New York Playbook

Published on:
January 8th, 2019
Credit: Politico

New York Playbook


Laura Nahmias, Nick Niedzwiadek, and Daniel Lippman

January 8, 2019


More than two weeks in to the partial government shutdown, and its local impacts are starting to emerge. Some problems, like a work stoppage of TSA agents — who are working without pay — leaving our airports with diminished security, have already become clear. Our parks are poop-ridden, and you can’t visit federal museums. The state is paying to keep the Statue of Liberty open.

Our Dana Rubinstein reports now that the shutdown is leading to confusion over Gov. Andrew Cuomo's surprise proposal to scrap the 15-month closure of the L train tunnel, a plan that may require not only the the approval of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, but may also require the approval of the Trump administration.

“We’re not sure," said MTA Managing Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim in an interview at MTA headquarters Monday. “In fairness to our partners at the Federal Transit Administration,” she continued, “I don’t think they’re sure either.” Thanks to the government shutdown, spokespeople for the federal agency were on furlough Monday and did not respond to a request for comment.

The Trump administration is implicated in Cuomo’s L train plansbecause the Cuomo administration is relying on federal funding to get the job done. The MTA’s original, nearly three-year-old L train closure plan was slated to cost close to $1 billion and was reliant on nearly $500 million in federal funding, Hakim said. Some of that funding has already been spent. Much of it is still “pending,” she said. The new cost of the plan remains unclear, though officials suggest it may prove less expensive.

Monday morning, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer told a group of New York’s power brokers more details about the shutdown’s possible local impact, at an ABNY breakfast in Midtown at the Roosevelt. The Trump Administration plans to ward off some potential blowback from shuttering the IRS by issuing tax refundsthat were scheduled to go out starting this month, reversing a long-standing position. But other problems remain: will a prolonged shutdown lead to a general business slowdown, while companies wait for the Securities and Exchange Commission to come back online? And what happens to our poorest and most vulnerable residents — the 2.9 million New Yorkers who used SNAP benefits in the last fiscal year, and the hundreds of thousands of people in New York who rely on WIC payments, if the shutdown lasts days or even weeks longer?

IT’S TUESDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know ... By email and, or on Twitter: @nahmias@NickNiedz, and @dlippman.

WHERE’S ANDREW? Heading to Washington D.C. to meet with the New York State Congressional delegation and then heading to Albany in the evening.

WHERE’S BILL? Appearing live on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and later, making a healthcare announcement and holding a press conference at Lincoln Hospital.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Blow up the MTA. Blow it up,” Cuomo told the Daily News editorial board. “The MTA is so tedious to deal with that it developed a boutique industry of people who just are willing to deal with this thing called the MTA.”

Today’s Tabloids: — New York Post: "BRAWLS TO THE WALL" — Daily News: "COPS AND THROBBERS"— See Them

Today's Broadsheets: — New York Times: —3 col., above the fold: "Bolton Left to ‘Reverse-Engineer’ Syria Pullout"—1 col., above the fold: "IMPASS STARTING TO LEAVE MARK ON ECONOMY" — Wall Street Journal: —4 col., above the fold: "IRS Reverses Refund Stance"— 3 col., A-hed: "Wool Lovers Bleat about Shear Madness” — See Them


“NEW YORK CITY NOW SPENDS $325 MILLION A YEAR TO SEND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS — Shortly after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office in 2014, he made it easier for students with disabilities to attend private schools with the city picking up the tab. That policy change is quietly having an enormous impact: The cost of sending students with disabilities to private schools has doubled since de Blasio was sworn in…

"The sharp increase is notable because it suggests the city is increasingly acknowledging that it can’t provide an adequate education to students with disabilities within traditional public schools. And the trend is at odds with schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s desire to send fewer students with disabilities to schools outside the system.” Chalkbeat’s Alex Zimmerman

CITY COUNCIL MEMBER MARK GJONAJ SPENT NEARLY $30,000 IN TAXPAYER FUNDS renovating his new district office last year, but he avoided the Council’s bidding requirements while steering some of that work to a donor with business ties to his family. Under City Council rules, there is a $5,000 limit for member spending on work that is not bid out to competing contractors. But Gjonaj hired All Pro Design & Construction, a company long registered at the business address he shared with his brother Paul, for a total of $9,700 of work without bidding it out, he confirmed to POLITICO.” Rosa Goldensohn

COKED OUT: “One in four adults and one in three high school students have one or more sugary drinks per day, according to the New York Department of Health. To combat this scourge, the organization has announced a new media campaign, featuring a man confused by the difference between a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of soda.” Metro New York’s Will Drickey

