The GSD Bump — what Tuesday’s preliminary results tell us …

Voting is over, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty about results. Since New York allows time for absentee ballots to be returned and corrected before being counted, and because the next rounds of counting ranked choice votes won’t start for a week, we’re left sitting with a lot of preliminary results.

But there’s still a lot we do know:

City Council District 1

Chris Marte picked up a lot of votes in the Grand Street co-ops compared to his 2017 campaign, and is very likely to win the Democratic nomination for City Council in District 1.

© Sam Hudis and Competitive Advantage Research, 2021. (

After narrowly losing to Margaret Chin in 2017, Marte never stopped working for downtown Manhattan, and in those four years he added a lot of support, especially in our neighborhood. Even though this year’s field had many more candidates, Marte’s raw total and percentage of votes increased on Grand Street. In fact, while Margaret Chin performed better in this neighborhood in 2017 than she did over the whole district, this year that feat belonged to Chris Marte, who won our neighborhood with a wider margin than his (already strong) district-wide performance.

Let’s call this the GSD bump.

Remember, in 2017, GSD did not yet exist — we were running our own original challenge that year to the old Truman Club candidates and we stayed out of that competitive City Council race. This year, having established a solid membership and trust among our neighbors, our partnership with Chris Marte and endorsement of his candidacy made a difference. 

Borough President

Lindsey Boylan won’t be the next Borough President, but she got a huge GSD bump. Neighbors here really responded to Boylan’s clear advocacy for East River Park, and while she received only about 10% of votes borough-wide, in the Grand Street co-ops she received nearly 24%. (Mark Levine leads the results right now with a slim margin over Brad Hoylman, and we’ll need to wait for the counting to finish to know who won.)

District Attorney

In the one big race that did not have ranked choice voting, Alvin Bragg will win the nomination for District Attorney. Bragg got one third of the vote in an 8-way race, enough to secure victory. There are still absentees to count, but the result is unlikely to change.

In other races

  • Eric Adams’ lead in the Mayoral primary is likely to hold (there’s no clear block of ranked choice votes that might coalesce against him, which is the only way for a candidate to leap-frog the first round winner). Our endorsed candidate, Kathryn Garcia, performed very well in our neighborhood, getting more first-round votes than any other candidate in 9 of our 11 election districts.
  • Brad Lander’s lead in the Comptroller race is also likely to hold. Lander also got a GSD bump, scoring 9.4 points higher in our neighborhood than he did city-wide.
  • Jumaane Williams easily won re-election with no need to count ranked choice votes.
  • Edward Irizarry did not win the nomination for Civil Court judge, unfortunately, but he also got a GSD bump, scoring 6 points higher in our neighborhood than he did district-wide.

This was GSD’s first NYC primary season. Not all of our endorsed candidates won, but that’s not entirely the point. Over the past year many of you engaged deeply with these candidates and campaigns, and that experience creates a more effective connection between this neighborhood and our elected officials moving forward. That’s exactly what GSD was formed to do.

How to Rank Your Vote

For the first time this year, you can rank up to FIVE candidates for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council.

Even if your #1 choice candidate does not win, you can still help choose who does.

  • Who do you love? That’s your #1.
  • Who do you like? That’s your #2. 
  • Who are the candidates you’re OK with? Rank them #3, 4, and 5. 
  • Make sure to fill in the correct bubbles on your ballot.

Ranking your vote allows you to care less about “electability” — you can rank your favorite candidate #1 even if you think they don’t have a chance to win, without the feeling that you are wasting your vote. Because, if you’re right and your #1 candidate drops off the rankings, your vote for #2 will get counted, and so on down the line. (Of course if more people feel the way you do, maybe we can stop caring about “electability” and just elect the people we want by voting for them!)

On your ballot, you’ll see candidates listed in rows, and ranked choices 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 listed as columns with bubbles to fill in for each.

Fill in the #1 bubble on the row with your first choice candidate. Fill in the #2 bubble on the row for your next choice, and so on.

You can practice on a sample online ballot here.

Since it’s so new, the idea of ranked choice may seem intimidating, but the way it works is actually very simple.

  • All 1st choice votes are counted. If a candidate receives more than 50% of votes, they win.
  • However, if no candidate earns more than 50% of 1st choice votes, then counting will continue in rounds.
  • Each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If your highest-ranked candidate is eliminated, your vote goes to the next highest ranked candidate on your ballot.
  • This process continues until there are only 2 candidates left. The candidate with the most votes at that point wins.

Watch how sample ballots are counted until there is a winner.

One more thing: this isn’t like co-op board elections, where there is sometimes an advantage to “bullet voting” for only one candidate even though you are allowed to vote for more. In the co-ops, board election votes are equal and cumulative, so your votes for candidates you only like a little bit may help knock out the candidate you most want to see on the board.

With NYC ranked choice, that’s not the case. Your second choice vote will be counted only if your first choice has been eliminated. So just vote for whom you want, don’t try to game the system.

May 27 at 7 pm: GSD Book Club with Joan Silber, author of “Secrets of Happiness”

We’re delighted to be joined by Seward cooperator and award-winning author Joan Silber on May 27 to discuss her new book Secrets of Happiness. This conversation will be hosted by our last book club guest author, Ian Rosenberg.

