2:42 pm Mar. 10, 2013
On Sunday morning, during a carefully choreographed press event, Council Speaker Christine Quinn finally, officially declared that she was in.
Standing across the street from the Inwood church where her parents were married and her sister was baptized, surrounded by family and supporters, Quinn declared that she was "running to be the mayor of the great city of New York."
The speaker’s candidacy was no state secret, but in keeping with the goal of maximum, acutely focused press attention, the details of Sunday’s announcement were treated as such.
Campaign aides notified reporters of the coming event on Friday afternoon.
The location, they said, was Inwood, but the address could not be disclosed till the following evening. Once revealed, those details were to be kept secret. No tweeting. No early stories. Their necks, they said, were on the line.
And so it was that on a clear, crisp Sunday, a phalanx of reporters and cameramen and photographers gathered the corner of Isham Street and Broadway and watched as Quinn, dressed in a magenta topcoat and the sort of low-heeled, sensible shoes that dismay her political pal Michael Bloomberg, walked down Broadway to the appointed spot.
She delivered a seven-minute speech, during which she said “middle class” seven times.
New York gave her family "a gateway into the middle class." She’s running for mayor to ensure that New York remains a "beacon for the middle class," so that there’s good housing “for middle-class and working-class people,” and affordable child care for "middle-class people."
As it is now, she said, "The middle class is squeezed in New York." Etc.
Then, still surrounded by supporters, she commenced her-five borough tour, one that will, by Election Day, take her to every community board jurisdiction in New York City.
An Inwood resident named Delfin Camilo, seeing Quinn coming and muttering that she wanted to avoid the “sellouts,”ushered the two children she had in tow out of harm’s way.
I followed after her.
Why does she think Christine Quinn is a sellout?
"She is someone who says [she] is pro-education, however, is anti public-school education because she supports charter schools," Camilo, an educator, told me. "She hasn’t given public education a chance. She’s a sellout. If she wins, it’s going to be another Bloomberg term."
Carole Mulligan, a schoolteacher and a eucharistic minister at the church where Quinn’s father got married, had a different viewpoint on the matter, which to her apparent astonishment, she found herself expressing to a scrum of reporters after finding herself in the middle of the Quinn show.
"We’re not going to be on TV are we?" she asked nervously, as Quinn introduced herself.
"No, no," Quinn assured her, as she waited for her father to join.
"There’s only like 300 TV cameras here," laughed Melissa Russo, of WNBC.
"She’s a eucharistic minister at Good Shepherd," Quinn told her father, when he arrived.
"A what?" he asked.
Quinn raised her voice considerably.
"A eucharistic minister at Good Shepherd!"
"Oh really?" said Quinn the elder. "How nice. I was married there, you know. In a Saturday in June, like it says in the song."
The Quinns departed and Mulligan said that, "At the moment, she has my vote."
For one thing, she likes Quinn’s stance on charter schools.
"Poor people should have options, as well as the wealthy and the upper middle class," she said.
Next stop: Southern Boulevard in the South Bronx, an avenue of 99-cent stores, cell phone purveyors, fast-food restaurants, and clothing stores with names like Dress Code and Urban Styles.
Quinn shook hands with a sidewalk vendor named Enrique Francisco, who also goes by the name "El Negro Francisco."
"Women work very hard for the people, is better than men," he told three women reporters after Quinn had moved on.
"Remember Hillary Clinton," he said. "She do something very nice for the city of New York, for United States."
Down the way, Jose Gali, 50, wore a sandwich board reading "We buy gold."
He, too, appreciated Quinn’s visit.
"I live in this neighborhood and when the mayor come in here to the neighborhood she can see personally what they gotta fix," he said.