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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by Nuclear Matters: DE BLASIO and QUINN's holiday moment -- ALBANY's brutal centerpiece turns 50 -- NEW state dog

12/24/2015 07:20 AM EDT

By Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, Jimmy Vielkind in Albany, and Mike Allen in D.C., with Daniel Lippman

BACK AT IT -- Two years after running against each other, Quinn and de Blasio join forces -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: Former mayoral candidate Christine Quinn plans on giving Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration an earful about how it should go about fixing the city's spiraling homelessness crisis as the mayor's team works to put fixes in place and control the perception that de Blasio was slow to respond to the problem.

The two former political rivals gathered in public Wednesday for the first time since the mayoral election at Women In Need (WIN), a nonprofit Quinn now runs serving homeless women and their families. WIN is the largest provider of shelter and permanent housing to homeless families in the city, totaling 11 shelters in four boroughs and 250 units of supportive housing. The organization serves more than 4,700 people each night, including 2,700 children. Before speaking with reporters about what City Hall and providers like WIN are doing to help reverse the rising rates of homelessness, the mayor and the former City Council speaker handed out Christmas presents to children in the facility's daycare center, posing for cameras.

Just how closely does Quinn, in her new role, plan to work with de Blasio? -- "You could not work more closely," Quinn told reporters. "Look, since I took this job seven weeks ago, I want to be very clear and thank the mayor - I have been given nothing but the highest levels of access to every person that I need to talk. We are getting immediate call backs, commissioners, deputy commissioners everything we need," Quinn said.

-- New York Observer headline: "Bill de Blasio Turns to Former Rival Christine Quinn on Homelessness" -

-- Daily News headline: "Bill de Blasio teams up with former foe Christine Quinn to fight homelessness" -

OUT AND ABOUT -- "Clintons toast Chelsea's pregnancy with some very old bubbly," by Post's Ian Mohr: "Bill and Hillary Clinton celebrated news of their second grandchild at '21,' where spies said Bill asked the maître d' to unearth a bottle of bubbly the couple left there to chill in 1997. We're told the Clintons arrived at the storied restaurant with daughter Chelsea, son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky and Marc's parents on Monday - the night before Chelsea tweeted that she's expecting her second child. A regular at '21' told Page Six, 'The Clintons asked [general manager] Teddy Suric to go to the wine cellar and check on a magnum of Cristal from 1997, when Chelsea was 17. They'd said, "Keep it on ice for when we come back!" ' They were ready for the bubbly 18 years later. ... Bill joked of the Champagne, 'If it's not good, we'll get another one.' It's been a tradition at the restaurant that VIPs can stash wines for special occasions, historically including the collections of JFK, Richard Nixon, Elizabeth Taylor, Ernest Hemingway and Frank Sinatra."

ALBANY'S OZ COMPLEX - Jimmy Vielkind in POLITICO New York magazine: How do you mark the anniversary of an office complex that erased a neighborhood, displaced thousands of people, and is, at best, begrudged by the city around it? Albany is confronting that very question this autumn as the Empire State Plaza, the white marble fortress of bureaucracy attached to the State Capitol, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the laying of its cornerstone. Originally called the South Mall, the complex was the brainchild of former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (whose name, officially, it bears) and was erected as urban renewal and modernist planning reached their peak in American cities. It simultaneously sapped and stabilized the capital city's core. It is a permanent anchor for more than 10,000 jobs and a massive civic gathering place, but it is also a dead zone dividing the business district from residences and discouraging pedestrian access of any kind.

TABS -- News: "GUTS VS. NUTS: Unafraid of Jihadi Wayne and NRA, NBA stars take aim at gun scourge with new ads" -- Post: "MAD MAMA: Madonna asks judge to force her son home for Christmas" -- Metro: "WILD WILD WEST" -- Hamodia: "Lawmakers Call for Return of Express F Train to South Brooklyn" and "Midwood Lawmaker Defends Ramapo-Slavery Comparison" -- Epoch Times: Republicans, Administration Spar on Visa Travel for Iran" -- El Diario [translated]: They meet the miracle

FRONT PAGES: NYT, 1-col. below the fold: "Clinton Turns Trump's Taunts Into Potent Lure" -- WSJNY, 4-col. above the fold: "More Food Halls Planned"

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We did not exchange cards, but this is a time of good will toward everyone." ~ Bill de Blasio on Cuomo.

