Playbook: Brooklyn pride

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Welcome to our Capital Playbook newsletter, a morning email with must-read analysis and breaking news on politics and media. Sign up for our morning newsletters here. 

By Azi Paybarah in New York and Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, with Mike Allen

“MANHATTAN RENTAL MARKET LOSING STEAM … Brooklyn plows on: Gap between the two boroughs narrows to $300, the second smallest difference on record,” by Daily News’ Phyllis Furman: “Manhattan's sizzling rental market is finally cooling down. For the third month in a row, the median rent in the borough fell, dropping 3% in November, compared with last year, to $3,100, according to a report from Douglas Elliman. Manhattan rents are easing as Brooklyn rents continue to soar. The median rent in the ‘It’ borough" rose 3.8% to $2,800 …

“In spite of recent declines, [Manhattan] rents remain historically high and are not expected to drop that much in 2014, thanks to a recovering job market and low inventory. One reason rents have come down lately is that would-be buyers who were sitting on the fence have been rushing to buy ahead of rising mortgage rates. …

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“[Brooklyn’s] most expensive neighborhood, DUMBO, saw its average rent in November climb 4.3% compared with last year, to $4,093, [according to a separate report from brokerage firm MNS]. The average rent in Bedford-Stuyvesant surged 15.6% to $1,835, the largest jump of any Brooklyn neighborhood.” http://goo.gl/lOV7Ry

WHICH D.C. MAYORAL CANDIDATE WILL ECHO DE BLASIO? The Washington Post wonders if it will be Tommy Wells, who is living a week on minimum wage? http://goo.gl/J9tpMx Or “Is Andy Shallal the next Bill de Blasio,” as one education blog asked, since Shallal is the least in line with education reformers. http://goo.gl/vLtOIa

BROOKLYN PRIDE -- “Brooklyn declared ‘lesbian capital’ by boro president,” by Post’s Leonard Greene: “He’s running out of superlatives, but Borough President Marty Markowitz managed to come up with one more Tuesday: Brooklyn is the ‘lesbian capital’ of the Northeast. The borough’s bubbly chief cheerleader gave the unusual shout-out during a radio interview on WNYC. ‘We remain the lesbian capital of New York City and the Northeast.’” http://goo.gl/B8ffZq

$2 BILLION IN TAX CUTS — Cuomo commission reports: Most of the recommendations had been previously reported, including a property tax “circuit breaker” to provide a rebate for homeowners whose property taxes exceed a percentage of their income, an increase in the estate tax exemption. The report also recommended what would effectively be a “freeze” on property taxes in localities that abide by Cuomo's pre-existing cap on property tax growth. The report seemed designed to balance the interests of businesses and wealthy people in New York City, who account for the bulk of the state's corporate and income taxes, with Cuomo's desire to provide broad-based relief in the suburbs and upstate. http://goo.gl/TxXBTo

--NYT’s Thomas Kaplan: “[T]he contours of a debate also immediately emerged … A leading business official who has championed Mr. Cuomo’s agenda questioned whether the new plan was fair to New York City taxpayers; labor unions said provisions unfairly favored the rich; and the powerful speaker of the State Assembly said the government’s priority should be providing money for public education. … Cuomo … traveled to Old Westbury, in highly taxed Nassau County, to unveil and praise a set of tax-cutting recommendations from a panel led by former Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican, and former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, a Democrat.” http://goo.gl/YkMDXf

--HOW CUOMO FRAMES IT -- Bloomberg’s Freeman Klopott and Mark Schoifet: “New York's corporate tax rate would be cut to its lowest level since 1968 as part of reductions in property and business levies … ‘This is good news,’ Cuomo said at a press briefing in Old Westbury on Long Island, where the report was unveiled. ‘It's good news that the state is in the position to contemplate tax cuts.’ Cuomo … wants to make New York's tax structure more business-friendly. He also has targeted property taxes.” http://goo.gl/UN4wzG

