Good morning. It’s Friday. We’ll look at last night’s fractious debate among the three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. We’ll also discover a large-scale musical work that was cut off during a long-ago radio broadcast. It will be performed tonight in anticipation of Juneteenth.
Supporters of Gov. Kathy Hochul gathered outside Rockefeller Center, site of the debate.Credit…Andrew Seng for The New York Times
The three Democrats were quarrelsome and confrontational, with Representative Thomas Suozzi and Jumaane Williams blasting the person they want to replace, Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“Excuse me, I’m giving an answer,” Hochul said at one point when Suozzi tried to interrupt her.
“Governor? Governor? Governor?” Suozzi asked impatiently at another point. He was trying to force Hochul to look his way after she criticized him for having praised Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law banning teachers from providing instruction regarding gender identity or sexual orientation — a comment he has since recanted. Hochul kept her eyes on the camera.
The tangling continued as Suozzi asserted that she had spent Covid relief money “irresponsibly.” Williams complained that Hochul had found money for a stadium for the Buffalo Bills but not for addressing gun violence. Suozzi attacked Hochul for receiving the endorsement of the National Rifle Association a decade ago when she was in Congress.
“She says she’s evolved,” Suozzi said. “The only thing that’s evolved are the governor’s political ambitions.”
When Hochul said she would not raise taxes, Williams countered that “that not-raising-taxes-line is a Republican line that’s meant to protect rich donors.”
It was the second time the three candidates had faced each other. In their first appearance together, on June 7, neither Suozzi nor Williams seemed to change the direction of the race. My colleague Nicholas Fandos writes that there were signs after the encounter on Thursday that Hochul had been bruised, but there was little to suggest that Suozzi or Williams had altered the dynamics of a race that is heading into its final stretch. Early voting begins on Saturday and will run until June 26, two days before the primary.
Hochul, who has raised more than $30 million in campaign contributions — far more than Suozzi or Williams — defended many of her administration’s efforts as works in progress. She touted her collaboration with Mayor Eric Adams on “giving people that sense of security” and protecting those suffering from mental health problems.
But Suozzi did not yield. “We hear the governor’s speech about, ‘we’re spending money on this, we’re going to get to that,’” he said. “Under this administration, they are not safer.”
Suozzi threw his hat in the ring as a centrist determined to cut crime and taxes, and on Thursday, he said he would cut state income taxes by 10 percent. Williams repeatedly tried to tie Hochul to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who chose her to lieutenant governor in 2015 and whom she replaced when he resigned last year.
Expect a partly sunny day with a high near 90 and a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. At night, it’s mostly clear with temps in the mid-60s.
In effect until Monday (Juneteenth).
After getting stuck between a subway car and the platform, a passenger dies
Maybe your briefcase or your purse has gotten caught as the doors closed in the subway car you had just elbowed your way into. Or maybe your foot turned just enough to get caught between the train and the platform as you were getting off. For a terrifying second as you pulled your foot out of the gap or yanked your briefcase or your purse into the train, you thought about the nightmare that could have been.
That nightmare apparently unfolded in Brooklyn late Wednesday night when, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said, a subway rider got stuck between one car of a Q train and an open-air platform at a station and fell onto the tracks. The passenger, identified as Marcus Bryant, 37, was pronounced dead shortly after midnight Thursday.
Police officials said early Thursday that witness accounts suggested Bryant’s clothes had gotten caught in the doors as he stepped out of the train at the Avenue M station in Midwood, Brooklyn. But Richard Davey, the president of New York City Transit — the M.T.A. division that oversees the subway — later contradicted those accounts, and the police said they would defer to the M.T.A.
Davey said Bryant “was caught between the train and the platform” and fell onto the tracks. “We do not believe this was a door incident,” Davey said at a news conference. The police had said the train dragged Bryant along the platform until he fell onto the tracks; it was unclear whether a second train that pulled into the station struck Bryant.
The M.T.A. said cameras at the station were working at the time. But the agency declined to release images because its investigation was still going on.
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In anticipation of Juneteenth
Late one Friday night in May 1937, in the pretelevision heyday of network radio, a broadcast of a concert from Cincinnati ended unexpectedly. The reason wasn’t technical difficulties. “We are sorry, indeed,” a deep-voiced announcer intoned as NBC cut away, “but due to previous commitments, we are unable to remain for the closing moments of this excellent performance.”
“Nobody can explain why,” said Liz Player, the founding executive and artistic director of the Harlem Chamber Players, which will present a performance of the piece that was cut off at the Riverside Church tonight in anticipation of the Juneteenth holiday. “There are people who conjecture that there must have been some racist objections” from listeners because the piece — “The Ordering of Moses” — was written by a Black composer. “But there’s no proof,” she told me. “It’s just suspicions.”
The composer was R. Nathaniel Dett, whom the author and critic Joseph Horowitz described as part of the “substratum of American classical music that quietly coexisted with the glamour” of white conductors like Arturo Toscanini and star performers like Vladimir Horowitz.
Why the broadcast from Cincinnati’s May Festival ended the way it did may well remain a mystery. James Conlon, the music director of the Cincinnati Symphony from 1979 to 2016, told me that “there can’t seem to be any other explanation” than complaints that Dett was Black. But like Player, Conlon said there was “no definitive authority” for that conclusion.
Tammy Kernodle, a musicologist who was the associate editor of the Encyclopedia of African American Music, was familiar with the piece but not the story that the broadcast had been cut off because of objections from listeners. “It’s hard for me to believe that, and I’ll tell you why,” she told me. “There was too much music by Black composers and Black musicians being broadcast on the radio in the 1930s.” And it might be possible that the performance in Cincinnati had run late, a no-no in the time-conscious world of broadcasting.
Player noted that Dett’s oratorio told the biblical story about Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt after a series of plagues. “I’m hoping this is going to be a foreshadowing of our own emergence from the pandemic,” she told me. “I love that Dett takes the spiritual ‘Go Down, Moses,’ which is also a message of Black liberation, and intertwines it throughout the oratorio.”
I was riding downstairs on my building’s service elevator with Mike, the elevator operator.
Suddenly, he stopped at one of the lower floors.
As the door opened, he reached out his hand.
An older woman who was standing there reached in, holding a jar that she apparently hadn’t been able to open.
Mike took the jar, opened it and handed it back with a smile.
“Thank you,” she said.
He closed the door and we continued down.
— Anne Oshman
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.
Glad we could get together here. See you on Monday. — J.B.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Melissa Guerrero, Jeff Boda and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at email@example.com.