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Carlina Rivera declares ‘decisive victory’ in City Council primary; Christopher Marte beats Lee & Co. even more decisively

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Wed., June 28, 8:30 p.m.: Downtown City Council incumbents fended off opponents’ spirited challenges Tuesday in the Democratic primary election.

In District 2, which includes the East Village, plus Greenwich Village over to Sixth Avenue and stretching up to Kips Bay, Carlina Rivera beat Allie Ryan, with 61 percent of the vote to 39 percent of the vote. Rivera got 4,229 votes to Ryan’s 2,747.

At the same time, in District 1, Christopher Marte took 64 percent of the vote to Susan Lee’s 30 percent. Two other candidates, Ursila Jung had 5 percent and Pooi Stewart 1 percent. Marte got 5,053 votes to Lee’s 2,406, Jung’s 414 and Stewart’s 81 votes.

The winners of the Democratic primaries in solidly blue Downtown Manhattan are all but assured of reelection in November.

City Council districts were recently redrawn a bit, but it didn’t change the local dynamics significantly enough to cause any upsets in the District 1 and 2 races.

Rivera declared “a decisive victory” in the primary.

Carlina Rivera said she is ready to run her “final lap” in the City Council, and also uplift the next generation of leaders.

In a statement, the Lower East Side native pol said, in part, “I am deeply grateful to the people of Council District 2, the communities that raised me and to this day make me who I am, for their enthusiastic support in my reelection to the City Council. I’ve often said it’s the honor of my life to serve the district and the city I love, and I never take for granted that you — my neighbors, my family, my friends — have entrusted me with this responsibility. Suffice to say, I’m eager to continue the work we’ve set into motion since my first election to the Council in 2017.”

Without naming them per se, she touted major initiatives she helped spearhead, including the contentious East Side Coastal Resiliency project — which is clear-cutting East River Park in order to rebuild it higher as a levee — and the Soho/Noho rezoning, which is meant to spur affordable housing creation, though critics scoff it’s just opening the neighborhoods to luxury developers, as well as the 14th Street “Tech Hub,” which will have a job-training center, but which opponents argued should have also come with a protective rezoning for the surrounding area.

“Together, we have expanded access to healthcare for New Yorkers who might otherwise go without,” Rivera said, “invested in climate justice and resiliency to a historic degree, fought to create more affordable housing and hold those standing in the way to account, and increased accessibility and inclusion in the design of our parks and other public spaces. We took our rightful place as the leaders we know we can be with the nation’s first municipally funded abortion access fund, in a time when access to reproductive healthcare is being decimated all over the country. We’ve brought over a billion dollars into the district we all know and love, from Kips Bay to the Lower East Side, to improve our community centers, youth and senior programming, hospitals, public safety, job-training centers and access to mental healthcare and other social services.

“And yet,” she said, “we know the work is far from over in making ours the more equitable and just city we all deserve. No matter the fight, be it for public transit improvements and safer streets or fully supporting our public schools and libraries, I’m honored to stay in this with you for another two years, and I have so much hope and faith in the coalitions we’ve built to pass meaningful policy over the past five.”

Although she won reelection, this will be her last City Council term. Who her anointed successor will be remains to be seen.

“Due to term limits,” Rivera continued, “I will not run for reelection in 2025, and I am eager to run this final lap with strength, compassion and integrity as I have aimed to do throughout my tenure. …I have every intention to lift up the next generation of leadership in our district as appropriate, so they are prepared to continue the work we’ve so diligently pursued. But in the meantime, I remain grateful to the people of District 2 for putting their trust in me and my team for one last term, and I’m proud to keep representing them in City Hall.”

Rivera strategically ducked any debates with Ryan during the campaign, apparently feeling they would only help her opponent, who would attack her record in office. Despite Rivera being a no-show, Village Preservation did a “debate” Zoom with just Ryan. Another debate planned by a local media outlet was called off, apparently after Rivera declined to participate.

Allie Ryan and her husband, Chris, far left, gathered after the election with activists who fought with Ryan to try to save East River Park from demolition for a coastal resiliency project. (Courtesy Allie Ryan)

In a statement to The Village Sun, Ryan said, “I offer my congratulations to Councilmember Rivera on being the Democratic Party nominee for Council District 2. I am proud that my campaign secured 40 percent of the vote through a constituent-funded campaign without the support of any Democrat clubs nor coverage in the major press.

“To Council District 2 residents, I encourage you to reach out to Ms. Rivera’s office to share the concerns that you have shared with me on the campaign trail:

“1. Create informed REGULATIONS for e-bikes and e-scooters to make the streets and sidewalks safer.