--HOW IT’S PLAYING: Newsday cover, “State panel’s proposal: $2B IN TAX RELIEF: Plan includes 2-year property tax freeze – Legislative approval uncertain” … NYT A23, “Cuomo Backs Plan to Ease Array of Tax Burdens and Faces a Fight” (with small A1 refer, “Tax Proposals in Albany”) … WSJ A23 (“Greater New York” front), “Cuomo Gets a Tax-Cut Plan” … Bloomberg News, “Cuomo Commission Calls for Cutting N.Y. Corporate Rates” … AP, “NY board calls for 2-year property tax freeze” … Reuters, “New York state commission proposes $2 billion in tax cuts.”

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GRAYDON CARTER'S WASHINGTON WISH: Vanity Fair's holiday cards show how far the national distaste for Washington politics has permeated even the upper echelons of Gotham culture: House artist Edward Sorel (famous for the murals that line the walls of Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's swanky restaurant ventures) depicts Santa orchestrating a small chamber of classical musicians who are donkeys and elephants. "A WISH FOR PEACE ON EARTH (AND IN WASHINGTON TOO)" reads the inside greeting. See Sorel's fantastic cartoon here. http://goo.gl/nGhNC7

** When you think retail, do you think innovation? Innovation isn’t just a buzzword for executives like Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, Whole Foods’ Walter Robb, STORY’s Rachel Shechtman and Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal. Here’s their take on the future of the industry. Watch the video: http://bit.ly/18FgftY

THE TABS: Post, “FLIRTING WITH DANE-GER! Mrs. O not amused by O & pretty PM” … News, “TOT CELL SCANDAL: Charter school lockup horror for boys, 5 & 7” and “Michelle’s beside her selfie over flirty Bam.”

HOUSEKEEPING: We’ve relaunched our morning email newsletter as Capital Playbook (tips, news, feedback and corrections to Jimmy@CapitalNewYork.com, Azi@CapitalNewYork.com, MAllen@Politico.com, please). The new-look capitalnewyork.com launched last week, and we’ve got Pro newsletters focusing on City Hall, Albany and media that you can sign up for here. Those will be part of a subscription news service we’re launching early next year. For more information and to get free access, email Lauren Englander at lenglander@capitalnewyork.com.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You know, every Sunday he makes his pasta sauce in the slow cooker for the girls. He makes it. We’re not allowed in the kitchen. He wants those girls to have a real strong foundation about what is a great, Sunday, family supper that you always have to come back to,” Sandra Lee told Marla Thomas, promising that Cuomo’s sauce is good. http://goo.gl/DupHjD

THE CLINTONS TAKE NEW YORK: Part five of Steve Kornacki’s series on how the Clintons supplanted the Cuomos as New York’s first family: http://goo.gl/tSXMzY

CAPITOL MOVES -- Newspapers and lobbying firms shuffle the deck before new session: As Capital first reported on Tuesday afternoon, Newsday has hired AP veteran Michael Gormley to fill out its Albany bureau, and join former colleague Yancey Roy on the beat. Gormley spent 15 years at the AP, and his reunion with Roy concentrates a good deal of institutional knowledge in one bureau.

-- On the lobbying side, Sandra Rivera will leave Manatt, Phelps & Phillips to join Yoswein New York as an “of counsel” employee mostly based in Albany. Yoswein, named for former Assemblywoman Joni Yoswein, counts many major Brooklyn businesses among its clients.

