New York City

De Blasio for president, Williams pipeline blocked and Pantaleo on trial

De Blasio for president, Williams pipeline blocked and Pantaleo on trial, and more in this week's political headline round up.

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks on Thursday, May 16, 2019.

Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks on Thursday, May 16, 2019. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography

Can an airport terminal be sexy? The notion baffled Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the ribbon-cutting of the new TWA Hotel at JFK Airport. The hotel’s developer, Tyler Morse, referred to it as “sexy,” and Cuomo couldn’t let the comment go. “I can’t refer to a terminal as a sexy terminal,” he told the crowd, before riffing into bizarre territory.

“Is it a male terminal? Is it a female terminal? What’s the sexual orientation of the terminal? How do you touch the terminal?” Let’s hope we never get answers to any of those questions.

De Blaz for prez 

After months of speculation, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced his presidential bid, making him the 23rd Democrat vying to challenge President Donald Trump. Following the release a short campaign video, which touted his accomplishments like universal pre-K and a $15 minimum wage, de Blasio broke the news during a brief appearance on “Good Morning America” on Thursday with his wife Chirlane McCray. He framed his campaign as one waged for working people and dubbed the president “Con Don.” After making the announcement, de Blasio jetted off to South Carolina and Iowa to make his pitch to the rest of the country.

Fur fight gets wild

The New York City Council heard from proponents and opponents of a proposed fur ban during a long and contentious hearing on Wednesday. Among the anti-fur activists at City Hall was celebrity fashion designer Tim Gunn, who testified that the fashion industry has a troubled history with fur, and more designers refuse to work with it. Animal rights activists also showed graphic videos to help make their point about the animal cruelty. Members of the fur industry, however, said the ban would costs thousands of jobs and that measures could be passed to ensure that the fur being used is humane and sustainable.

Pantaleo on trial 

NYPD officers.
Christopher Penler/Shutterstock

The disciplinary trial of NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who is accused of using an illegal chokehold during a deadly confrontation with Eric Garner five years ago, has finally begun. A grand jury already decided not to indict Pantaleo for Garner’s death, but he still faces possible police disciplinary action. A police official and a medical examiner testified that Pantaleo did use a chokehold while subduing Garner, a move that the NYPD has prohibited for years. The prosecution rested after three days of testimony.

Grodenchik gets punished

New York City Councilman Barry Grodenchik admitted to sexually harassing a City Council staffer for over a year, including giving her unwanted hugs and kisses. He will enroll in sexual harassment training on his own dime and he also relinquished his chairmanship of the Parks and Recreation Committee. However, women’s groups don’t think his punishment goes far enough and are calling on Grodenchik to resign.

Williams pipeline goes down the drain 

A 3D rendering of a subsea pipeline.
Vismar UK/Shutterstock

The state Department of Environmental Conservation decided late Wednesday to reject a contentious new pipeline that would have connected natural gas fields in Pennsylvania to downstate New York. Energy companies warned that they might impose a gas moratorium on Long Island and New York City without the new pipeline, while environmental advocates argued that building new infrastructure to bring natural gas into the state runs counter to New York’s goal to increase its reliance on renewable energy sources.

MTA brought to court over accessibility

Disability advocates filed a major lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, charging that by making major subway renovations without adding elevators, the agency is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit aims to get a court order requiring all station renovations to include accessibility alternatives, as well as a declaration that the MTA’s failures to include them in past renovations is unlawful. The move comes after the ruling in a similar but narrower lawsuit regarding the renovation of a Bronx subway station.