Mayor David N. Dinkins Alumni Celebrate Hizzoner
Scores of Dinkins alumni from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office and from the administration of New York City’s 106th mayor joined friends and colleagues at Bettalona restaurant on Broadway in Manhattan on March 6. The venue, easily reachable on the #1 train from the 125th Street station appropriately borders the “village of Harlem,” as Mayor Dinkins refers to his former neighborhood.
Mayor Dinkins, ever dapper in a double-breasted suit and bow tie, greeted his former staffers and colleagues as guests mingled and toasted over wine and Italian fare. Attendees included former First Deputy Mayor Norman Steisel, former Deputy Mayor Sally Hernandez-Pinero, former Deputy Mayor Cesar Perales, former Finance Commissioner Carol O'Cleireacain, former Chief of Staff Ken Sunshine, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, David Jones, President of the Community Service Society and two of the “Policy Gals” from the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, Barbara Turk and Nancy Wackstein, both of whom went on to serve in the administration and many members of the Dinkins team.
Emcee and One Centre Street Syndicate (OCSS) board member Mark Benoit (see more about OCSS at the RunDND website) delighted the group with his keen humor and rapier wit as he recounted when New Yorkers were invited to visit City Hall to share “Ideas to Improve the Delivery of City Services” in 1991. Benoit recalled that Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch instructed him to “get out there, and take a clipboard!” He encountered a line of hundreds of New Yorkers circling the then open City Hall plaza. Benoit remembered a conversation with a woman who suggested designating a large shelter for cats. He politely asked her where this cat shelter should be located. The woman replied, “Gracie Mansion.”
Faye Perry, a former assistant to Bill Lynch paid homage to colleagues and friends who are no longer with us including Bill Lynch, Jerry Saunders, Amina Abdur-Rahman and Diane Morales and expressed gratitude to Mayor Dinkins for his contributions and for bringing this extraordinary team together.
Mayor Dinkins’ gracious remarks closed the program saying that none of the accomplishments of his administration would have been possible were it not for “all of you who worked with me. I am grateful to have worked alongside the very best people.”