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POLITICO New York Playbook, presented by PhRMA: CUOMO Hamilton event, protest -- DE BLASIO town hall -- DANNY MEYER ends tips

10/15/2015 07:16 AM EDT

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

ABOUT LAST NIGHT - POLITICO New York's David Giambusso reports from Broadway: About 200 protesters gathered behind a barricade outside the Richard Rodgers theater in Midtown, decked out in tri-cornered hats and with drums and musical instruments in hand, urging Cuomo to veto the Port Ambrose natural gas project. The group had taken some of the songs from "Hamilton" - a hip-hop retelling of Alexander Hamilton's life as a founding father - and refashioned the lyrics to protest Port Ambrose. The governor said there are "serious questions" to answer before the offshore, liquid natural gas facility is approved.

Cuomo's campaign finance team bought out the Wednesday night show, and sold VIP tickets for $25,000 a pop. It had a harder time moving the balcony seats, though, and even mass-mailed people who had no history of donating. The governor gave a quick speech on immigration before the show. "It's kind of a different approach - we try to make politics a little different, a little fun," Cuomo told reporters outside. "This is a great play. It's very hard to get to see, but I would encourage everyone to get to see it. ... Remembering what our founding fathers were all about ... I think is a sobering lesson when you look at the mockery of politics that sometimes goes on today." http://politi.co/1G6JPt7

-- Cuomo is holding a fundraiser next month for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, seen as a potential challenger to Mayor Bill de Blasio, with whom the governor has long been feuding. http://politi.co/1PueRNt

TOWN HALL DEBUT -- event comes as City Hall switches strategy on how de Blasio interacts with public -- AP's Jonathan Lemire: "The two-hour town hall, part of a new strategy by City Hall to change the way the Democratic first-term mayor is presented, was largely a friendly discussion. Most of the questions the mayor fielded allowed him to tout his affordable-housing plan. 'The people demand affordable housing. It is now required in this city, and that is going to change things for the long run,' de Blasio said. 'You have the full weight of City Hall behind you.' About 250 people attended the town hall, held at an upper Manhattan high school gymnasium, and greeted de Blasio with a standing ovation. The participants were invited by about 20 civic groups, and many of them spoke only Spanish and relied on interpreters provided by de Blasio's administration.

-- A switch in strategy: "Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani held one monthly. His successor, Michael Bloomberg, would hold a few a year. Ed Koch, who was mayor from the late 1970s through the 1980s, thrived in the free-wheeling setting and held more than 15 annually. De Blasio's critics said his avoidance of the format indicated he was out of touch with the day-to-day problems of everyday New Yorkers. City Hall rebutted that argument, saying the mayor would interact with voters while riding on the subway or while at the gym." http://apne.ws/1hFnUgT

-- De Blasio, at the event: "Let's face it - it used to be that the market controlled everything and the developers called the tune, and their vision is what dominated our neighborhoods. Well, we're changing that."

-- Christina Greer, on the event: "I think in some ways he's driven down the expectations so low that he gets points for just showing up." http://politi.co/1PupgZG

-- NYT headline: "Mayor de Blasio, at Rare Public Forum, Presents Himself as a Protector of Tenants" http://goo.gl/JVAZGq

-- Post editorial: "[A] fake 'town hall' ... his Washington Heights gathering wasn't open to all comers; it was invitation-only. You needed a ticket to get in, and de Blasio allies handed out the tickets." http://goo.gl/wvuUpX

HAPPENING TODAY -- Mayor Bill de Blasio to Rename Municipal Building for former Mayor David Dinkins -- WSJ's Josh Dawsey and Mara Gay: " [O]ver the past 25 years, the mayor has frequently talked with the city's other living ex-mayor, David Dinkins, and was set to preside at a ceremony on Thursday to rename the Municipal Building for the man who served as the city government's first black chief executive. The event was expected to reunite Mr. de Blasio with some of his closest associates, many of whose political careers were forged in the 1990-93 Dinkins Administration.

-- "The two men have remained in close contact and talked politics and more, sometimes by phone and other times at dinner. At a Sunday night dinner party thrown to honor Mr. Dinkins by Ken Sunshine, a public relations executive, Mr. de Blasio was the first to show up. Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Dinkins have a few things in common-tough urban issues such as homelessness, strong support in the black community and some of the critics-especially Mr. Giuliani." http://on.wsj.com/1ZEIss7

-- A City Hall spokeswoman earlier said Ray Kelly -- who served as police commissioner under Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg and has clashed with de Blasio -- has been invited to the event. -- Azi

