Autumn in New York City means many things: the U.S. Open; Fashion Week with white tents popping up in odd places, leggy off-duty models smoking languidly on the streets and impromptu fash-mobs staged by wannabe designers; the U.N. Security Council meetings with impossibly heightened security and phalanxes of tinted-windowed, black Cadillac SUVs trying to get across town. Schools opening. Summer tans fading. Another sad anniversary of Sept. 11.
This fall it also means the Sept. 10 primaries for Democratic and Republican candidates for mayor of New York. As of now, Mayor Bloomberg is stepping down after three terms! After his extended, outsized, bought-it-fair-and-square mayoral tenure, the general consensus seemed to be that the next mayor would be a letdown. The people sighed.
Then came the early summer Anthony Weiner insertion and partial withdrawal from the primary race. Uma-Hillary tangents were dutifully pursued. The whole Weiner-Spitzer drama did wake the people up. They remembered the importance of the race and are fighting at dinner parties, writing snarky columns and in general being New Yorkers.
Of course, the people I’ve dined with know the Republican primary candidates only by apposition — “Is he the Gristedes guy, the MTA guy or the Guiliani guy?” — and not by mangled last name. Overall, they are pleased with the mostly progressive roster of Democratic candidates who have pledged to stop or change the unconstitutional practice of Stop and Frisk, to make the city affordable for the middle class, and to continue successful Bloomberg programs like greener, cleaner public spaces, infrastructure improvements and climate change planning.
For the record, I am in favor of keeping the Dial 311 helpline. I once reported a temporary steel plate on my street that sounded like a thunderclap when anyone drove over it. All day long. By evening it had been cemented down by the DPW. I’m pretty sure it was because of me.
And since I have been in Provincetown where I work in the summer, the dinner groups, of course, have been very LGBT-focused. I know we’ve become a mature movement with Supreme Court victories, political savvy and a very sophisticated, diverse voting bloc. LGBT voters will make their choices. Bill Thompson? A great guy with a long history of public service. Public advocate Bill DiBlasio? Also great. I first met Bill’s wife at The Michigan Women’s Music Festival. Charlane is way cool.
Over the icy minted beverages and grilled watermelon of summer soirees, I have been struck by LGBT people who are enthusiastically identity based – vacations, movies, flags, equal signage, circuit parties, festivals – but who balk at the opportunity to vote for an actual, outstanding LGBT candidate.
I almost hesitate to say this out loud. Like I might jinx her chances, or upset the very careful campaign tone the Christine Quinn campaign has crafted.
But at those dinners I generally want to start thumping the picnic table, raving about how historic it would be to have a feisty, red-headed, Irish lesbian leading one of the greatest cities in the world. Yeah, yeah, third term. She didn’t make New Yorkers vote for Bloomberg each time. Yeah, yeah she’s got a temper. She likes a fight. She gets stuff done.
Who you looking at? A Quinn-t-essential lesbian.