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Yuh-Line Niou Announces Candidacy for Newly Created Lower Manhattan Congressional District
Above: Congressional candidate Yuh-Line Niou at her campaign kick-off in Columbus Park on Saturday, flanked by actress (and onetime candidate for Governor) Cynthia Nixon and Michael Kramer, president of New Downtown Democrats. Below: A map of the newly created Tenth Congressional District, which Ms. Niou is seeking to represent—a catchment that includes Lower Manhattan south of 14th Street, along with neighborhoods between Downtown Brooklyn and Sunset Park in King’s County.
In the wake of a decision about Congressional district lines announced last week by the court-appointed Special Master charged with drawing new, less partisan boundaries, State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou has announced her candidacy to represent Lower Manhattan in the United States House of Representatives. Ms. Niou is seeking to represent in Washington the newly created Tenth Congressional District, which includes Lower Manhattan (roughly below 14th Street) and parts of Kings County, stretching from Downtown Brooklyn, south to Sunset Park.
This was a last-minute decision by Ms. Niou, reflective of the political chaos unleashed by the redistricting process that was triggered by the 2020 Census. Although Ms. Niou had decided many months ago not to seek reelection to the Assembly, she had initially resolved to stand as a candidate for the New York State Senate. That decision was upended after multiple lawsuits challenged the district lines originally drawn by the New York State legislature, which a succession of courts ruled were illegally favorable to Democrats. This led to the appointment of Jonathan R. Cervas, a scholar at Carnegie Mellon University, whose research speciality is the intersection of politics and geography, as Special Master, with the authority to revise borders for New York’s Congressional and State Senate districts.
Among the decisions by Mr. Cevras was to eliminate the dividing line that has for decades separated Manhattan into a pair of Congressional districts—one on the West Side and one on the East Side, with the former spilling into Brooklyn and the latter reaching into Queens. In place of this demarcation, Mr. Cevras created a three districts that unify Manhattan east to west, but divide it north to south. The northernmost of these district crosses into the Bronx, while the middle district (roughly from 100th Street to 14th Street) is confined to Manhattan, and the southern catchment stretches into Brooklyn.
This new set of district lines has created political bedlam. Among other repercussions, it has pitted against one another two veteran members of Congress—Jerry Nadler and Caroline Maloney—who have served alongside each other, representing the East and West sides of Manhattan, for decades. They now are both vying to represent the newly created district that runs approximately from 14th to 100th Streets. The Special Master’s ruling has also meant that Lower Manhattan (represented by Mr. Nadler for 30 years) now has no incumbent member of Congress. This vacuum prompted Ms. Niou to abandon her State Senate bid and launch a campaign for the House of Representatives.
At her campaign kickoff, held Saturday in Columbus Park (in the heart of Chinatown), Ms. Niou was surrounded by more than 100 supporters. She began her announcement by noting, “I was the first Asian-American to represent Chinatown. For many of my constituents, this is the first time they have ever had a representative who can listen to them and speak to them in their own language.”
“Speaking up for and speaking out for those who have historically been silenced is fundamental to who I am and how I came to a life of activism and public service,” Ms. Niou continued. “I am an immigrant, or as Republicans would label me, a ‘replacer,’ or as my ID card said as a baby, an ‘alien.’”
“I ran for the Assembly six years ago to bring the fight for true equity and true justice to Albany,” she said. “I ran an uphill fight against machine politics and I won. I focused on the hard work of delivering on the progressive changes that my constituents asked for and that good conscience demands. Together we have achieved major victories, from protecting tenants rights to strengthening sexual harassment laws to protecting and expanding civil rights for victims of historic discrimination.”
“I stood up to corruption, stood up for all New Yorkers, even when fighting alone,” Ms. Niou said. “As we live through this ongoing pandemic and economic recovery, we are faced with the harsh fact that the gains from this recovery are not evenly spread. We have always been told that everyone is in the same boat in America, but the last few years have done a lot to show us that some folks are in yachts and other folks can barely stay afloat. The ultra-rich in America are making obscene amounts of money, and yet paying far less than their fair share in taxes. Corporations are making record profits while price-gouging working families in their moment of crisis. And while the rich thrive, New Yorkers who play by the rules and do everything asked of them, struggle to stay in their homes, barely able to keep the lights on.”
