It’s a good thing that the primary for the New York City mayor’s race wasn’t scheduled for June–at least for voters in Bayside, Queens.
Residents of the neighborhood, located near the eastern end of Queens, still seem to know little about the candidates who are running to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and they know even less about the race for public advocate, city comptroller or even for the local New York City Council seat. The primary is scheduled for September.
“Right now they’re kind of weeding out a lot of people,” said George Finny, one of a number of Queens residents interviewed on Monday on a street corner at the intersection of Bell Boulevard and 48th Avenue. “A lot of people who have voiced an interest probably won’t be there at the end.”
Finny, who is in his 40s and works in construction, said he leaned towards voting for New York City Comptroller John Liu, one of the Democratic candidates, because he has been effective with the Chinese community in Flushing. He said that education and taxes would be important issues, but he would have to wait and see the concrete plans of the top candidates.
“I think it’s too early to tell,” he said. “I might vote for John. As comptroller he’s been fine.”
Another man in his 30s who only gave his name as Austin struggled to come up with the names of more than a couple of candidates. “You have Weiner … you have another gentlemen … Liu?” he said. “There is a total of five, right? Or six? So there’s Quinn, Weiner, Liu … I don’t know who the other ones are.”
Austin said he knew very little about any of the candidates, other than that there had been some bad news about Anthony Weiner and John Liu. Still, he said he plans to vote, as long as he can get away from his job in finance on Election Day and make the time to get to the polls.
Like many residents, he also struggled to come up with any issues that would be important to him when he takes a closer look at the candidates later this year. He did say that he voted for Bloomberg in the last cycle, citing his ability to “get things done” and various initiatives, such as banning smoking.
One middle-aged woman who declined to give her name complained about the noise of airplanes landing at La Guardia International Airport.
“I wouldn’t vote again,” she said, “because what are the politicians doing for me?”
Joe Baccarella, another local resident in Bayside, said he didn’t like Bloomberg as mayor or Quinn as his potential successor, but he said that didn’t know of any other candidates in the race. When asked what issues would be key for him in the race, he said that he wanted to see more restriction on immigration.
“I think they let too many people into the country these days,” he said. “I feel like a tourist on my own street.”