BOARD APPROVES CASINO AT TIOGA DOWNS - POLITICO New York's Josefa Velasquez: The state's Gaming Facility Location Board voted Wednesday to allow the Tioga Downs racino to upgrade to a full-scale casino roughly 10 months after its initial application was passed over. The board decided that the proposal met its criteria for creating jobs in the distressed Southern Tier and would boost the region's economy. "In contrast to the 2014 unsuccessful application... there is a whole lot more than lipstick with this application," said Kevin Law, the chair of the board. "This Tioga application commits substantially more equity to the project and decreases debt, which significantly improves financial stability of the proposal." In retrospect, last year's decision to not award a license to Tioga Downs was a good thing, said Jeff Gural, a real estate developer who owns Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs and the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey."We were lucky because under the rules [the board] had, they were obligated to basically issue a report to say why they didn't choose the people they didn't choose," Gural told POLITICO New York. "So we increased the size of the hotel, put in an extra $32 million of equity into the project ... We're using a more conventional casino lender to try and get us financing. We added some more amenities - another restaurant, a concert facility. The reality is, they actually did me a favor because it's a much better project now," he said. "I didn't think that 10 months ago when I didn't get the license, but at this point, the truth is, it's a better project." http://politi.co/1Lb9kIy

2017 CHATTER OF THE DAY: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is holding a fundraiser next month for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, seen as a potential challenger to Mayor Bill de Blasio, with whom the governor has long been feuding. According to an invitation obtained by POLITICO New York, the Nov. 12 fund-raiser at the Harvard Club is ostensibly for Jeffries' 2016 re-election campaign, in which he has no apparent opposition. ... De Blasio and Cuomo have been at loggerheads since this summer, after the mayor accused the governor of seeking revenge for perceived slights, derailing the mayor's efforts and, by extension, hurting New York City residents. http://goo.gl/BZ8lcO SEE THE INVITATION: http://goo.gl/L7v125

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I feel a kinship, like Bill a lot, but I don't try to give him political advice because I've been there. I know it is a difficult job, but it's the greatest job there is." -- David Dinkins on de Blasio, via WSJ's Josh Dawsey and Mara Gay: http://on.wsj.com/1ZEIss7

BONUS QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I asked the governor for some staff and some funding and unfortunately that hasn't happened." Republican state senator Dale Volker, member of a commission tasked with making recommendations on strengthening enforcement of ethics law in New York State, via POLITICO New York's Bill Mahoney: http://goo.gl/m1Tz9j

TWEET OF THE DAY: "If the world doesn't get serious, we will see-in Queens, on Staten Island, in Bk communities wiped off the map thenation.com/article/3-year..." -- Councilman Donovan Richards (@DRichards13): https://goo.gl/8a5lWH

DISCOVERY OF THE DAY: "Inside Grand Central's Secret Sub-Basement, Which Nazis Nearly Destroyed" - via Gothamist: http://bit.ly/1MrqSOB

TABS -- Post: "Inside 3-day brothel binge: ODOM'S TRAGIC SEX BASH: Former NBA star in wild Nevada spree" -- News: "'PLEASE DON'T GO: NBA star had 'every drug imaginable' in his system; Traces of coke - brothel gave him verbal Viagara; His organs are failing and doctors eye brain damage; Khloe tries to shush Nev. bordello owner" -- amNY: "TIPPING POINT: NYC dining mogul Danny Meyer nixing gratuities at restaurants, raising prices" -- Newsday: "Hospitals $15M BID OK'D" -- Hamodia, NY: "Car Strikes Two In Early Morning Crash in Boro Park"

FRONT PAGES -- NYT, 3-col. above the fold: "In Debate, Clinton Sent a Message to Doubters: Her Strong Showing Is Muting Calls for Biden to Run" -- WSJNY, 3-col. below the fold: "De Blasio Holds First Town Hall"

** A message from PhRMA: In 2013 alone, the biopharmaceutical industry invested more than $553 million dollars in clinical trials in New York. Learn more about the economic impact of clinical trials in our communities at http://bit.ly/1O64IWa **

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Scribe Celeste Katz, Cuomo aide Jason Conwall, Citizen Action executive director Karen Scharff, communication consultant Stu Loeser, who record holder for longest serving press secretary in City Hall history, Michael DeLoach, City Hall aide, formerly of former 1199 SEIU, Lis Smith, Martin O'Malley spokeswoman, formerly de Blasio 2013 and Obama 2012 campaigns, and SKDKnickerbocker's Loren Riegelhaupt.

