In New York City, One Bright, Blue Spot
MIDTOWN MANHATTAN — On an evening of much Democratic sorrow, there’s one room full of Democrats erupting in cheer: the glitzy ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan, where the state party is indeed partying in front of a gigantic American flag. Screens show broadcasts from local NY1 News, but not national election results — which may, one Democrat speculated, account for the buoyant mood.
Partiers were divided into “guests” and “honored guests,” but that didn’t determine access to important things, like beer and banners. Among both of those groups were a number of ultra-Orthodox men — a few of whom declined to speak with MitzVote — and some other prominent Jews, including Rabbi Israel Steinberg.
It’s a special evening for Steinberg, of Boro Park, Brooklyn. “I’m behind Cuomo, because he has a strong record for being clever and for being good for the Jewish community,” he told MitzVote, referring to the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo. But that’s not all: He directed the state’s human rights office for 12 years under then-Governor Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s father.
“I was very friendly with Andrew,” Steinberg recalled. “He ran everything behind the scenes.” He’s confident that the younger Cuomo is familiar with the Jewish community because of his father’s work. On the minds of the Orthodox community now, he said, is Israel, then poverty. “There’s a lot of poverty among our community, there are no jobs.” He’s confident that Cuomo can fix these problems because of his experience leading the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton.
Another Jew with clout strode in mid-party: former New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
By mid-evening, Cuomo, along with U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristin Gillibrand, had locked in their predicted wins.
“If we work together, I have no doubt the best days are ahead of us,” Schumer said in his victory speech. “Nothing matters more to me than making sure you and your children have he future you deserve.”
Gillibrand told the room: “Renewing America … will take leaders of good faith.”