“2. Uphold Ms. Rivera’s campaign PROMISE to save Morton Williams supermarket and the community garden at the corner of LaGuardia Place and Bleecker Street, as well as advocate for ADAPTIVE REUSE of existing buildings as opposed to greenlighting another forced rezoning.

“3. Advocate for a congestion pricing flat EXEMPTION for residents who live in the ‘Central Business District,’ which includes Council District 2.

“4. Pass the Small Business legislation (S.B.J.S.A.) that gives small businesses real rights at the negotiating table and will help end the days of vacant storefronts and loss of mom-and-pop business-provided jobs. Tell Ms. Rivera to recuse herself as prime sponsor of the landlord-friendly Commercial Rent Stabilization Act (Intro 93), which creates a rent guidelines board for storefronts.

“Finally, I hope Ms. Rivera has heard the message from environmentalists, NYCHA residents and all constituents, paying attention and will schedule an oversight hearing for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Plan (E.S.C.R.) and call for real-time air-monitoring results, address residents’ concerns about how the park will look, commission a decking study [for a park deck over the F.D.R. Drive] and drastically reduce artificial turf in favor of real grass.

Allie Ryan in a selfie with a supporter during early voting. (Photo by Allie Ryan)

“I am grateful for the right to vote,” Ryan said. “I encourage everyone to accept the will of the majority of voters. As there is no challenger in the general election, Ms. Rivera is not just the Democratic Party nominee, but most likely to be reelected for a final term in November.

“I am proud that I ran a campaign based on substance. My campaign gave voice to constituents frustrated with the status quo of elected officials ignoring residents and having to file lawsuits against the city to repeal legislation and land-use deals that directly adversely impact residents.

“To my supporters, thank you for advancing and supporting and voting for my campaign. Please continue to advocate for the issues you feel passionately about, such as public space, small businesses and preserving the character of our neighborhoods. For those of you who worked on my campaign, thank you! I enjoyed working with you!”

Ryan’s supporters, meanwhile, cheered her for running a strong, grassroots campaign, without any establishment political support to speak of.

“So about 8,000 folks voted in District 2. I’m really impressed Allie got 40 percent — I didn’t think in my wildest dream she could,” a longtime East Village activist posted on, though not publishing his name publicly. “To get the next 10 percent, a candidate would need big bucks and backing of political clubs, of which she had none. However, best showing ever in our neighborhood against the powers that be.”

Marte declared victory at a post-election party Tuesday night at the ironically named Lee’s, an event space on Canal Street.

Speaking to The Village Sun the next day, he said, “All the work that we’ve been putting in… . People believe in our message and believe that we have a mandate to fight displacement and to protect 24-hour healthcare workers. That, whether you’re a gardener at Elizabeth Street Garden or a resident in Soho, you have a voice in City Hall.

“Even though we’ve only been in office for a year and a half, we have a track record. We’ve done capital projects in New York City Housing Authority buildings and our school buildings — which are some of the older school buildings — fixing potholes, not compromising against Big Real Estate.”

Susan Lee and her supporters hit Marte for having previously advocated for defunding the police and also for not passing any bills in the City Council. On primary day, the Police Benevolent Association — the New York Police Department union — sent a truck with LED panels around the district flashing anti-Marte slogans. But Marte didn’t go negative in return.

“Our opponents went extremely negative,” he said. “They went extremely low. We ran a pretty clean campaign. I think voters saw crystal clear through it.”

Marte added that he didn’t take any contributions from PACs.

“When you look at a lot of the other incumbents that got around 60 percent of the vote, we were the only incumbent that won that wasn’t supported by a super PAC. For us, it has always been about the community and taking special interests out of politics.”

Marte said that, the morning after the election, he was on the phone with Elizabeth Street Garden activists to brainstorm about how to address their recent stunning loss in court, as the city now has been given a green light to develop housing on the Little Italy site.

“It’s never an easy road,” Marte reflected, though also adding, “never a done deal.”

Lee did not respond to a request for comment on her loss.

The Downtown Independent Democrats club, which prominently endorsed Marte, celebrated his “victory for our neighbors over big developers and outside interests.”

In a statement, the club said, “Voters recognized that Councilmember Marte has consistently stood up for community interests, been focused on and responsive to community needs, and worked against luxury developers and the violence of displacement.

“By nearly two to one, voters from the Lower East Side to Chinatown, from Tribeca to Battery Park City came together in force to reelect our friend and neighbor Councilmember Marte, embracing unity over division. With this mandate, together, we will end the horror of the 24-hour workday for home attendants, pass the Chinatown Working Group managed development plan, preserve and expand affordable housing, and get the job done.”