THE END OF BIG TAXI: ”The era of taxi medallions as a coveted asset ended a while ago, as prices slid from more than $1 million in 2014 to less than $200,000. Now the final page has turned on the New York credit unions that were their biggest backers. Last week Manhattan-based Progressive Credit Union was folded into Virginia-based Pentagon Federal — the nation's second-largest federal credit union, with $24 billion in assets — in an emergency merger approved by the National Credit Union Administration. The union administration takes such an action only for credit unions at risk of insolvency.” Crain’s Matthew Flamm

FOLLOW-UP: “Life Behind The Wheel: The Daily Struggle Of Cab, Uber Drivers” — Patch’s Noah Manskar

FIRST IN NY PLAYBOOK: Former U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) formally endorsed Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, who is running on the “Equality for All” ballot line, for NYC Public Advocate. Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has been endorsed by the 14,000 member NYC Sanitation Workers’ Union.

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS — tweet via Public Advocate candidate Rafael Espinal: “8:30AM, 50 different campaigns ready to file petitions and get an early placement on the ballot. It’s insane”


STACKS ON DECK: “Add three more members of the state Legislature to the list of those were re-elected, retired and started a new term collecting both a salary and a pension. The three New York City-area Assembly members this month joined the ranks with two state Senators who lost re-election in November and put in for their pensions, as well as former Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, who was elected to Congress. Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, will now collect a roughly $80,000 annual state pension each year along with his $174,000-a-year congressional salary.

"Democratic Assembly members Peter Abbate Jr. of Brooklyn and Deborah Glick of Manhattan put in for their pensions as they are seated for another term in the Legislature, according to the state Comptroller's Office. … So too did Assemblyman Fred Thiele, a member of the Independence Party from Long Island who sits with Democrats.” Gannett’s Albany bueau

“WITH HILLARY CLINTON TO HIS RIGHT, FEMALE ELECTED OFFICIALS SEATED BEFORE HIM and cheering women filling the audience, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday promised to protect women’s reproductive rights by expanding the state’s abortion laws within the first 30 days of the new legislative session. Mr. Cuomo’s vow was not exactly new. But the pageantry of the occasion seemed to reflect the circumstances that had prompted it: a Legislature newly controlled by Democrats raring to broaden reproductive rights, and a federal government increasingly looking to rein them in, all against the backdrop of a state with abortion laws that are not as liberal as many perceive them to be. ‘The Republican Senate said, ‘You don’t need a state law codifying Roe v. Wade. No administration would ever roll back Roe v. Wade,’ Mr. Cuomo said at the event at Barnard College, describing why previous efforts had languished for so long.” New York Times

“ASSEMBLY SPEAKER CARL HEASTIE APPEARS CONTENT to let a state Supreme Court judge strike down restrictions on outside employment for state legislators as long as it doesn't affect their scheduled $50,500 pay increase. Heastie's position was outlined in an amicus brief submitted on Monday afternoon in a case challenging the constitutionality of a special compensation panel that last month awarded lawmakers their first raise in two decades. Heastie attorney Andrew Sullivan argued in the filing that the Legislature acted within its authority to delegate the responsibility of determining their salaries. Sullivan notes that a commission with a similar mandate was approved by the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2015, and its decision to give state judges a pay raise was subsequently upheld in court.” Albany Times Union

“THE HASIDIC COMMUNITY OF KIRYAS JOEL IN NEW YORK became what is said to be the first official haredi Orthodox town in the United States. Kiryas Joel on Jan. 1 became the town of Palm Tree when it officially split from the Town of Monroe located in New York’s Orange County, the Times Herald-Record reported on Saturday. The new town is a town made up of the 164 acres Kiryas Joel had annexed from Monroe and 56 additional acres.” Jewish Daily Forward

“THE DIGITAL DIVIDE LOOKS LIKE BUFFALO’S BROADWAY MARKET ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON: a dozen round tables thronged with lunchgoers — and nary a laptop or tablet among them. Most households in this neighborhood don’t own such devices, new first-of-its-kind federal data show. And even fewer have the means to go online with them, either at the Broadway Market or in their own homes. The data, released by the Census Bureau last month, expose for the first time the true depths of the digital gap in the region: While 80 percent of households in Erie and Niagara counties are online, low-income pockets of Buffalo, Lockport and Niagara Falls have fallen off the grid.

"The disparities are starkest on Buffalo’s East Side, particularly in the Broadway-Fillmore district, where fewer than two in five homes have internet on some blocks. … While Erie and Niagara County’s connectivity rates only slightly lag both national averages, Western New York is pockmarked with deeper 'digital deserts' – largely urban, low-income neighborhoods where more than half of all households do not have home internet or cellular data plans, despite being wired for them." Buffalo News

#UpstateAmerica: Oxford Pennant is holding a contest where the winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip to Buffalo in the winter.


