Skip to Content
Morning Spew

Never Underestimate a NIMBY

A low-turnout election underscored a few pithy truisms.

9:20 AM EST on November 8, 2023

A lovely day at Gansevoort.

(Hell Gate)

Not many people voted on Tuesday—just 557,000 New Yorkers out of the 5.1 million registered voters citywide cast ballots on Election Day and in early voting. But if there are any pithy lessons to be drawn from these low-turnout contests (aside from how it's good to be an incumbent), they might be: Never underestimate the power of NIMBYism, switch parties at your own peril, and Long Island is no longer Strong Island for Democrats.

Some key races for your consideration:

Republican Kristy Marmorato defeated incumbent City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez in the Bronx by just 708 votes, thanks to Marmorato's campaign that was almost entirely based on opposing the Bruckner Boulevard rezoning and the hundreds of apartments (many for veterans and seniors) that are now going up as a result. Velázquez was initially against the project, then was for it, but it was too late—Marmorato mobilized just enough NIMBY East Bronx homeowners and now she'll be the first Republican to represent the Bronx since 1983.

In Brooklyn, incumbent City Councilmember Justin Brannan handily defeated incumbent City Councilmember Ari Kagan, who had refashioned himself as an anti-choice MAGA Republican after redistricting meant that both of the men represented portions of the new South Brooklyn district. Hell Gate reported on the bad blood between the former allies earlier this year. But in recent days, things had gotten much, much worse, courtesy of the shambolic Brooklyn Democratic Party, whose chair, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, resurfaced years-old and litigated-and-settled claims involving Brannan in an email blast to Democrats. That email was then used by Kagan (a Republican!) in the final hours of the campaign, in an attempt to smear Brannan. It didn't work, and now Brannan has all but vowed vengeance against Bichotte Hermelyn. "We're not going to forget our friends and we're certainly not going to forget those who tried to bring us down," Brannan told his supporters on Tuesday night at his victory party. "She's gotta go," Brannan remarked to reporters afterwards, referring to the head of the Brooklyn Dems. What a fucking mess.

Democrat Susan Zhuang also easily prevailed over Republican Ying Tan and Conservative Party candidate Vito LaBella, in a newly drawn, Asian-majority South Brooklyn district, complicating the narrative that Asian American, and specifically Chinese American voters, are swinging toward the Republican Party. Zhuang told her supporters last night that she'll be the first ever Chinese councilmember from Brooklyn.

In Queens, incumbent City Councilmember Vickie Paladino coasted to victory over Democrat Tony Avella (yes, there was a conga line). Perhaps it is time for Queens Democrats to run someone other than Tony Avella?

On Long Island, Republican Ed Romaine defeated Democrat David Calone to become the first Republican Suffolk County executive in two decades. Republicans now have almost total control over both Long Island counties' operations.

And Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated "Central Park Five," won his election to represent Harlem in the City Council.

Please elect to read these links:

  • In Virginia, Democrats won control over both chambers of the legislature, dashing hopes by Republican Governor and Sweater-Vest-in-Chief Glenn Youngkin that he could turn the whole state red and thus be worthy of the presidential primary.
  • Nationally, Republicans in states where abortion rights dominated campaigns did poorly
  • This "concession" from the Republican who lost to incumbent Manhattan City Councilmember Keith Powers perhaps suggests that they do not understand what that word means.
  • WeWork is declaring bankruptcy and a whole lotta commercial leases in New York City are getting terminated.
  • Will Governor Kathy Hochul finally recognize New York's Montaukett Indian Nation more than 100 years after its rights were stripped away?
  • Mayor Eric Adams is not attending the big annual political confab in Puerto Rico known as SOMOS this week, so all of the staffers and politicians making their way to San Juan can gossip with ease. The mayor IS holding a press conference today at 11 a.m. Wonder what will come up?
  • Can the litigation between Robert De Niro and his former assistant get any funnier? Yes, yes it can.
  • Ivanka Trump is in town, and she's here to testify in the AG's case against her dad and brothers.
  • NYCHA won't ban e-bikes, but will limit them to one per household, and won't allow charging stations and repair shops.
Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Give us your email address to keep reading two more articles for free

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

An Oral History of SIN Club, The Coolest Venue on the Lower East Side for Six Months in 1983

From its adventurous booking policy to its quasi-legal status, "Safety In Numbers" was something special—and then the cops shut it down.

December 8, 2023

FDNY ‘Training’ Included Breaking This Guy’s Door Then Laughing About It

"This was not an emergency situation. They do not have the right to break open doors because they feel like it."

December 8, 2023

Trust Fund Kids, Crust Punks and a Neo-Nazi: Sean Price Williams on His Directorial Debut

Williams talks "The Sweet East," moving from cinematography to directing, and why he thinks movies made with union labor aren’t very fun.

December 7, 2023

‘We Are Taking Names of People Who Did Not Support Israel’: Dark Money Mobilizes to Oust NY Progressives

Political action committees backed by pro-Israel donors are ramping up efforts to oust NY progressives they see as being on the wrong side of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

December 7, 2023

Eric Adams’s Toilet Poll

Adams has a 28 percent approval rating, and more news for your Thursday.

December 7, 2023
See all posts