Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of April 26, 2018

Harvey Epstein, center, celebrated his win in the Assembly District 74 election at dba Tuesday night, with state Senator Brad Hoylman, left, and Councilmember Keith Powers. The East Side district stretches from the Lower East Side up to the United Nations.

Epstein romps: Although the result was never really in doubt, Harvey Epstein handily won the special election for the 74th District on Tuesday. Running on the Democratic and Working Families Party lines, he nabbed 90 percent of the vote versus three other candidates. The Republican got about 5 percent, while the Green and Reform candidates each took around 2 percent. Afterward the results had rolled in, Epstein and his supporters partied at David McWater’s dba on First Ave. He thanked his wife, Anita, for putting up with “a really tough six months,” warning, “It’s gonna get worse!” In his victory statement, he said, “I am incredibly humbled and honored by the trust the people of Manhattan’s East Side have placed in me to be their representative in Albany. From the beginning, it was important for me to build a campaign that was rooted in the community, for the community. I’m proud of the broad coalition we were able to create — one that is reflective of our progressive values. I am eager to hit the ground running to address the many challenges that remain ahead of us and I’m committed as ever to working toward a brighter future for all New Yorkers.” Among the fellow pols heaping praise on Epstein at dba were Public Advocate Letitia James, Assemblymember Brad Hoylman and new City Councilmember Keith Powers. “There’s something special about Harvey,” James told the crowd. “He won’t be afraid to get his hands dirty, and speak truth to power. And he understands that the number one issue is that the rent is too goddamn high! We need a champion in Albany,” James declared. “This man is going to lead the way. He’s gonna put a spotlight on all the issues you love and care about.” Thoroughly riled up, the progressive crowd erupted in cheers of “Harvey! Harvey! Harvey!” He could a face a Democratic primary in September and, of course, there will be the general election in November. Asked his take on Epstein’s win, McWater — who, like Epstein, is a former chairperson of Community Board 3 — said, “I think Harvey winning will be a win for the district. He’s got tremendous knowledge of how things work, and he’s in it for the right reason — he cares.”

Not contant not working: We were voting Tuesday in the special election for the 74th Assembly District, when we realized the poll worker at our electoral-district table handing us the manila “sleeve” with our ballot inside looked familiar. That distinctive white mane of hair — wait a second?… We bent closer to look at his nametag. Yup, it was none other than Bob Contant, former co-owner of St. Mark’s Bookshop. He told us that since the East Village store closed for good two years ago, he’s been working elections to make some extra cash. Basically, he’s been looking for a job, in bookstores, but no one’s hiring. “When they see my age…I’m 75,” he said. He’s not a writer, so he’s not planning to write a book. Right now, he said, he’s basically living on Social Security. He and his wife have mulled leaving New York City in search of a more affordable lifestyle. She has property in Florida they could sell, but after all is said and done, it wouldn’t yield that much money. Plus, he added, disapprovingly “Florida is where you go to die.” Basically, he said, when you’ve lived half of your life in New York City, like he has, “nothing else compares.” He’s been in touch with the owners of Shakespeare & Co., who are opening a new bookstore in the Village, and is holding out hope of landing a job with them.

The point of no return: We hear from Tom Connor that he has not been put back on the State Liquor Authority Committee of Community Board 2. As we previously reported, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who oversees the borough’s community boards, told us she spoke to Terri Cude, the C.B. 2 chairperson, and expressed to her — we assume it was maybe a bit stronger than a nudge — that Connor should be on the committee. However, Connor told us this week, “I am still waiting to be returned to the S.L.A. Committee. I have not heard from anyone.” Our article on the C.B. 2 “alcohol problem” and the flap over Connor was accurate for the most part, one board member told us. However, she said the part where it said that Connor is the board’s only gay man is not true. Indeed, as Joe Gallagher, a member of the board, posted in a reader comment: “Where do I go to register as a gay member of C.B. 2 Manhattan?” He added that he is “out and proud but was never surveyed for this article.” Sorry! Hey, that was what we were told by people who really should know better, including a few people who were quoted extensively in the article! Anyway, we are sticking to our statement that the board only has three lesbian members — until someone corrects us, that is!

Doors of misperception: Chelsea Hotel scribe Ed Hamilton notes there has been something missing from the reports on the auction of the place’s historic doors — namely, why the historic portals were all white and spray-painted with circles and such. “There is one part of the story that nobody is covering,” he told us. “The doors were whitewashed by the developer. People seem to think that the doors looked crappy and that’s why they were thrown out. The developers whitewashed and marked the doors so they would know which rooms to demolish.”

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