SoHo and The New Politics

”I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy — but that could change.”

— Dan Quayle

Rather than pretend to understand the new political realities, here’s a missive from Sean Sweeney, the Godfather of SoHo politics. We rarely communicate. Sort of like the fact that I ate at the Broome Street Bar beginning in 1972 but only spoke to Ken or Bob once or twice in fifty years. I knew we got along because The Lofty Times, a magazine I published in 1977 was in “the book” kept behind the bar — allowing us to cash a check any time. Artist George Kokines poured drinks in those days. And Bob Bolles would knock a few down before heading over to work on his iron sculptures.

The following outline gives you a good idea about voting if you’re a Democrat. If you’re a Republican, my apologies. You’ll have to head out to the Hamptons.

Redistricting has placed SoHo/NoHo in brand-new Congressional and State Senate districts. 

Jerry Nadler will no longer represent SoHo and Carolyn Maloney will no longer represent parts of NoHo. Twelve candidates are vying to replace them. There is also a competitive race in the new State Senate district. 

Folk have been asking the SoHo Alliance for advice. We tell them the SoHo Alliance is non-partisan, but whoever wins the Democratic primary here invariably gets the office. Our politically-active neighbors in Downtown Independent Democrats (DID) have issued their analysis, a detailed two-page Voters Guide. Access and read it here

DID Endorses Jo Anne Simon for Congress & Vittoria Fariello for State Senate. 

Ms. Simon represents northwest Brooklyn in the State Assembly, where she has excelled in passing legislation on education, gun violence prevention, gender equity, paid family leave, equal pay for equal work, and voting reform, to list a few.

Assemblymember Simon is equally effective as a passionate community advocate for her district, having first-hand experience with rezoning — battling against displacement and for maximum affordable housing.

Jo Anne fought to save the Long Island College Hospital, demanded more affordable housing in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yard development, secured the city’s first traffic-calming study, and worked with her community to clean up the toxic Gowanus Canal.

There are other leading candidates. 

Yuh-Line Niou represents the Lower East Side and lower Manhattan in the State Assembly. She is a staunch progressive who listens to and works with the community and her constituents.

When redistricting saw suburban upstate first-term congressman Mondaire Jones in danger of losing his seat, he moved into our district in June. Jones has been a congressman for only one year and a neighbor for just one summer. There are more experienced candidates.

The lead lawyer in the Trump impeachment, Daniel Goldman, has Washington experience but little local. Although a TriBeCa resident for fifteen years, he has not been involved in local issues. Without a record, we have no idea how he would perform if elected.

City Councilmember Carlina Rivera:

– Led the fight to upzone SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown along with Margaret Chin — who has endorsed her.

– Pushed the $100 square-foot conversion fee to convert from JLWQA (artist housing) to straight residential use, a use-change fee imposed on no other neighborhood in the city.

– Voted to impose a Draconian recurring $25,000 fine on her own constituents who were not “certified” artists, which Mayor Adams fortunately vetoed.

– Supports the destruction of our beloved Elizabeth Street Garden.

DID endorses Jo Anne Simone for Congress.


DID Endorses Vittoria Fariello for State Senate.

Vittoria Fariello is challenging the incumbent, Brian Kavanagh. Mr. Kavanagh is a seasoned legislator but many say it is time for change: time for a representative who will engage and stand with our downtown community to find creative solutions to complex problems. Such a person is Vittoria Fariello.  

A downtown resident for 25 years, a public-service attorney and mother of four, Fariello serves as a local Democratic district leader. She is quick to challenge the maneuverings of the Manhattan political machine. Fariello changed party rules that allowed party bosses to abuse their power and she sued the party boss when he tried to disenfranchise grassroots activists. 

Vittoria began her public-service career as a community organizer, working with public-assistance recipients who had their benefits threatened by the Giuliani administration. She has worked with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and served in the Immigration Unit of the Legal Aid Society. 

Vittoria has been a leader of the Coalition for a 100% Affordable 5 World Trade Center, with preference for 9/11 survivors and first responders. She has pledged to fight for universal health care for all New Yorkers, full funding of the Environmental Bond Act, Green New Deal for New York, installation of offshore turbines, and a Green New Deal for New York. 

Christopher Marte has also endorsed Fariello, declaring “Vittoria Fariello unequivocally stands with the working people of Lower Manhattan. I’ve been with Vittoria on picket lines and at protests. Vittoria doesn’t waver from a fight and has impressed me with her commitment to the urgent needs of her future constituents.” 


Early voting begins next Saturday, August 13 through Sunday, August 21 at St. Anthony’s church basement on Houston Street. Find precise days and times here.  

Election day is Tuesday, August 23. Find your poll site here

If you cannot vote in person, get your absentee ballot here

Turnout will be very low. Your vote is tremendously important.


Sincerely, Sean Sweeney, Director, SoHo Alliance, PO Box 429, New York, NY 10012


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