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We actually did send the mayor a Christmas card this year, as we have in the past," -- Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi, via News' Erin Durkin:

EXPLAINER OF THE DAY: Why lawmakers send statements about holidays, via NYO's Jillian Jorgensen:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Robert John Burck, aka, The Naked Cowboy, is 45:

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Providing more than 61 percent of New York's carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals. New York's nuclear energy fleet supports about 18,000 jobs and provides $2.5 billion to the state's GDP. Learn more at **

NEW YORK GETS A STATE DOG - Gannett's Jon Campbell: "The 'working dog' will soon become the official state canine. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Wednesday that designates service dogs - canines that are trained to assist the blind or otherwise disabled - as New York's official dog, the latest in a long line of state symbols that range from the state muffin (apple) to the state reptile (snapping turtle). But in his approval message, Cuomo said the bill was unintentionally narrow: It was meant to include all dogs that are trained to assist people, including veterans and first responders. So he and lawmakers have agreed to pass an amendment next year expanding the law to designate the 'working dog' as the official New York dog, Cuomo said."

CRIMINAL JUSTICE GROUP WALKS BACK REMARKS - POLITICO New York's Josefa Velasquez: The state's Correctional Association on Wednesday issued a press release critical of Cuomo's executive order removing minors from the state's prison system, but quickly walked it back after receiving a call from the administration. In a press release, the group's leadership said it was "disappointed" and "dismayed" at Cuomo's decision to remove minors from the state's prison system but to keep them under the supervision of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. POLITICO New York reached out to Cuomo's office for a response. Moments later, Soffiyah Elijah, the executive director of the CA, returned a call saying that she had been in contact with Cuomo's counsel, who asked that the organization's position be clarified. "I just got off the phone with [Cuomo counsel] Alphonso David and I wanted to clarify," said Elijah.

REPLACING RANGEL -- NY-13 is 'wide open': polling memo -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: The race to replace Rep. Charles Rangel is "wide open" because none of the major candidates is widely known or strongly liked outside of the smaller, legislative districts they currently represent, according to a write-up of a poll commissioned by one candidate, Clyde Williams.

The poll of 500 Democratic primary voters took place between Dec. 1 and 3, and was conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group - the pollsters who crunched numbers for Barack Obama's presidential campaigns. A Dec. 19 memo written by Benenson pollster Danny Franklin was provided to POLITICO New York. The full poll - including the full list of questions asked, and the exact wording used to elicit responses - was not available for review.

-- As expected, Williams - a former political director for the Democratic National Committee who previously worked for former president Bill Clinton - has lower name recognition in the poll than the other major candidates ... The pollster also wrote, "Despite being far behind Espaillat, Perkins and Wright initially, he [Williams] closes the gap on favorability after voters hear short bio statement about each."

-- "70% of voters said they would be 'very concerned' about any candidate who was a fixture of the Albany political machine and had a pattern of putting 'special interests ahead of the needs of his constituencies,'" [Benenson Strategy Group pollster, Danny] Franklin wrote.

MORE TO COME -- De Blasio leaves door open on a second term salary increase -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to say on Wednesday if he will accept a salary increase if reelected for a second term. The Quadrennial Advisory Commission - a three member panel appointed by de Blasio - released its report this week recommending salary increases for all of the city's elected officials. The panel suggested the mayor receive a salary of $258,750, representing a $33,750 raise from what a New York City mayor currently earns. As part of its reasoning, the commission said the mayor's responsibilities were increased by the 1989 Charter and again in 2002 when, under then mayor Michael Bloomberg, the office was given control of the city's public school system.

De Blasio, who prior to (and immediately after) the report's release said he would decline to accept the raise during the current term, remained non-committal Wednesday on his response to their findings or to the possibility of accepting a salary increase in 2018.

"Yes, I made clear I will not accept any raise in this term because I'm the person who named the commission," de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference. "I think for other elected officials, it's their choice how they handle any ultimate decision, but again we have the commission's response, we don't have my response yet which will trigger the next step in the process so I don't want to jump ahead in the process,"

CRUNCHING CRIME DATA -- De Blasio denies Ray Kelly's criticism over crime statistics -- POLITICO New York's Azi Paybarah: Mayor Bill de Blasio denied an accusation from former police commissioner Ray Kelly that crime statistics are fudged, saying they are being kept in the same "exact" manner as when Kelly oversaw the department during his 12-year-run which ended in 2013.

"I find that surprising," de Blasio said when asked about Kelly's criticism, during an interview this morning on 1010 WINS. "We're using the exact same standard to track crime that Ray Kelly used. It was inherited from Ray Kelly. It's the exact same set of metrics. And so I'm surprised to see Commissioner Kelly raising those questions."