LEGACY WATCH -- TWO BIG WINS FOR BLOOMBERG IN THE BRONX:

--OUTLINES OF A SOCCER DEAL -- Capital’s Dana Rubinstein: “According to a confidential outline of the formative deal obtained by Capital New York, the 10-acre site would encompass three of Yankee Stadium's financially troubled parking lots, a portion of 153rd Street, and a building on the same street now occupied by an elevator parts company called GAL Manufacturing that employs about 400 people. …

The city, in turn, would demap a portion of 153rd Street, take over the GAL site and give the team a 99-year lease. Only after 38 years would the team pay the city fair market rent. The city would also agree to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance the $350 million project, and it would grant the team $21.5 million in other tax waivers.” http://goo.gl/bnnd4L

-- AN ICE CENTER FOR KINGSBRIDGE -- Cabrera comes around, won’t talk about demands -- Capital’s Sally Goldenberg: “The City Council struck a deal on developing an ice skating rink complex at the vacant Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx - a legacy project Mayor Bloomberg wants in his broad development portfolio. In an 11th-hour deal, the council approved the plan with the support of Councilman Fernando Cabrera, whose district houses the armory. …

“Cabrera was opposed to the plan as recently as Monday, but said he was swayed by a $250,000 commitment from the developer, KNIC Partners, to mitigate traffic issues in the surrounding area. … Cabrera dodged questions on whether he demanded the developer pay $100,000 a year for 99 years to a not-for-profit group Community Action Unlimited, which is tied to his church.” http://goo.gl/Uuvws7

AND ANOTHER BLOOMBERG FINALE – amNewYork cover shows the Apollo Theater, “WIRED: Harlem gets 95 blocks of free Wi-Fi as city takes big step toward full access.” …

--City Hall release, “Bloomberg Announces Country's Largest Continuous Free Public WiFi Network”: “The Harlem WiFi network will extend 95 city blocks, from 110th to 138th Streets between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Madison Avenue making it the largest continuous free outdoor public wireless network in the nation. The network … will increase digital access for approximately 80,000 Harlem residents, including 13,000 public housing residents … The free public network will serve the community for an initial five-year term and is funded through a generous donation from the Fuhrman Family Foundation.” http://goo.gl/fB6XQe

BIG DAY FOR DEVELOPERS – “NYC Agency Approves Tax Breaks for Hudson Yards, Willets Point,” by Bloomberg’s Martin Z. Braun: “A New York City agency approved $120 million in tax breaks for the developers of Hudson Yards on the far west side of Manhattan and Willets Point in Queens. The Industrial Development Agency voted 12-0 with two abstentions to approve a $76.5 million property-tax exemption for New York-based Related Cos. to redesign a 49-story tower in Hudson Yards … Related and its partner, Oxford Properties Group, the Toronto-based real estate arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, plan to invest $20 billion in the 26-acre … district of offices, apartments, shops and parks.

“The IDA … voted 12-1 with one abstention to approve $42.6 million of property-tax abatements and mortgage-recording-tax exemptions for the Willets Point project, which the city says will transform a neighborhood of auto shops and junkyards in the shadow of the New York Mets baseball stadium. Related and its Queens partner, Sterling Equities Inc., controlled by Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon, plan to build a 200- room hotel and 30,000 square feet … of retail space in the first phase of the development. The IDA board meeting was the last during Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure. His successor, Democrat Bill de Blasio, wants to curb almost $3 billion in annual business-tax breaks granted by the city.” http://goo.gl/tLg6tB

TOP N.Y. COURT EXTENDS SHIELD LAW — Capital’s Alex Weprin: The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Fox News reporter Jana Winter, who was attempting to use New York’s shield law to fend off a subpoena from Colorado, where lawyers for accused theater shooter James Holmes want to find out who Winter’s source was for a report on a violent notebook Holmes sent to a psychiatrist. … ‘[P]rotection of the anonymity of confidential sources is a core -- if not the central -- concern underlying New York's journalist privilege, with roots that can be traced back to the inception of the press in New York,’ Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote.’” http://goo.gl/VROnWX … Read the entire ruling here: http://goo.gl/Va04TS