“We can do better,” Ms. Niou insisted. “We must do better. People’s live depend on our elected officials knowing who to fight and who to fight for. In Washington, we are in an existential fight for the future of our nation, for our bodies, for our rights. And the people we elect, the votes that we cast, the candidates that we chose will define whether our country returns to a path of progress and opportunity for everyone, or whether we descend into a dark and authoritarian place.”
“And this is why, after talking with my community, after talking with my family, and after talking with progressive leaders across the City, I am running to represent Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan in Congress,” Ms. Niou announced, which unleashed a sustain chorus of cheers and applause.
“We need a bold and progressive and unapologetic voice for our communities,” she said. “I am running to hold accountable the people who rigged our economy, trashed our environment, profiteered during the pandemic, and cheered on the rise of white supremacist violence, like what we saw in Buffalo.”
Ms. Niou joins a field of contenders for the Tenth Congressional seat that includes City Council member Carlina Rivera (representing the Lower East Side and Gramercy Park area) and former Mayor Bill de Blasio (whose Park Slope home is located within the Brooklyn portion of the newly created district). Mr. de Blasio earlier this year seriously considered running for Governor, and also flirted with the idea of running for Congress from a different version of the original (and now discarded) district map that united parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island. He eventually cancelled both campaigns before either had officially begun.
Back to the Store of the Future
Renowned Discounter Announces Return to Storied Temple of Commerce
The family behind the iconic shopping brand, Century 21, has announced that the Platonic ideal of off-priced luxury retail will return to its longtime sanctuary at 25 Church Street (between Cortland and Dey Streets) in the spring of next year.
The Aliment of Surprise
Trinity Church Responds to Rising Local Hunger with Compassion Meals Program
Trinity Church has resurrected its Compassion Meals program, which provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner to those in need, on a rotating schedule, six days per week.
Monday, May 23
Lily Pond, Rockefeller Park
Start your day by balancing your mind, body, and spirit during instructor guided meditation. Free.
Irish Hunger Memorial Plaza
Strengthen the whole body. The instructor will lead you in rhythmic movement and aerobics, balance and coordination exercises, as well as strength training. Free.
Young stewards explore the wondrous ecosystem of the Hudson River. Practice the skills required to operate a rod and reel and experience the thrill of catch-and-release fishing. Identify our native fish for data submission to research groups to help monitor the health of our local waters. Water testing and other fun projects will augment the study. Registration required, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, May 24
Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place
The region’s premier forum exploring the challenges of and solutions to climate change, sustaining a strong maritime industry and regional economy, equitable access at our waterfronts and to our shared waterways, and a healthier open-space environment. $50-$250.
6 River Terrace
Join in on the fun featuring easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography while working on your balance, coordination and range of motion. Free.
Play the popular strategy game while getting pointers and advice from an expert. For ages 5 and up (adults welcome).
Community Board 1 Full Board Meeting
Members of the public speak, elected officials give updates, and the Chairperson and all committees give reports.
Wednesday, May 25
Meet at the intersection of Broadway, Battery Place, and State Street
Join experienced birding guide Gabriel Willow on a walk through The Battery to observe the diversity of migrating birds that visit the park.
Rector Park East
Observe and sketch the human figure. Each week a model will strike short and long poses for participants to draw. An artist/educator will offer constructive suggestions and critique. Drawing materials provided. Free.
12:30pm – Meeting of the Board’s Investment Committee
2pm – Meeting of the Members of the Authority
Anyone wishing to participate in the public comment period should submit their comments via email to email@example.com
by no later than 5:30pm on the day prior to the meeting.
Draw in BPC’s verdant gardens. An artist/ educator will provide ideas and instruction. Materials provided. Free.