Silber’s last book, Improvement (2017), won the the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award. With Secrets of Happiness Silber again tackles a layered story from multiple points of view — each chapter has a different narrator with a different stake in the events.

Secrets of Happiness is a beautiful novel of interconnected New Yorkers, whose lives and actions have far-reaching consequences, for better or worse. Silber imbues this tapestry of characters with an empathy and humanity that is so resonant, especially at this late-pandemic moment, when we’re reckoning with our losses and our community”

— District Leader Caroline Laskow

You can buy Secrets of Happiness from McNally Jackson and other booksellers.

Early Voting for June 2021 Primary

Early voting will be available June 12 – June 20 at JHS 56 on Madison Street.

Enter through the Madison Street playground between Clinton and Montgomery Streets.

Accessible entrance on Montgomery Street through the doors for NYC Center for Aerospace.

SaturdayJune 128:00 am – 5:00 pm
SundayJune 138:00 am – 5:00 pm
MondayJune 147:00 am – 4:00 pm
TuesdayJune 1510:00 am – 8:00 pm
WednesdayJune 1610:00 am – 8:00 pm
ThursdayJune 1710:00 am – 8:00 pm
FridayJune 187:00 am – 4:00 pm
SaturdayJune 198:00 am – 5:00 pm
SundayJune 208:00 am – 4:00 pm

Election day is Tuesday, June 22. Regular polling sites will be open that day 6:00 am – 9:00 pm.

May 4: Virtual Reception in Support of Lindsey Boylan for Borough President

Please join us to support Lindsey Boylan,
candidate for Manhattan Borough President.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
7:00 – 8:00 pm
RSVP for Event

Tommy Loeb
Marion Riedel

Grand Street Dems, Pat Arnow, Lee Berman, Wendy Brawer, Bill Ferns, Fannie Ip, Jeremy Sherber, Kim Sillen, Vanessa Thill

Zoom link provided before the event.  
This event is private and closed to press.

Suggested Donation Levels:
$175 | $100 | $50 
$25 | $10 | $5
 A donation is not required to attend.  

Sign Up to Help Our Candidates Get on the Ballot

We are heading into the biggest primary season NYC has seen in a generation and we are ready to help our endorsed candidates get on the ballot!

Grand Street Dems will be setting up tables on Grand Street for each of the first three weekends in March with petitions that candidates are required to file in order to qualify for the ballot in June.

(Yes, it’s crazy that candidates are still required to do this during a pandemic, but the Governor and State representatives somehow did not plan ahead to find a safer way to qualify for this year’s primary.)

If you feel comfortable, we need your help. Join us Saturdays and Sundays starting March 6 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, or let us know when you are available to carry petitions and we’ll work out the details with you.

Update: If you want to get more involved with a particular campaign, you can volunteer specifically for petitioning shifts with them:

Christopher Marte:

Lindsey Boylan:

2/23/21 Remote Meeting Recap — Chinatown Working Group and City Council candidate Erin Hussein

We were joined by members of the Chinatown Working Group to discuss their proposal for special zoning districts in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We also had a chance to meet Erin Hussein, who is challenging Councilmember Carlina Rivera in District 2.

Not shown in the meeting video was our members-only discussion and vote to endorse candidates for Civil Court in Manhattan and Judicial District 2.

Sierra Club calls for City Council oversight hearing on ESCR

Grand Street Dems last month called for the suspension of work on the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project until the City would allow a full and independent engineering review of the project.

Since then, the City finally released the document it had previously said did not exist — the report from the value engineering study in 2018 that led to the current plan — with heavy, unexplained redactions.

Now the Sierra Club is calling on the City Council to conduct oversight hearings to get to the bottom of the “secrecy, inadequacy, and sequence of events and information releases [that] have left many perplexed and disturbed.”

As the Sierra Club’s letter makes clear, redacted sections of the report include “critical information” such as the names of outside “technical team members”; pro/con comparison of eleven “significant proposals” and five “recommendations”; process for arriving at cost estimates (which is a huge part of the City’s justification for its preferred plan); and discussion of alternatives.

“The Sierra Club feels certain that you recognize that it remains the duty of the City Council with its subpoena powers to investigate what is going on as millions of dollars are being spent and bids are being placed on a quasi-secret $1.4 Billion plan. Most importantly, it remains the Council’s responsibility to safeguard the public health and uphold our City’s environment.”

Feb. 20: Civil Court Candidate Forum

There are two open seats this year for Manhattan Civil Court (county-wide) and two more open seats for Civil Court Judicial District 2 (where we live), with a number of candidates who were rated “most highly qualified” by the New York County Independent Judicial Screening Panel for Civil Court Judges on Feb. 8.

On Saturday we will have a chance to hear from all these candidates, and then will vote at our general meeting Tuesday whether to make any endorsements for these seats.

Manhattan Civil Court Candidate Forum
Saturday, February 20, 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Zoom link:

Thank you to Downtown Independent Democrats for putting this forum together for all of us.

Candidates for Civil Court Judge County-wide

Candidates for Civil Court Judicial District 2