A Woman Leading N.Y.C.? This Could Be the Year.

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It’s Thursday.

Weather: Heavy rain in the afternoon, with a high near 50. It’ll get gusty in the evening, and watch out for snow overnight.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until March 28 (Passover).

New York City has had 109 mayors. So far, not one has been a woman.

That glass ceiling may finally shatter in this year’s election. There are three strong female candidates for the Democratic nomination, and all have suggested that the testosterone-fueled political culture that is the backdrop for the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo makes a strong case for electing the city’s first female mayor.

“New York’s governor is reminding us it is time to see more women in positions of power,” Kathryn Garcia, the city’s former sanitation commissioner, said at a recent fund-raiser for her mayoral campaign. “In 2021, there is no right man for the job of mayor.”

[The women running for mayor have sharply criticized the governor.]

Here’s what you need to know:

The candidates

Two other women are running in the Democratic primary for mayor in addition to Ms. Garcia. (Another, Sara Tirschwell, is running in the Republican primary.)

The two Democrats are Maya Wiley, former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio and former chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board; and Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive.

Ms. Wiley, the strongest female candidate in the polls and fund-raising, has emphasized a plan to create 100,000 jobs. Ms. Morales wants to cut $3 billion from the police budget. Ms. Garcia is focusing on improving basic services and quality of life in the city.

All three have shared their stories of sexual harassment and sexism, and argued that they would offer a more inclusive style of leadership. People who have worked in Mr. Cuomo’s office have described it as toxic, especially for young women.

All three candidates have taken a hard line against the governor: Ms. Morales called for his impeachment, while Ms. Garcia and Ms. Wiley called on him to resign.

The history

Overt sexism, machine politics and the challenges of raising large amounts of money are just some of the barriers that prevent women from running for office in New York, political experts said.

Those issues and others bedeviled the candidacies of two women who ran unsuccessfully for mayor relatively recently, Ruth W. Messinger and Christine Quinn.

“Machine politics is a machine that was built by and for men,” Ms. Morales told my colleague Emma G. Fitzsimmons, the City Hall bureau chief.

If Mr. Cuomo leaves office, New York State will break another glass ceiling: Kathy Hochul, his lieutenant governor, would become the first woman to lead the state.

From The Times

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Modernist Horse Sculptures Removed by City Housing Agency

St. Patrick’s Day in New York, a Year Later

Want more news? Check out our full coverage.

The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

What we’re reading

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said yesterday that indoor fitness classes will be able to reopen at 33 percent capacity next Monday. [New York Post]

The mayoral candidate Andrew Yang called for the New York Police Department’s Asian Hate Crime Task Force to be fully funded after Atlanta-area shootings killed six women of Asian descent. [Politico New York]

A man from Dutchess County was fined $5,000 after pleading guilty to illegally raising sharks in his basement to sell over the internet. [Fox 5 NY]

And finally: After a summer off, Shakespeare could return to Central Park

Last year, for the first summer since 1962, no players graced the stage at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater.

But on Tuesday my colleague Michael Paulson reported that the Public Theater announced that it hoped to resume Shakespeare in the Park, the free performances of the bard’s works that have become a beloved city tradition.

This year, the theater is planning just one Shakespeare in the Park production, “Merry Wives,” a 12-actor, intermission-free version of “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” It would have an eight-week run starting in July instead of the usual two-play season beginning in May.

Understand the Scandals Challenging Gov. Cuomo’s Leadership

The three-term governor is confronting two crises simultaneously:

    • Several women, including current and former members of his administration, have accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. He has refused to resign. An independent inquiry, overseen by the New York State attorney general, may take months.
    • The Cuomo administration is also under fire for undercounting the number of nursing-home deaths caused by Covid-19 in the first half of 2020, a scandal that deepened after a recent Times investigation found that aides rewrote a health department report to hide the real number. Several senior health officials resigned recently in response to the governor’s overall handling of the pandemic, including the vaccine rollout.
    • On March 11, the State Assembly announced it would open an impeachment investigation. Democrats in both the State Legislature and in New York’s congressional delegation called on Mr. Cuomo to resign, with some saying he has lost the capacity to govern.

    According to the plans, the show, which is being adapted by Jocelyn Bioh and will be directed by Saheem Ali, will be set in Harlem and imagine Falstaff as an African-American seeking to romance two married immigrants from West Africa.

    “We’re really centering BIPOC stories, but we’re also bringing Black joy to the front,” Mr. Ali told me in an interview, using the acronym for Black, Indigenous and people of color.

    Things will be different this summer because of the pandemic, but exactly how remains to be seen. Audiences will be smaller — Mr. Ali said that under current state rules, about 450 spectators would be allowed to attend each performance at the outdoor Delacorte, instead of the usual 1,800 or so.

    The actors face different challenges, Mr. Ali said, and the Public will have to follow Actors’ Equity Association safety guidelines in order to stage the show.

    Does that mean the actors will need to be vaccinated? Kept in an N.B.A.-style bubble? Forced to soliloquize through masks?

    Mr. Ali said that it was too soon to say for sure, but that he thought incorporating the safety regulations into the play could make the show feel more immediate.

    “I’m looking at those restrictions, and looking at them as opportunities instead of obstacles,” Mr. Ali said.

    It’s Thursday — take the stage.

    Metropolitan Diary: First day out

    Dear Diary:

    Nothing could prepare a timid young woman from a small Southern town for a move to Manhattan, but I knew two things: that I would be a full-time student at New York University and that I had to find a job to pay my portion of the rent.

    On my first day of job-hunting, I put on my ivory-colored linen suit and took the subway from West 86th Street to Times Square.

    About halfway there, the woman who was sitting next to me told me in a thick accent that I had a spot on the back of my skirt.

    “You must’ve sat in something,” she said. “It looks horrible.”

    Stellar first day out, I thought.

    When I got off the train, I was thinking desperately about what to do when I heard the woman yelling.

    “Maybe just turn it around,” she shouted.

    My first stop was a dry cleaner. Sure, the man there said, expressionless, when I asked if he could help: Leave the skirt and pick it up tomorrow.

    No, thank you, I stammered before hurrying out the door.

    Deciding to take my subway mate’s advice, I turned the skirt around so that the spot was squarely over the middle of my lap. What choice did I have? I had 20 minutes to spare and four blocks to go to get to my interview.

    I managed to obscure the spot with my large bag for the rest of the day. In the end, it was a conversation starter, and I left my interview with a job offer and a little insight that would come in handy for my many adventures in the city.

    — Victoria James

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