— Rep. Antonio Delgado hung lyrics from his rap career in his congressional office after critics tried to make it a campaign issue.

— Assemblyman Dan Quart filed an amicus brief in support of a news organization suing to get NYPD to disclose data on unfounded sexual assault allegations.

— Mayor de Blasio’s sixth year in office could feature three different neighborhood rezonings.

— Prosecutors want better tools to analyze impaired driving as part of New York’s marijuana legalization debate.

— “The Fire Department’s decision to deploy 68 Emergency Medical Service Trainees on New Year’s Eve, perhaps the busiest tour of the year, proves the city has a serious EMT shortage that puts the public’s well-being at risk and drives up response times, according to the unions that represent the EMS workforce.”

— “Sunday Rush at Both Trader Joe’s Locations is Enormous; ‘Are We Selling Crack?’ Asks Employee”

— An art museum dedicated to dogs is returning to Midtown


— New York state lawmakers are trying to change the name of Donald J. Trump state park. (Again.)

— New York’s regional HUD Administrator,Trump-appointee Lynne Patton, is postponing her planned move into public housing because of the shutdown.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jeannie Kedas, chief comms officer at First Look Media … Rob Melick ... Ross Schneiderman is 36 … Jae Ko, assistant director of DC 37

MAKING MOVES — Maddie Anderson is now communications director for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). She previously was an NRCC regional press secretary. … Anne Marie Anzalone, former chief of staff to Rep. Joe Crowley,is joining Bolton St. Johns — the government relations and public affairs consulting firm, as a top lobbyist. Anzalone, who served as Crowley’s chief of staff for more than a decade, will lobby in New York City and Albany. (h/t Gloria Pazmino). … Former Bronx Defenders attorney Mike Bloch has joined the law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, the law firm founded by Roberta Kaplan, as Counsel. … Claudia Granados has joined Fontas Advisors, the boutique government affairs firm founded by New York City lobbyist George Fontas. Granados will serve as managing director, and be responsible for leading the firm’s Albany practice.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Eamon Javers, Washington correspondent at CNBC and a POLITICO alum, and Maureen Javers, a former consultant to Morgan Stanley, on Thursday welcomed Norah Mary Javers, who joins Declan, Evelyn and Hugh. Pic


NEW YORK CITY UNIONS ARE DIVIDED ON ONE OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES FACING THE CITY — a deal for Amazon to build a sprawling headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. Labor leader Stuart Appelbaum hosted a rally at his Manhattan headquarters Monday, calling the e-commerce giant "one of the worst employers, not just in the United States but anywhere in the world" and criticizing fellow unions who are supporting the project. Two unions who are said to have agreements with Amazon are backing the plans for the company's waterfront site...Appelbaum, head of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, hosted several City Council members from Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered. They relayed the impact they believe the company has had on their city, from increased homelessness to the displacement of nonwhite and low-income residents …

But building service employees union 32BJ SEIU had already struck a deal with developers of the two parcels Amazon will occupy to ensure they would not oppose the unionization of workers. Amazon will honor that agreement, one source familiar with the deal told POLITICO. … The Building and Construction Trades Council, an umbrella group of unions, has also endorsed Amazon's planned relocation to New York, which followed a nationwide contest and resulted in about $3 billion in city and state subsidies. POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg and Rosa Goldensohn

THEN AND NOW: “The High Line was an epiphany when it opened in 2009, a moment suspended between neglect and possibility. The strips of curated wilderness, the medieval-looking iron railings, the disorienting views, the way the viaduct ducked beneath buildings or squeezed through narrow openings to emerge into a broader cityscape—the whole sequence contained the city’s irresistible theatricality. That mirage has taken a decade to dissipate … Today, the High Line serves as an elevated cattle chute for tourists, who shuffle from the Whitney to Hudson Yards, squeezed between high glass walls and luxury guard towers. The views are mostly gone, which is a good thing because stopping to admire one would cause a 16-pedestrian pileup.” New York Magazine’s Justin Davidson


St. John's men's basketball star Shamorie Ponds earned the NCAA Player of the Week honors.

Spring Valley's own Ricky McGill, now of Iona, earned MAAC Player of the Week honors.

NYCFC nabbed Keaton Parks, a 6'4 midfielder, on loan from Benfica. You'll see his name in this space again.

Celtics 116, Nets 95: These Nets are good, but they are not yet Celtics good.

The day ahead: the Knicks face the Warriors on the road on the second night of a back-to-back. The Rangers are in Vegas. The Sabres host the Devils. The Islanders bring the Hurricanes to Barclays. And the St. John's men have a chance to take control of the Big East, in a matchup against Villanova that could be Shamorie Ponds' national coming out party.


Read this at Politico.