Dishing with Dee: Newly sworn-in politicians celebrate wins with parties

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This was the week of inaugurations. On Dec. 30, Mayor Michael Bloomberg swore in Dan Halloran, Peter Koo, Eric Ulrich, Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo in the City Council chambers into the Council. It was a short but impressive ceremony, well-attended even though it was a workday afternoon.

New Year’s Day was the ceremonial swearing-in of the top three elected city officials on the steps of City Hall. The officials were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, city Comptroller John Liu and city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. It was an interesting election because it was the third term for Bloomberg, Liu became the first Asian American to achieve a citywide office and de Blasio may be the last public advocate as there is talk of doing away with the position.

In politics one never knows, does one? As in years past it was cold and crowded. While the mayor did not hold his customary reception, Liu held a victory reception at the Supreme Court Building at 60 Centre St. while de Blasio held his reception at the Surrogates Court House at 31 Chambers St. Since both events were indoors, the fact that it was a cold day didn’t seem to dampen their supporters’ enthusiasm.

On Sunday, Halloran held his combination inaugural ceremony and victory reception at the Bayside Historical Society’s headquarters in the restored Fort Totten’s Officers Club in Bayside. They had more people than room to accommodate them all, but somehow they managed to keep everyone happy.

The list of attendees was interesting and impressive and included some surprising guests. U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, Mark and David Weprin, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Rabbi Yossi Blesofsky, Terrence Park, Councilman Leroy Comrie, Tom Long, state Sen. Frank Padavan, Phil Sica, Molly Honigsfeld, Robert Giglio, Vito Palmieri, Frank Castiglione, Mike Neibauer, Councilman Eric Ulrich, Councilman Peter Koo, John Haggarty, John Watch, all the guys from the North Queens United Group and their local businessmen friends and Dan’s family.

Incidentally, Halloran’s uncle, Judge Robert Hanophy, did the ceremonial swearing-in. Dan’s senior law partner, Palmieri, officiated as master of ceremonies and did a great job. We almost forgot Queens Board of Elections Commissioner Judy Stupp as well as her husband.

Halloran thanked each person and expressed his gratitude for their support. His speech was great. It was interspersed with just the right amount of humor that I guess is due to a combination of facts. By profession he is a trial lawyer, has an Irish ancestry and lately has been hanging around with politicians.

The last two big parties on the holiday circuit that we attended was a double-header Monday. The first one started early in the evening at Ackerman’s annual holiday party at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. It was as always a fabulous party.

Gary said this year he needs all the help he can get with his campaign as this year they are out to get him and are coming for him. But Gary has such a fey sense of humor it’s hard to tell when he is serious and when he is pulling your leg. In any event, all you Gary supporters get out and offer to help. But then again, according to Mike Schenkler, the two men in his opinion who are almost impossible to beat would be Ackerman and Padavan. Only time will tell.

The second half of the evening was at Central, a great party space on Steinway Street in Astoria. That was the scene of the Vallone holiday party. I also think I remember someone saying it was Peter Vallone Sr.’s birthday. Both places were packed to the rafters. Gary seemed to have a lock of eastern Queens and Nassau County while Peter seemed to have the lock on western Queens and the city. Each party would have been a fantastic evening on its own, but both parties were fun and a pleasant way to wind up the holiday season.

That’s it for this week

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

Till next week, Dee.

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