BY TEQUILA MINSKY | The Village Independent Democrats recently held their 62nd awards reception, aptly titled, Blue New York, to celebrate a blue state government, voted in during the last election.
Returning to Tio Pepe, the W. Fourth St. Spanish restaurant, the annual event recognized outstanding individuals and organizations noted for advancing the progressive agenda.
With a blue majority in the state Legislature, as well as in Congress, the mood was much more upbeat than last year. As usual, the evening offered opportunities to schmooze with local politicians.
Leading the program off in the liveliest of fashions, Sing Out Louise, the resistance chorus with a credo of “Get out there and make your voices heard,” distributed its original satiric progressive lyrics and got the crowd singing. Upon City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s arrival, he was serenaded with a song tailor-made for him.
Johnson received the V.I.D. Outstanding Leadership Award. He currently represents the Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen in the Council. When he was just 29, he won the chairpersonship of Community Board 4. Johnson has a reputation as a tenacious advocate for his constituents and as a prolific sponsor of legislation in the Council.
Another award recipient, the grassroots progressive organization No IDC NY, spearheaded the successful 2018 effort to replace six out of eight of the Independent Democratic Conference a.k.a. I.D.C. members; the incumbent “fake Democrat” senators aligned themselves with Republicans. No IDC NY works to ensure that progressive lawmakers are elected and progressive legislation passed.
True Blue NY — and the four founding women who had no previous political experience who accepted the award — was also recognized. The organization’s first task was to defeat the I.D.C. and Simcha Felder to flip the state Senate blue. They built a coalition of more than 60 diverse, grassroots groups, Democratic clubs and issue-driven organizations.
A club stalwart for nearly 40 years and a longtime Villager who has held various V.I.D. offices, Frieda Bradlow received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Bradlow was a social worker, environmentalist, community activist and campaign director for longtime Councilmember Miriam Friedlander. She was a founding member of Downtown Independent Democrats but redistricting changed her territory. This award recognizes her perseverance, dedication and compassionate leadership.
The Village’s new female district leader, Jen Hoppe, was introduced to the crowd. After some 14 years, Keen Berger said she would not run again as district leader. Four women showed interest in the unsalaried party position.
After endorsements and a club election, Hoppe prevailed in a close race.
Showing up during the dinner part of the event, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer arrived and, always welcome, was applauded upon arrival.