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Outside City Hall
July 29th, 2010

Today marked the first time the City Council met in its temporary gathering space in the Emigrant Savings Bank building at 51 Chambers Streets. While the 100-year-old structure offered some amenities — no plaster falling from the ceiling, for one and light fixtures surrounded by stained glass, to name two — the transition came with some glitches.

Chief was noise. The pre-meeting press conference took place in a makeshift curtained-off space that, thanks to the crowds assembling for the council meeting, was so noisy that hearing was difficult even for those a few feet from the podium. In the cramped space, City Council Speaker Quinn worried that her podium might crush the toes of a sandal-shod reporter, while television crews worried about the light pouring into the room.

At the full meeting, Leroy Comrie, who was presiding, repeatedly had to ask council members to speak up so he could hear how they cast their votes. And Quinn’s standard pleas to unruly council members for quiet were even more urgent than usual. Council staff and a reporter had a tiff over how to plug in tape recorders and why, amid all the technology, no one had an extension chord.

The council will use 51 Chambers for meetings and 250 Broadway as office space for an estimated 12 months as the city makes repairs to the council side of City Hall. (The mayor’s side already got a fix up.)

While praising the council’s “home away from home” as she called it, Quinn made it clear she does not want the current digs to become permanent. In a year, Quinn said, “Im going to go back and pull up a folding chair next to Mayor Bloomberg if its not done.”

One possible explanation for Quinn’s impatience: She said she’s OK with her offices at 250 Broadway but her father does not like them.

By on July 29, 2010, 5:31 pm
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