DE BLASIO HEADS TO ISRAEL TONIGHT -- will meet with Palestinian community -- Times' Michael Grynbaum: "Mayor Bill de Blasio, who departs for Jerusalem on Thursday, plans to change [a] well-worn political script: In a break from his predecessors, Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, is intent on meeting with members of Israel's Palestinian community. The move is intended as a gesture of inclusivity from one of the country's most liberal leaders, who prides himself on pursuing a mission above day-to-day politics. But while his liberal base might approve, the mayor could risk antagonizing voters in a city where unequivocal allegiance to Israel has long been the political norm. Mr. de Blasio is arranging to visit with students, parents and faculty members of a bilingual school in Jerusalem, where Arab, Israeli and Palestinian children attend classes together. The meeting is expected to take place near a kibbutz west of Jerusalem. The visit comes at a time of extraordinary tension in Israel, with a spate of more than two dozen seemingly random attacks by Palestinians this month that have killed seven Israelis."

-- DE BLASIO SPOKESWOMAN DENIED THE MEETING: "The mayor's office confirmed the meeting a day after City Hall spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said there were no meetings planned with Palestinians.'We will let you know when we have a schedule to share but, off the record, not sure where you're getting your info from, but there are no meetings along those lines scheduled,' she said." Post's Yoav Gonen: http://goo.gl/QNtU4s

-- Assemblyman Dov Hikind is going too. News' Ken Lovett: http://goo.gl/dHfnfZ

-- FLASHBACK, Jan. 2014: In a closed-door AIPAC meeting that was not on the mayor's public schedule, de Blasio said, "part of my job description is to be a defender of Israel" and "City Hall will always be open to AIPAC."

-- RELATED: Group calls 'gift' to pay for de Blasio's trip to Israel 'troubling' -- POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: In an open letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Center for Constitutional Rights on Wednesday criticized how his three-day trip to Israel this week is being financed. De Blasio is making his first trip to Israel since being elected mayor. He is scheduled to depart on Thursday and deliver the keynote address at the annual Conference of Mayors, where he will speak about anti-Semitism in the west. The trip and lodging for the mayor and his staff is being paid for through "private gift to the city" by Israeli entrepreneur Baruch Eliezer Gross. The Center for Constitutional Rights is taking issue with the financing: "Your travel to Israel under the circumstances detailed in the news report validates the 'With-us or Against-us' ideological perspective of Israel partisans and marginalizes the perspectives of those who suffer from Israeli government policies - including Palestinians in exile in your own city," the letter from the Center for Constitutional Rights states.

-- City Hall's response: "As the Mayor has long said, a two-state peace agreement negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians is vital to a secure, democratic future for Israel. Building inclusivity and tolerance between all of the region's people is critical to that goal," Amy Spitalnick, a spokesperson for de Blasio, said in an email. http://politi.co/1GHTnWn

SECRETIVE CHURCH AT CENTER OF TEEN DEATH - Times' Jesse McKinley and Benjamin Mueller: "After services on Sunday, the two brothers were called into a counseling session in the sanctuary of a secretive upstate church here called the Word of Life. The session was supposed to be a chance for church members 'to discuss their spiritual state,' the authorities said on Wednesday. The brothers, ages 19 and 17, were met by their parents and an older sister, as well as other congregants. Then the counseling turned violent. 'Both brothers were subjected to physical punishment in the hopes that each would confess to prior sins and ask for forgiveness,' Chief Michael S. Inserra of the New Hartford Police Department said at a news conference on Wednesday. For several hours punches and kicks landed all over the teenagers' bodies, he said - on their stomachs, genitals, backs and thighs. The older brother, Lucas Leonard, was found unresponsive and not breathing the next morning by church members, Chief Inserra said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead from blunt force trauma." http://nyti.ms/1G6imrH

GE EXODUS GNAWS AT MALLOY - Connecticut Post's Neil Vigdor: "The heaviest lift for Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who was re-elected last November and whose job approval was at 43 percent in March, could be saving GE. Half of the people polled [by Quinnipiac University] said they were "very concerned" about the potential exodus of Fairfield-based GE, which is entertaining offers from New York, Georgia, Texas and several other states to relocate. Eighty percent placed some of the blame for GE's discontent, which the company amplified in early June with the ink drying on a two-year $1.2 billion overall tax increase, on Connecticut's economic climate. With his administration bracing for a low job approval number, Malloy met last week with Jeffrey Bornstein, GE's chief financial officer and a Ridgefield resident, to try to salve the strained relationship between the state and company, Hearst Connecticut Media has learned. ... A GE spokesman declined to comment Wednesday, but people briefed on the matter say that Connecticut officials have offered to match any package put on the table by other states. They asked not to be identified because of the private nature of negotiations, which have required the players to sign non-disclosure agreements. There is also said be growing concerning on the part of Malloy that New York rival Andrew Cuomo could steal GE's headquarters back after a 40-year absence." http://bit.ly/1RJahu1

HAPPENING TODAY - The "NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission holds its monthly public meeting [at 10 a.m.] at 33 Beaver Street, 19th floor, Manhattan." Livestream www.nyc.gov/taxi