Rockefeller Park House
Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Bring your own mat. Free.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
First concert in a series of two evening concerts. The concerts will feature ten short musical pieces arranged by Polish political prisoners who were members of the men’s orchestra in the Auschwitz I camp. Using popular German hits of the 1930s and 40s, they arranged and orchestrated these tangos, waltzes, and foxtrots for a dance band that played Sunday concerts for the Auschwitz garrison near the camp commandant’s villa. The musical pieces were recently rediscovered in the archives of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. Led by conductor Oriol Sans, a University of Michigan student orchestra will perform the original musical pieces interspersed with lines, spoken by the singers, from testimonies and interviews with members of the Auschwitz I men’s orchestra after the war. Silent for more than seventy years, the voices and stirring melodies of those imprisoned at Auschwitz will be brought to life in the Museum’s Edmond J. Safra Hall. Free; suggested $10 donation.
In person at Trinity Church or online
On the eve of Ascension Day, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra perform an all-Bach concert conducted by Avi Stein. Exploring the full emotional range of the human experience, from anguish to elation and from despair to hope, Ascendit presents Bach’s Ascension Oratorio, Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, cantata Unser Mund sei voll Lachens, and motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied. Free.
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Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturday 11:30am-5pm, May through Thanksgiving
Eric Carle, author and illustrator of cherished children’s books, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, died one year ago on this day. Of special note to Downtowners: the South Street Seaport Museum recently opened a maritime-themed room of Eric Carle art, designed for children between the ages of 2 and 7 and their adults (more information here
Art by Eric Carle
1430 – Joan of Arc, a teenager who led armies to retake France from English domination, is captured. Exchanged to the English, she is put on trial and declared guilty of heresy by a pro-English bishop. A year later, on May 30, 1431, she is burned at the stake. In 1920, she is canonized.
1533 – The marriage of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon is annulled, not by the Pope but by Thomas Cranmer, the archbishop of Canterbury. Parliament then abolishes Papal authority in England and declares that Henry VIII (who had already secretly married Anne Boleyn), not the Pope (who would not agree to the annulment), was supreme head of the Church of England.
1536 – Pope Paul III installs Portugese inquisition
1568 – The Netherlands declare independence from Spain.
1785 – Benjamin Franklin announces his invention of bifocals
1845 – The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is formed, replacing a night watch system
1861 – Virginia citizens vote 3 to 1 in favor of secession from the Union
1862 – Battle at Front Royal, Virginia
1911 – The New York Public Library building at Fifth Avenue is dedicated by President Taft
1958 – Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward movement begins in China
1960 – Israel announces capture of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in Argentina
1977 – In the Watergate era, Supreme Court refuses to hear appeals from H. R. Halderman, John Ehrlichman and John Mitchell
2018 – Hamburg, Germany, is the first city to ban diesel cars on some roads
2019 – Prototype of a high-speed train that will float above the track, capable of traveling 370 miles per hour is unveiled by Chinese Railway Rolling Stock Corp.
1707 – Carolus Linnaeus, Swedish botanist and the Father of Taxonomy (d. 1778)
1875 – Alfred P. Sloan, long-time president/chairman of General Motors (d. 1966)
1908 – John Bardeen, physicist (transistor, Nobel 1956, 1972)
1910 – Artie Shaw, [Arthur Arshawsky], NYC, bandleader (Come’on my House)
1910 – Franz Jozef Kline, US expressionist painter
1928 – Rosemary Clooney, Kentucky, singer/paper towels spokeswoman
1951 – Anatoli Karpov, USSR, world chess champion
1498 – Girolamo Savonarola, dictator of Florence (1494-98), hanged at 45
1701 – William Kidd, Scottish pirate, hanged at London’s Execution Dock
1752 – William Bradford, English-born printer (b. 1663)
1868 – Kit Carson, American trapper, scout, and Indian agent (b. 1809)
1934 – Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, outlaws, killed in police ambush
1937 – John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist and philanthropist, 97
2015 – John Nash, mathematician, 1994 Nobel Prize for Economics laureate for work on game theory, subject of the movie A Brilliant Mind, 86.
2017 – Roger Moore, actor who played James Bond
2021 – Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other children’s books