincent’s Closure | Rudin Family Blood Condos
On The Memorial – NYC AIDS Memorial Park Competition | Queerty: St. Vincent’s Hospital NYC Epicenter of AIDS Crisis to Become [Rudin Built] Luxury Condos | The Villager: Should AIDS Be Part or All of Park Triangle Memorial?
AIDS History (selected): Avert: History of AIDS up to 1986 | AIDS & Politics – 1980 to 1989| PBS: 10 Films that Address the Aids Crisis | Contrarian View: Virus Myth: HIV & AIDS – In 80’s, Fear Spread Faster Than AIDS | The Changing Face of Gay Men’s Sexuality in Response to AIDS
On Toasting the Elite Crony Capitalists: Oh yes, I am sure we will have a nice little Memorial and a cute fundraiser or cocktail party hosted by the Rudin’s, Quinn and all their elite friends but it will not make up for the elimination of this critical and vital NY institution.