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Hasidic Leader Alone Among Pols From Pre-9/11 Front Page To Keep Clout

Local primary races in New York City are pretty ho-hum this year. With no real challenger for Mayor Bill de Blasio, primary day will pass more-or-less unnoticed tomorrow.

Sixteen years ago yesterday was a different story. After eight tumultuous years, Rudy Giuliani was term limited out, clearing the way for what the New York Times, in a front page story on September 10, 2001, called “the busiest primary campaign around here that anyone can remember.”

To illustrate the story, the Times ran above-the-fold photos of the four leading Democratic hopefuls.

Of everyone pictured the four images, which ran the day before the terror attacks that would define an era, there’s only person still active in local politics: Satmar community leader Rabbi David Niederman.

Niederman, then as now, is head of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, a powerful local nonprofit. He also serves as a key liaison between political leaders and the Satmar community in Brooklyn.

Others pictured in the photos are dead, disgraced, or have moved on from politics. Mark Green won the primary, but lost the general election to Michael Bloomberg. Peter Vallone Sr., pictured with a guy in a Dodgers hat, never ran for office again. Alan Hevesi pled guilty to corruption charges in 2011.

Only Fernando Ferrer remains active in public life. He has been on the board of the Metropolitan Transit Authority since 2011.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at or on Twitter, @joshnathankazis.




    NY-12 Candidate Forum


    Aug 10, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    Will the last Jew left in New York’s congressional delegation be reelected? Will New York’s senior congresswoman receive another term? Or will one of the newcomers upend Manhattan politics?

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