RAY KELLY GETS MUSLIM HONOR -- Post’s Jamie Schram: The Muslim Advisory Council “gave Kelly kudos for keeping the Arab community up to speed on a range of issues over the past 12 years, including the NYPD’s counterterrorism efforts. … [T]he council said the department’s outreach program should be a “model” for other cities.” http://goo.gl/1UE1Ba … A “minstrel show with kufis” is how a founding member of the Muslim Democratic Club described the event. http://goo.gl/7Sn4xs

HOLDING BACK IN THE GILDED CITY -- “Wealthy Go Frugal This Holiday Amid Uneven U.S. Recovery,” by Bloomberg’s Cotten Timberlake: “While the most well-heeled shoppers still think nothing of dropping $4,600 on an Hermes tote, cracks have appeared in the $94 billion U.S. luxury market … Coach Inc. has said customers plan to spend less on gifts and that mall traffic fell sharply last month. … Even before Black Friday, Saks Inc., Neiman Marcus Group Inc. and Nordstrom offered 40 percent off on many brands. … ‘Most luxury shoppers understand the [nation’s economic] reports as net, not- positive,’ [New York retail consultant Robin] Lewis said … Since the luxury sector of smart, wealthy people are also captains of industry and finance, it will most certainly have a negative effect on their confidence and, therefore, spending.’” http://goo.gl/EPNNGt

THE HOME TEAMS -- Capital’s Howard Megdal: Nets 104, Celtics 96: Signs of life from the Nets, and no coincidence, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams returned. Cavaliers 109, Knicks 94: Kyrie Irving destroyed the Knicks, as quick point guards so often do. The Mets met with the agent for both Cesar Izturis and Freddy Garcia, so either way, nothing real exciting going on there.

--“[Bronx] street co-named after Mariano Rivera” – AP: “Yankees legend Mariano Rivera is receiving another honor: a city street named after him. Rivera retired from baseball at the end of this past season. The City Council voted Tuesday to co-name one block of River Avenue in the Bronx after him. The block is right outside Yankee Stadium. Traditionally, a city street can only be co-named after someone who is deceased. But exceptions can be made. Rivera spent his entire 19-year career with the Yankees. He is Major League Baseball's all-time leader in saves and won five World Series championships. He is widely considered the best closer in the sport's history.”

#UpstateAmerica: A rabid bobcat mauled a Washington County woman before her boyfriend shot it dead. http://goo.gl/3E4nrV

DESSERT – “Go For the Food: Braving the crowds at Rock Center,” by AP Travel Editor Beth J. Harpaz: “Adventurous eaters should head straight to Xi'an Famous Foods. Anthony Bourdain discovered Xi'an back when the only locations were in Lower Manhattan's Chinatown and a mall in Queens, but the midtown Manhattan shop makes it possible to visit the tree and eat your noodles within the same hour. … Foodies will also feel right at home at Num Pang Sandwich Shop, which offers Cambodian sandwiches on baguettes, with rich, flavorful fillings like hoisin meatballs, coconut tiger shrimp or five-spice glazed pork belly. …

“The most popular halal stand with the longest line is at 53rd Street. … Fig & Olive offers a slightly upscale setting for tapas and small plates inspired by cuisines of coastal Spain, Italy and the south of France. … For a quick sandwich, salad or pastry to go, folks who work in Rock Center swear by Bouchon Bakery, right across from the NBC Today show street-level studios. … [J]ust around the corner from the tree, Bill's Bar & Burger is a casual, friendly sit-down place with good fish tacos and award-winning burgers.” http://goo.gl/WMX6qW

** From the National Retail Federation: You’ve heard the mantra, “The customer is always right.” Shoppers want quicker access to product, smarter shopping through mobile, and better customer experience. And our members – retail businesses, large and small – are responding through innovative technology and smart business practices. The most innovative retail brands in the business will gather in New York City, January 12-15, for Retail’s BIG Show. See who’s attending and what they’re talking about.

Learn more about retail innovation at thisisretail.org/innovation. #thisisretail **