Winners & Losers

This week’s biggest Winners & Losers

Who’s up and who’s down this week?

We’re only one month into 2021 and it already feels like a decade. Portents of doom and salvation swirl around New York – will our year align with the joyous wonder of a snowy owl descending on Central Park for the first time since 1890? Or will it go down like a barge filled with Gowanus Canal sludge sinking into the Gowanus Bay? Only time, and close monitoring of each week’s Winners and Losers, will tell.

WINNERS:

Mohamed Attia -

Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s nothing more New York than dirty water dogs, street meat, and that guy selling little yellow cabs on the Brooklyn Bridge. Attia’s Street Vendor Project advocates for them all, and thinks they deserve just as much overregulation from the city as every other small business. The City Council – led by Manhattan’s Margaret Chin – finally agreed, and passed the long-awaited bill lifting the cap on street vendor permits and creating a dedicated enforcement unit. Another squeeze of white sauce to celebrate!

Daniel Kane Jr. -

The Teamsters Local 202 president saw workers from the Hunts Point Produce Market strike for – and win – a boost in salary and health care benefits after months of toiling during the pandemic. Supporters of the increasesaid the requested dollar-an-hour raise was “not a lot to ask for.” Management eventually agreed ... after, y’know, a seven-day walkout and a public lambasting from AOC.

Andrew Rigie -

It seemed like just as soon as Gov. Andrew Cuomo allowed New York City restaurants to start indoor dining again last year, he ended it again in December. But at long last – after permitting it literally everywhere else in the state – Cuomo said he’s considering a return to 25% indoor capacity in the Big Apple. That’s a big shift from just a few days ago, when the guv said Gothamites would remain relegated to the harsh elements. As executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, Andrew Rigie has been craving this news for weeks, so Cuomo’s new attitude is exactly what he ordered.

LOSERS:

Andrew Cuomo -

The governor recently spoke on cable news about how “incompetent government” led to COVID-19 deaths. Wonder if he’ll have anything to say to CNN about state Attorney General Letitia James’ damning report about his own government. James put the Cuomo administration on blast, finding that the state is undercounting COVID-19 nursing home deaths by as much as 50%. State health officials have for months refused to release more data on the pandemic’s devastating effect on nursing homes, while Cuomo denied responsibility for the deaths we know about. When she was elected, there was some speculation – including in the pages of City & State – about whether James would be sufficiently independent of Cuomo. No one is asking that any longer.

Gabriel Plotkin -

Can't stop, won't stop, GameStop was the mantra of the week – except, of course, for Melvin Capital founder Gabriel Plotkin. The New York City-based hedge fund made major bets by attempting to short the video game vendor, hoping to gain from its stock price going down. But those plans were thwarted by a group of average Joes on Reddit, who drove up GameStop's stock to astronomical levels. The push has left Melvin Capital with billions of dollars in losses while onlookers cheer on the little guys profiting at its expense. 

Janet Sabel -

The Legal Aid Society took on an ambitious lawsuit last fall to ensure New York City provides separate hotel rooms to homeless New Yorkers throughout the pandemic. But a judge just ruled that the city wasn't obligated to do that, arguing that there was no "competent medical" evidence that group shelters significantly raise the risk of getting COVID-19. You’d think that cramming people together indoors would be the very definition of COVID-19 risk, but the decision deals a major blow to the advocacy organization and its attorney-in-chief and CEO, Janet Sabel.

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