-- Radio silence: "Asked about de Blasio's response, Kelly spokeswoman Anne Reingold said the former top cop was unavailable to comment.'Ray is out of town,' she said in an email, adding: 'He cannot be reached.'" Newsday's Matthew Chayes:

WINNING 2015 -- Who Won and Who Lost in 2015, Losers Edition -- New York Observer's Will Bredderman: "As it turned out, 2015 came as a series of shocks to the political systems of New York and the nation as a whole-shocks descending gold escalators or getting led away in cuffs, shocks that suddenly shot to the top of the echelons of power, shocks that left some people on the unemployment line and others looking like they were asleep at the wheel of an out-of-control semi." SEE THE LIST:

DEEP DIVE - "The Dark Hallways of Horace Mann: What allowed sexual abuse to go unchecked at the prestigious private school in the 1970s?" by Caitlin Flanagan in January's Atlantic, reviewing "Great Is the Truth: Secrecy, Scandal, and the Quest for Justice at the Horace Mann School," by Amos Kamil with Sean Elder: "What's striking about the victims' reports is how many kinds of abuse were taking place at the school. There was frank molestation-and sometimes rape-of middle- and high-school boys. There were elaborate and manipulative relationships between senior teachers and older high-school students. And there were relatively typical '70s-style teacher-student 'affairs,' which flourished in an environment of such close and unsupervised contact between adults and teenagers. ('This is what private schools sell," Fisher has observed: "a level of intimacy and teacher involvement in the lives of the kids that in a healthy fashion can be inspiring and life-changing.')

"It seemed that almost anything a teacher wanted to do to a boy during the '70s, a teacher could do at Horace Mann. The school became co-ed in 1975, and although Kamil heard plenty of rumors about the sexual abuse of female students (and of male students by female teachers), only two female victims stepped forward. Ultimately, the scandal, which resulted in credible charges of abuse against 22 teachers, overwhelmingly involved boys and men." $17.46 on Amazon

EAT BEAT -- "Menu items we hope to see at the new Newark Airport CBGB," by Debra Klein on WashPost's PostEverything blog: "1. I Wanna Be Sauté-ded ... 2. Burning Down the House: ... 3. One Way or Another ... 4. Psycho Killer Cocktails and California Über Ales ... 5. Because: The Night (Flight Blows) ... 6. Somebody Put Something in My Drink ... 7. Stop the World and Melt With Yucca Fries ... 8. London Calling ... 9. Have You Been to the Dessert Bar? Then you have to try our Blondies!"

NEWS YOU CAN USE - "The Procrastinator's Guide to Last-Minute Christmas Reservations," by Grub Street's Chris Crowley

BROADWAY BUZZ -- "Was This Broadway's Best Year Ever?" by Janice Kaplan in The Daily Beast: "The best shows this theater season soared so prodigiously high that more standard plays evoked a shrugged meh. The game-changers like Hamilton left audiences inspired and emotionally charged. They took creative chances and didn't rely on famous names, while uninspired adaptations like Gigi landed flat and stars like Al Pacino were duds. Bliss came in unexpected places, such as the luminous An American in Paris-do go if you haven't already. [The top 10:] ... 1. Hamilton ... 2. King Charles III ... 3. A View From The Bridge ... 4. The Color Purple ... 5. Spring Awakening ... 6. Skylight ... 7. Fun Home ... 8. The King and I ... 9. Something Rotten ... 10. Finding Neverland."

HILLARYWATCH -- AMY CHOZICK in Times Insider, "On the Road: Political Reporter Finds Salvation in Audiobooks ": "Gary Shteyngart got me through a miserable downpour in New Hampshire. Ta-Nehisi Coates entertained me on a late-night sojourn through South Carolina. And thank God for Truman Capote or I most certainly would have fallen asleep and driven off a desolate farm road in Iowa. From the outside, covering the 2016 presidential campaign may seem like a constant stream of rallies and news conferences and adrenaline-fueled nights in the newsroom. There's plenty of that, but the job also involves driving, and lots of it. Listening to audible books has become not just entertainment, but my savior. ... [C]overing Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign for The Times, I often find myself behind the wheel, usually trying to chase her motorcade to events through unfamiliar streets and often over very long distances. ... Forget 'The Boys on the Bus,' so far covering the Clinton campaign could be titled 'The Girl in a Rental Car.'"

-- "Hillary Clinton Is 'Not My Abuela,' Critics Say," by Times' Katie Rogers: "After Mrs. Clinton shared news of her daughter's second pregnancy, a 'content strategist' for her campaign posted [a] list ... pointing out how she was just like their abuelas, or grandmothers: She cares for all children. She reads to her grandchild before bedtime. She doesn't tolerate disrespect. Her critics were not impressed. Soon, the hashtag #NotMyAbuela was circulating as a critique of what some saw as a tone-deaf move to pander to a powerful but marginalized bloc of voters. Her critics pointed out that Mrs. Clinton did not grow up poor like their relatives, and was not separated from loved ones by country borders. Others just made their points with the magic of memes."

