City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s dad, sidelined for months by medical problems, returned to the campaign trail this morning just in time for his 87th birthday.
The charming Larry Quinn, often referred to as Ms. Quinn’s “not-so-secret weapon,” stopped by a senior center near Washington Square Park to stump for his daughter as the mayoral campaign enters its final, frenzied stretch.
“Well, you know, I’d like to be more mobile, but at least I’m on my feet and I don’t have an escort any longer–a paid escort!” joked Mr. Quinn as he left the center after a short visit, accompanied by Ms. Quinn’s father-in-law, Anthony Catullo. While Mr. Quinn walked a little slower than usual, with the assistance of a cane, his humor appeared perfectly in tact.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has actress Susan Sarandon’s back.
At a press conference today with a slew of celebrity backers protesting the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital, the mayoral candidate blasted a report in the New York Post that accused the Academy Award-winner of flipping her stance on the hospital to bolster Mr. de Blasio.
“I’m a little sick and tired of attacks on Susan Sarandon,” he declared after Politicker asked whether Ms. Sarandon had indeed changed her stance. “They have happened so frequently over the years because she stands up for what’s right. And there’s no question that she stood up for healthcare in this community.”
Ms. Sarandon accused the Post of being “the only newspaper that seems to be obsessed with me” and argued that she’d never been in favor of the closing. She said she’d attended a 2008 hearing on a proposal to overhaul the facility, but “the complaint was, not whether or not it would be taken down, but the plan that was proposed to renovate St. Vincent’s was already outdated,” she said.
“And that’s the only time I went,” Ms. Sarandon continued. “And I listened to what it is because that’s what you do in a democracy is go and listen to these hearings.”
Mr. de Blasio’s press conference came less than an hour after–and merely a block away from–a competing press conference held by Christine Quinn supporters, which ended in violence.
But Mr. de Blasio’s effort featured an entourage of recognizable faces, including civil rights leader and musician Harry Belafonte, Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon and Ms. Sarandon, who hosted a ping pong fund-raising party for Mr. de Blasio last night.
Ms. Nixon, whose mother passed away this January, stressed the importance of community hospitals, crediting Weill Cornell with helping her mother live after surviving a heart attack. “That is why I got an extra 12 years with her,” she said, “because she lived five blocks from a hospital.”
For his part, Mr. de Blasio blamed the controversial closing of the Greenwich Village hospital on his mayoral rival, Ms. Quinn, as well as the man both are vying to replace, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I would say to Speaker Quinn: Speaker Quinn–who is the chief ally of Mayor Bloomberg? Speaker Quinn who is the head of the legislative branch of this city government, whose district St. Vincent’s is in? I would ask her why her efforts did not succeed,” Mr. de Blasio bellowed to the crowd, which was comprised largely of members of the 1199 healthcare workers union.
Mr. de Blasio has made fighting hospital closures a major theme of his campaign, and was arrested recently at a rally protesting the closure of Long Island College Hospital.
Ms. Quinn has long maintained she did everything she could to save the hospital.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s press conference this morning devolved into violence, as State Senator Brad Hoylman was slapped in the face and another Quinn supporter was attacked during a heated showdown over hospital closings.
The campaign event was initially supposed to give former State Senator Tom Duane, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Mr. Hoylman the opportunity to rail against rival mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio for his alleged inaction regarding the controversial closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital. But a group of anti-Quinn protesters were the only ones to make real noise.
“Shame, shame, shame on you,” the group chanted as the press conference was set to begin, drowning out Ms. Quinn’s supporters.
Former Mayor Ed Koch and Governor Andrew Cuomo have a long and colorful history, stretching all the way back to Mr. Koch’s initial mayoral election against Mario Cuomo, the current governor’s father, in a hotly-contested, occasionally bitter 1977 race that Mr. Koch ultimately won. Although Mr. Koch continued to tweak the younger Cuomo for years after–calling him a “schmuck” in his latest documentary, for example–the two became political allies on a number of issues during Mr. Cuomo’s political career and governorship. Earlier today, Mr. Cuomo described his final words with the late Mr. Koch and the inspiration he received from them.
“I talked to the mayor two days ago. He’s in the hospital. …. I said to him, ‘Mister Mayor, how are you feeling?’ [He replied,] ‘Stronger every day. Stronger every day.'” Mr. Cuomo recalled in a radio interview with New York Post columnist Fred Dicker. “To me, that’s the essence of Ed Koch. Stronger every day. Tomorrow’s going to be better. Optimism. Look forward. Don’t look back. You think the situation is bleak? Nah, we’re going to conquer. We’re going to win. We’re going to be better. Stronger every day. Now, he had to know where he was, right? ‘Stronger every day.’ How beautiful is that?”
At 2 a.m. this morning, former Mayor Ed Koch passed away due to congestive heart failure. He was 88, outspoken, and if you listen to some of New York City’s leading political figures, “an irrepressible icon,” “larger than life” and “part of the fabric of New York.”
“I’m expressing my condolences on behalf of all 8.4 million New Yorkers, and I know so many of them will be keeping Mayor Koch and his family and friends in their thoughts prayers,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in a statement. “As we mourn Mayor Koch’s passing, the flags at all City buildings will be flying at half-staff in his memory.”
When former Mayor Ed Koch went to the hospital earlier this month after suffering a buildup of fluid in his lungs and ankles due to congestive heart disease, he was out after eight days. Mr. Koch returned to New York Presbyterian on Monday and, according to his spokesman George Arzt, though the mayor’s condition has improved, this latest trip to the hospital may be a longer one. Continue reading “Koch Expected to Stay in Hospital For ‘A While’”→