EAT BEAT - Times p. A24, "Tips Are Going Away at a Prominent Restaurant Group," by Pete Wells: "In a sweeping change to how most of its 1,800 employees are paid, [Danny Meyer's] Union Square Hospitality Group will eliminate tipping at Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe and its 11 other restaurants by the end of next year ... The move will affect New York City businesses that serve 40,000 to 50,000 meals a week ... Menus will explain that prices include 'hospitality,' and checks will not provide blank lines for a tip." http://nyti.ms/1hFJkdO

MEDIA MORNING -- "Vice Hires Former Bloomberg Executive Josh Tyrangiel," by HuffPost's Judah Robinson: "Josh Tyrangiel will join the organization to lead its new daily newscast on HBO. Tyrangiel, who joins Vice after serving as Bloomberg's chief content officer, will be responsible for overseeing the show's programming, among other things. ... While the newscast's premiere has yet to be announced, Tyrangiel's first day at Vice will be Oct. 23." http://huff.to/1NdWCJP

--"How NBC's 'Today' Spoiled ABC's 'GMA' Ratings Party," by The Hollywood Reporter's Marisa Guthrie: "It's not that Today is surging in the ratings. So far this year, both shows are down in viewers aged 25-to-54 - Today is just down less: 8.5 percent compared to GMA's 13 percent. For the first two weeks of the 2015-16 season, Today is down 1 percent in the demo and among total viewers, while GMA is down 21 percent in the demo and 11 percent in total viewers." http://bit.ly/1VTGYuH

--"A note to CJR's readers," by editor and publisher Elizabeth Spayd: "In an effort to better align our resources with our mission, we have decided to significantly boost our investment in Columbia Journalism Review's digital operations, while shifting the print magazine schedule from bimonthly to two special issues per year." http://bit.ly/1QvNIIq

COLUMNIST SEAN KIRST IS LEAVING THE SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD: "For 27 years, I've had the blessing, the good fortune, to be a writer at The Post-Standard. It is a position I'm leaving as of Oct. 30," Kirst wrote on Facebook. "I leave with much love and warmth for people in the building on Warren Street, people who have played an extraordinary role in my life, in this journey toward a career I could never have even dreamed about, as a child. I still love this town, this community, in a way I cannot describe, and it is impossible to express my thanks to so many who have trusted me with their stories." http://on.fb.me/1k5rnqK

REAL ESTATE -- TO THE BARRICADES-"Council bill would limit number of tour bus licenses," by POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: "Citing data from the state Department of Transportation, [Councilwoman Margaret] Chin said the number of tour buses in the city has more than tripled in the last decade. Currently, there is no limit on the number of licenses a single tour company can hold. 'It's causing a lot of problems in our neighborhoods, especially in Lower Manhattan, where streets are very narrow and congested,' Chin said. 'A lot of time they are not all full, they look like they are just traveling advertisement.'" http://politi.co/1NHKK5L

BABY STEPS-"NJ Transit board approves first step in cross-Hudson tunnel project," by POLITICO New Jersey's Katie Jennings: "The NJ Transit board voted Wednesday to authorize the agency to take the lead role in conducting an environmental analysis of the cross-Hudson tunnel project. This is the first step in moving forward with the Amtrak project, known as Gateway. It would include a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, providing an important new link as the current tubes-now a century old and dogged by problems worsened by Hurricane Sandy's floodwaters-inch toward complete failure. Amtrak expects to have to close at least one of the two tubes within two decades to make repairs, reducing the capacity for its own trains and for NJ Transit by 75 percent. 'This is an incredibly important project, it's a long-term project, but somebody has got to start it,' the board's vice chairman Bruce Meisel said during Wednesday's discussion." http://politi.co/1PtJcvx

THE HOME TEAMS -- POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: Toronto FC 2, Red Bulls 1: The Red Bulls missed a chance to clinch the Eastern Conference. Instead, Toronto FC clinched a playoff berth, and Sebastian Giovinco's 22nd goal was absolutely glorious.

-- The day ahead: 8 PM at Dodger Stadium: deGrom, Greinke, and Game 5 of Mets-Dodgers with the season on the line.

#UpstateAmerica: A hiker was ticketed after posting pictures of a kegger at the summit of Phelps Mountain, one of the Adirondack high peaks. http://bit.ly/1k5oFBu

** A message from PhRMA: Every day in New York, countless people fight life-threatening diseases. Their bravery inspires countless researchers and scientists across the country in their quest to develop medicines that help patients live longer, healthier lives. Here in New York, the biopharmaceutical industry has invested more than $553 million during the 2,476 clinical trials that took place in 2013 alone. Each step brings us closer to a cure. To learn more, please visit http://bit.ly/1O64IWa **

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