What is it about New York City politics that fascinates you?
The sheer variety and complexity of the New York City political game – the players, the stakes, the strategies, the rules. The fools and knaves and the dedicated public stewards. The neighborhoods and their almost ever-changing racial, ethnic, religious makeup, their cultures, their cuisines. Their conflicts and conundrums.
I’ve been lucky – with both the “dumb” and “residue of design” varieties (mostly the dumb) – to have seen and experienced NYC, NYS, and local, national politics and government from four perspectives: as an academic political scientist; as a participant/policy maker/consultant in politics and government; as a news pollster, analyst, and commentator; and as a three-time local elected official. A sort of Joni Mitchell squared.
How do you think New York, New York fits within the framework of New York State’s politics today versus the past?
Really quite similar: New York City contributes about 40% of the statewide vote. It dominates the NYS Assembly – and its Speaker generally are New York City residents and will likely come to strongly influence the New York State Senate. Statewide officials have long come primarily from NYC.
What courses will you be teaching next semester?
None. On sabbatical for Academic Year 2015-16, preparing a book “Silent City: The Reel American City Before Movies Talked” and an article for Urban Affairs Review on the American urban underclass.
Hope to teach a Feit Seminar in Fall 2016, “Bloody Murder” with Professor Thomas Halper of the Political Science Department. And resume my teaching at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and Macaulay Honors College.
Can you tell us more about your new book and the Urban Affairs Review article?
The book will examine the images and representations of the American city in silent movies from three angles: the content of the films;the intentions of the filmmakers; and how the film was received by critics and the public.
The piece I'm preparing for Urban Affairs Review, “The American UrbanBasement: Wither the Underclass” is a continuation of long-conducted research and writing on the American urban underclass, including two articles for the Review.