TRANSITIONS - "Executive Director Melanie Hartzog is leaving [Children's Defense Fund-NY] (last day will be January 8) to take on the role of Deputy Director for Health and Social Services with the New York City Mayor's Office of Management Budget. [Samantha Levine has] been named Acting Director while a search is conducted to fill the position. ... Levine, currently CDF-NY's Communications Director ... is a veteran of Mayor Bloomberg's press shop where she served as the Deputy Press Secretary overseeing New York City's health and human service agencies. She also served as the Director of the New York City Girls Project: a citywide, multi-agency girls' self-esteem and body image campaign."

REAL ESTATE -- ON TRACK-"Sources: World Trade Center Oculus to open in March," by POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein: "The white-marble main concourse at the Santiago Calatrava-designed, $4 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub has been slated to open in early March, according to two knowledgeable sources. The opening of the Oculus at the PATH train station - a steel-winged structure that's meant to evoke a bird - will mark the end of a more than decade-long process, one that has garnered scathing criticism for the project's cost overruns, and which damaged the designer's reputation.

"The temporary PATH train station at the site now serves some 44,000 passengers making their way to and from New Jersey. The Port Authority, which made the decision on the timing of the Oculus opening, estimates the new hub will ultimately serve some 200,000 passengers and visitors. (By way of comparison, Penn Station serves 600,000.) At roughly $4 billion, nearly twice the anticipated cost, it's considered the most expensive train station in the world. Then-Governor George Pataki said it would be operational by 2009."

HOLIDAY SPIRIT-"Church With Ties to Famed Christmas Poem Is in Need of Repair," by Times' David W. Dunlap: "What was stirring were not creatures. It was worse. Much worse. The soft patting sounds that the Rev. Stephen Harding and I heard inside St. 's Church Chelsea - the 'Christmas Church' that owes its existence to Clement Clarke Moore - came from rainwater. It percolated through the tin-and-timber roof and the lath-and-plaster Gothic ceiling vaults, dripping down to the balcony floor.

"St. 's needs a lot of help, about $15 million worth, Father Harding estimates. In that respect, it is like many mainstream houses of worship used by congregations that are now only a fraction of their original size. Few of those, however, are as closely tied to their neighborhoods as St. 's is to Chelsea. Even today, its illuminated tower clock is as prominent in the streetscape as a harvest moon, glimpsed through treetops over the rowhouses nestled snugly around it."

HEIGHT ADVANTAGE-"Developers close deal that allows Brooklyn's tallest tower," by Crain's Daniel Geiger: "Developers Michael Stern and Joe Chetrit have completed their previously announced $90 million purchase of the century-old Dime Savings Bank building in downtown Brooklyn, allowing them them to build the city's tallest tower outside Manhattan. The pair bought 9 DeKalb Ave. from JP Morgan Chase, which had used the space as a bank branch before putting the property on the market a year ago.

"As Crain's previously reported, the developers entered into a contract this past summer to purchase the landmarked 100,000-square-foot Beaux Arts building, which was completed in 1908. Stern and Chetrit can transfer the property's 300,000 square feet of unused development rights to an adjacent site they own at 340 Flatbush Ave. Extension. That will allow them to build a 600,000-square-foot residential tower that will be more than 1,000 feet high."

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Cavaliers 91, Knicks 84: Without Carmelo Anthony, sidelined with a sprained ankle, the Knicks still got 23 points and 13 rebounds from Kristaps Porzingis while pushing the Cavs deep into the fourth quarter.

-- Mavs 119, Nets 118: Deron Williams returned in vintage fashion: first he whined a bunch about the Nets, a franchise that gave him max money, fired multiple coaches and added veterans at the expense of the future just to appease him. Then he missed the game due to injury. What an homage to his tenure here. Then Thaddeus Young hit a three and blocked a last-second shot to force OT, but the Nets lost.

-- Odell Beckham Jr.'s one-game suspension was upheld. He issued a statement apologizing extensively for his actions in last Sunday's Panthers game.

#UpstateAmerica: A Tonawanda woman, who happens to be a grandmother, got run over by a deer.

** A Message from Nuclear Matters: Some of America's existing nuclear energy plants face early closure due to current economic and policy conditions. Providing more than 62% of America's carbon-free electricity, existing, state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants play a vital role in achieving our clean-energy and carbon-reduction goals.

In New York, nuclear energy plants provide 31 percent of the state's electricity and 61 percent of our carbon-free electricity. The existing nuclear energy plants in New York also support about 18,000 jobs and provide $2.5 billion to the state's GDP.

If we want to keep New York working, we need policies that will keep New York's state-of-the-art nuclear energy plants working for all of us. Join us at **

FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page:

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