Contribute to Jumaane Williams’ Re-election

Jumaane Williams is running for re-election as NYC’s Public Advocate against candidates on the Republican and Conservative party lines.

Because this race flew under the radar during the primary (there were no strong primary challengers), Williams has not yet qualified for NYC’s robust matching funds program, but he still needs to compete for the Nov. 2 election.

Please help Jumaane Williams reach that threshold with a contribution to his campaign before September 27.

Once Williams meets the threshold, all eligible contributions from NYC residents up to $250 will be matched at an 8:1 rate. A $250 contribution will become a $2,250 contribution to the campaign which will greatly help the campaign.

Jumaane Williams has served as the Public Advocate of NYC since 2019. Previously, he served on the NYC Council and as a community organizer. Some of his duties as Public Advocate are introducing and sponsoring legislation and fighting for New Yorkers on issues like public safety, affordable housing, transparency in City government, racial justice and more. He is a true activist-elected official, and is strongly endorsed by Grand Street Dems for re-election.

Ready for GSD’s next chapter? Raise 🙋 your hand.

At four years old, Grand Street Dems is closing out its first chapter. We’ve learned the basics of local organizing, been involved in campaigns local and national, and taken our first steps at establishing a local community of progressive activists and concerned Democrats.

I’ve been really proud to lead GSD through this exciting and challenging start. But now the club gets to write its next chapter with a new President and a new leadership team. This is an important moment to decide what issues and candidates to support, and how to engage Democrats in our neighborhood. It’s also the right time to decide how the club itself is organized and can make decisions with more member input.

What changes would you like to see the club make? What priorities do we need to maintain? And are you willing to join the leadership team to make it all happen? Please send an email to let me know.

My time as GSD President is restricted by the term limits we wrote into our founding bylaws, but that’s not the only reason for me to step down. Inviting a new team to lead Grand Street Dems is also just the right thing to do to keep the club energized and relevant. 

But we need YOU to raise your hand and volunteer to do the work.

Coming up, we have two meetings scheduled to help determine the future of GSD:

  • September 23, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
  • October 13, 7:00 – 8:30 pm (elections for new officers)

After that, there’s still so much to do. There’s a whole new conversation to have about downtown development; a new opportunity to shape traffic and pedestrian access around Essex Crossing; campaigns for housing, criminal, and environmental justice; redistricting decisions that may change our representation; and important local Democratic primaries in 2022 for Congress, Assembly, State Senate, and Governor.

I still plan to participate in all of that, but I’m looking forward to following your lead for the next few years.

— Jeremy

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.

Thursday 6/17 at 5:30 pm: 2021 Primary Rally

We have a special event: our first in-person GSD meeting in over a year!

Primary Rally
Thursday 6/17 at 5:30 pm
Hester Lot (Hester & Essex)

Come out to hear from our endorsed candidates as they close out their 2021 campaigns. After the event, if you haven’t voted yet, you can join us at JHS 56, where polls stay open that evening until 8:00 pm.

This event is open to everyone in the neighborhood — please share with your friends and neighbors so they know about early voting and have a chance to hear directly from these amazing candidates.

Saturday 6/12 at 11:00 am: Stroll to the Polls!

We’ll be out this Saturday to greet the start of early voting. Meet up at Ahearn Park (the triangle at Grand Street and East Broadway) at 11:00 am so we can walk over to JHS 56 together and cast our votes.

After voting, we’ll be out on Grand Street with some of our endorsed candidates to make sure all our neighbors know that early voting has started and runs through Sunday, June 20.

This event is open to anyone, so please get your friends and neighbors to join you on what should be a dry, mild Saturday.

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.

In new vote, Grand Street Dems endorses Kathryn Garcia for Mayor

In a new vote on Monday evening, Grand Street Dems members endorsed Kathryn Garcia for Mayor.

GSD members’ close second choice for Mayor is Dianne Morales.

Members spoke in favor of Garcia’s highly-regarded managerial experience within city government. Especially given the scale of economic recovery New York faces in the next several years, and the opportunities for challenging reforms within city agencies, her no-nonsense, goal-oriented approach to problem-solving would be a huge asset for all New Yorkers.

At the same time, many GSD members who are looking for transformational change in the way we talk about race, housing, equity, and policing were drawn to Dianne Morales, who is running as perhaps the most purely progressive candidate in the race. As our own ranked choice voting process peeled off the outliers, Morales came in a close second to Garcia.

This new endorsement meeting was called by the GSD Executive Committee ten days ago so that members could reconsider our previous endorsement of Scott Stringer given the sexual misconduct allegations recently made against him. The new vote was a full do-over among all 13 candidates who will be on the Democratic primary ballot on June 22, including Stringer.

To help our neighbors navigate the ranked choice ballot we will all use for the primary this year for the first time, the Executive Committee also voted prior to last night’s endorsement vote to release the club’s first and second choices for Mayor, as opposed to the single endorsements GSD has made public previously.

Grand Street Dems to reconsider Mayoral endorsement with new vote by club members

In response to sexual abuse allegations made against Scott Stringer this week, the GSD Executive Committee has voted to hold a membership meeting on Monday, May 10 to reconsider the club’s Mayoral endorsement.

All GSD members are invited to attend, and all members with voting privileges will be able to vote to endorse one of the candidates on the primary ballot for NYC Mayor.

Monday, May 10, 2021
7:00 pm
Members will receive Zoom link by email

In the meantime, there are a few Mayoral forums coming up over the next week that you might want to attend to brush up on the state of the race:

  • Multifaith Justice Mayoral Forum — Sunday, May 2, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
    The leading six candidates for Mayor are hosted by a broad coalition of faith-based groups, including Collegiate Middle Church and East End Temple. Register for the event.
  • Downtown Women for Change — Monday, May 3, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
    Meet the women running for Mayor — Kathryn Garcia, Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley — to hear how they plan to address the many challenges facing New York. Register for the event.
  • NYIC Forum on Immigration — Thursday, May 6, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
    New York Immigration Coalition hosts a forum moderated by reporters from The City and Gotham Gazette. Register for the event.