Lo and behold, even on iPhone Tuesday, some folks remembered to vote in the primaries — though from what we saw, not all that many. Around 9 a.m. today, we spotted City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez on the corner of East 12th Street and First Avenue, entering the home stretch of her race against her Harley-riding challenger Rick Del Rio. We know this much: she got the vote of State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, who tweeted about some “confusion in Stuy Town” that “sent voters to a nonexistent poll site.”
There were hiccups in the East Village as well, as the entrance to Theater for the New City was swarmed not by voters, as it was during the presidential election (today they merely trickled in) but by actual bees. To make matters worse(?), Pedro Martinez, a worker at the site, said the location was using those pesky old machines rather than the new computerized ones, because in the event of a runoff they are easier to reset.
Some of the Williamsburg and Greenpoint voters who trickled into Williamsburg Charter School, just north of McCarren Park, got their feathers ruffled by a broken lever machine and news that they couldn’t vote on primary day unless they were registered specifically as a Republican or a Democrat.
Over in Bushwick, things were quiet at the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, the longtime home base of Vito Lopez, who’s up against Antonio Reynoso in the City Council race. By 2 p.m., only about 75 people had come through to cast their vote. This despite the center’s seemingly prime location on a bustling Bushwick avenue, a convenient handful of blocks away from the J and M trains.
The few who did drop in to vote were decidedly mum about their decisions, but one Bushwick resident, Columbus Smith, took some time to explain them. His thoughts, below, are followed by more from the Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents who stopped and chatted.
COLUMBUS SMITH, Democrat, 74
Occupation: Retired, but worked in food services at Woodhull Medical Center Voted for: Bill de Blasio for Mayor, Scott Stringer for Comptroller
Biggest concern: Access to health care for senior citizens
And another thing: Smith believes that society should take better care of its elder citizens, but, somewhat ironically, he is willing to endorse a candidate who is “younger” in terms of experience. Referring to de Blasio, he said, “With new people in office, if you give them a chance, they may show you something you really need.”
STUART GOLD, unaffiliated voter who was unable to vote.
Occupation: Jeweler (his last name really is gold!)
Would’ve voted for: de Blasio.
Biggest concern: While normally more into national politics, Gold had read The Nation’s endorsement of de Blasio and believed he was the “epitome of giving a voice to [income] inequality” in New York City.
And another thing: He’ll now register as a Democrat in order to vote in future primaries, even though his initial decision not to register with any party was a “little bit of a protest” against the standard party lines.
ASHOK BHALLA, 37, unaffiliated
Occupation: Broadcast radio announcer
Would’ve voted for: Weiner. “He has no chance in hell but I like the guy,” said Bhalla.
Biggest concern: Bhalla wants “a guy who’s into common people issues” — as opposed to what Bloomberg became in his third term. “I voted for Bloomberg every time, but I didn’t realize he was going to turn into a corporate nut job.”
And another thing: Born and raised in Manhattan, Bhalla moved to North Brooklyn in 2008 (he now owns in Greenpoint) because the Williamsburg and Greenpoint re-zoning overseen by Bloomberg in 2005 included huge tax incentives for moves there. “I’m paying a few hundred bucks [in taxes] for fifteen years due to the tax abatement, instead of thousands.”
NICK THORN, Democrat
Occupation: Antique and art auction business
Voted for: de Blasio for mayor, Stephen Levin for City Council, Letitia James for Public Advocate
Biggest concern: With two young children, education.
And another thing: Thorn said he didn’t research a ton on his own, but generally followed the recommendation sent out by his older child’s school, PS 84.
JOEL DEITZ, Democrat
Occupation: Creative director
Voted for: de Blasio for Mayor, Daniel Squadron for Public Advocate, Scott Stringer for Comptroller
Biggest concern: He chose candidates based on an “overall take of personality and leadership.”
And another thing: Deitz lamented that he, too, was a victim of the broken lever machine, and had to vote on the equivalent of an absentee paper ballot.
WINSTON KELLY Democrat, 40
Occupation: Woodworker and musician
Voted for: Bill Thompson
Biggest concern: Affordable housing, land use zoning, transportation
And another thing: Kelly didn’t vote for de Blasio because he believes his tactics of taxing the rich is not a viable Democratic platform to stand on; whereas Thompson, he thinks, is willing to be more pragmatic and work with “the establishment.”
PEG BRYANT, Democrat
Occupation: registered nurse who works in pharmaceuticals
Voted for: de Blasio for Mayor, Stringer for Comptroller, Squadron for Public Advocate, Stephen Pierson for City Council “because he seems like a cool guy and he’s not the incumbent.”
Biggest concern: “Bloomberg was his own entity; I’m looking for someone distinctly different with a totally progressive mindset.”
MATT DEISNER, 30, our brave Republican, who declined to be photographed
Occupation: Tech sales
Voted for: Non-specified Republican mayoral candidate
And another thing: Public union renegotiations, stop and frisk.
Wild card: “I only became interested in politics recently. I decided to become Republican because they are fiscally more responsible.”
Reporting by Tamerra Griffin, Natalie Rinn, and Megan Soll