Congressional Record

On line at the armory to get into the de Blasio party, I decided I was not a racist, since de Blasio has a black wife and two black children and I would, upon entry, be celebrating his win. In some ways, I realized, I was less a racist than de Blasio himself, who, when he married, could not have been certain his children would be black.

I, on the other hand, know his children are black. I was therefore embracing a victory by a family three-quarters black, where he could only have been certain his family would be one-half black, at the time of his marriage.

“You are?”

“Andrew J. Lederer.”

“I don’t have you on the list.”

“I’m a congressman.”


“You don’t have to be so surprised.”

“Do you have ID?”

I showed him some.

“That’s a driver’s license.”

“What do you want me to…

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Congressional Record

(When Lou Reed died, I, with purest superiority, decided every news anchor whose only reference was Walk on the Wild Side didn’t really know who they were obiting. But doo d’doo remains perfect shorthand for black backup singers, so I was right to use it, don’t think otherwise. And don’t make the mistake of thinking I don’t know of whom I refer. A guy I used to work next to played the Velvet Underground constantly. If not for him, I might not be pan-Reed conversant, BUT I AM! And anyway, I worked with Reed on a movie. Of course, in movies, working with someone doesn’t mean you get to meet him or are even on the same continent. But I did get to meet or, more accurately, see him once in the wardrobe trailer. I think maybe the wardrobe ladies said he smelled, but that could have been me. What…

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Congressional Record

Problem was, every step closer to the de Blasio party made me feel like a racist. Why should I be intimidated by big, intimidating black guys? Maybe they weren’t even supposed to intimidate me and I just decided they were. But they participated in my indoctrination into the big, black guys at the door intimidate me club.  Every big, black guy who ever worked as an intimidating door guy trained me and everybody else in the world to see them that way. Except maybe these guys never worked that gig. Is it fair for me to tar all big, black door guys with one brush of socially incapacitating fear? Maybe Tish James’ big, black guys weren’t even working the door. Maybe they were just standing there. For hours. With clipboards. Anyway, what are verifiable big, black door guys supposed to do? Not take a job at the door? It’s hard to find a…

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Congressional Record

God, it feels like this is all happening now, rather than in my memory. Maybe it’s ’cause I’m in the same bar having the same can of beer I drank to bolster myself before returning, yet again, to that elusive party. I figured three dollars was a reasonable price to pay for the necessary confidence. Crap.

I wonder if this is the EXACT same can of beer. Did I leave some over? The phlegmy brew is giving me no confidence in the bar, just as it failed to make go back to that shindig for which I’d been girding. Fortunately, on election night, the hoppy mucous had been accompanied by a NY 1 guy on television, waiting at the Park Slope Armory for de Blasio’s party to kick into gear. That was probably the party to be at anyway. And it was close.

Two major citywide victories in one night…

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Congressional Record

With this in mind, since it’s been a disappointing election, I just GOTTA get into this party. The Letitia James one. I rushed back to it. No missed hot dogs for me in 2013.

Pulsations from inside pulsate me, but in place, not toward the entry. I’m goin’ up and down, not to or fro.

Fro is a possibility, though, bro. Thing is, I’m scared, not scared for my life, scared of being embarrassed. Every time I get a certain distance from the door, I can go no further. There are big, black guys in big, black suits outside, meant to be intimidating, I guess, and they intimidated me. They look like the guys who won’t let you (me) into a club because you’re (I’m) not cool enough.

They had guys like that a couple of months ago outside Long Island College Hospital, a hospital the state was trying to…

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Congressional Record

For me, it’s always been people, not substances. Or if it WAS a substance, it was likely to have been a grilled, deli-style hot dog, probably the reason a previous election night — could be after the primary some months earlier — had been so frustrating to me. That night, rather than a trip through the inside for me and mine alone, I was, quite simply, alone.

While handing out literature at the polls, I’d asked, fearing the wrath of Mom, just when and how I’d be getting home, hoping they’d say there’d be a party and I would get a lift home after that. But when my shift ended, they said only that they’d take me home. Which they did.

Though there WAS a party.


While I was…home.

When I whined about it, they claimed I’d wanted it that way, but I had only wanted information, a…

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Congressional Record

I must have been about 16 that night, though you really needed to be 18 to stay inside when those heavy doors were locked and the counting of the votes commenced. But fuck the law. Being on the inside was where I wanted to be, something SO right.  We moved on, the three of us — 2 young cousins and a legislator — to a tour of the relevant political clubhouses.

I even got to meet a kingmaker (more of a dukemaker) who was later arrested for corruption and eventually killed himself. You can’t get better than that. You could feel the aura of manipulation and tragedy. It stuck to your neck like the sweat of that naked guy who recently brushed against you in the locker room of the gym.

It didn’t frighten me much.

Perhaps it had the allure for me that drugs have for less ambitious teens.

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