The club’s president, Richard Corman, said, “D.I.D. was proud to fight for Chris — because he fights for us.”


  1. John John July 2, 2023

    Wow — I’m shocked to see the support for Ryan in these comments. Her entire platform was NIMBYism. For better or for worse, we need development and revitalization to address our housing shortage and climate change.

    • lisa lisa July 3, 2023

      Actually there is a lot of housing that is held vacant (for eventual building sale/luxury development); is used for Airbnb; is used for second homes – pied a terre.

      Even NYCHA has many vacant units as they are pending repair.

      And massive development already taking place anyway – like LES Two Bridges, the continuing teardown of the East Village and everywhere else.

  2. JS JS July 1, 2023

    It would be nice if Rivera would show her gratefulness to the community and support her constituents’ concerns in dealing with rampant real estate development, the ‘permanent’ outdoor dining sheds, etc. Her positions are anathema to District 2. Fortunately, she’s term-limited and, hopefully, CODA won’t cough up another career politician to run in District 2.

  3. Hélène Volat Hélène Volat June 29, 2023

    Rivera is an opportunist who was in the pocket of developers. I supported and campaigned for Allie and I am glad I did. I hope she runs again.

  4. Amina Ali Amina Ali June 29, 2023

    Is there any way to see a breakdown of how neighborhoods voted?

  5. Amy Berkov Amy Berkov June 29, 2023

    Thank you, Allie. Here’s to Allie 2025!

  6. Carol from East 5th Street Carol from East 5th Street June 28, 2023

    Although Allie didn’t win she did get almost 40% of the vote. Hope that’s a message to Carlina that her popularity is slipping. Erin Hussein only got 27% of the vote when she ran against Carlina in 2021..
    My guess it Kips Bay voted for a familiar name. Wait until they start losing buildings to big real estate.

  7. Amina Amina June 28, 2023

    Why didn’t DID endorse either candidate in District 2?

    • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | June 28, 2023

      Per D.I.D.’s “D-Notes”:

      Second Council District

      Council District 2, recently redistricted to now
      include NoHo and central Greenwich Village,
      covers parts of the Lower East Side, the East
      Village, and extends as far north as East 33rd Street.
      Incumbent Carlina Rivera is facing a challenge
      from community activist Allie Ryan.
      However, both candidates have taken positions on
      certain issues that are inconsistent with our
      Consequently, Downtown Independent Democrats
      has not endorsed either candidate in this election.

      • Amina Amina June 29, 2023

        I wonder what were the issues with Ryan.

        • The Village Sun The Village Sun Post author | June 29, 2023

          Reportedly, it was her stance on education that some club members took issue with.

  8. Marilyn Stevenson Marilyn Stevenson June 28, 2023

    Pagan never built any housing at all.

    • Gojira Gojira July 3, 2023

      Not only did Pagan build housing while he ran LES Housing Coalition, he was responsible for helping to plan and put in place any number of affordable units that were sold to local residents through a lottery — applicants had to live in the neighborhood and were allowed a maximum income of $75,000; that allowed plenty of people who had grown up here but could not afford to rent or buy a chance to stay in their neighborhood. Some half a dozen of these buildings were put up in the late 1990s; more were slated to be built but Margarita Lopez, upon becoming councilwoman, killed the project, so all the lots this neighborhood housing was supposed to go up in was given to market-rate developers instead. Learn your history, Marilyn, don’t just be a mindless hater.

  9. Gojira Gojira June 28, 2023

    District 2 doesn’t welcome it, the lying shill for the real estate industry currently befouling its environs is. And despite what her constituents might want, and despite what she might say in her mailings and speeches, Carlina cares only about…Carlina.

    Also, whatever Marilyn Stevenson might think of him, the reality is that Antonio Pagan focused on building housing for low- and moderate-income families. He never once built market-rate or luxury housing, and I defy her to prove me wrong.

  10. Susan Ensley Susan Ensley June 28, 2023

    Evidently District 2 welcomes more real estate development into their neighborhoods – likely for reasons of economy. District 1 is content with fewer changes in development, seemingly more interested in stability, and the voters in District 1 for their own reasons, which I will not guess, have chosen change.

  11. JF Hyer JF Hyer June 28, 2023

    How can our two districts be so different? Rivera and Marte are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I don’t understand why District 2 votes for the real estate industry and District 1 doesn’t (anymore – since Margaret Chin).

    Congrats to Allie Ryan on running an inspired and inspiring campaign.

    • Have Memory — Will Wonk Have Memory — Will Wonk June 28, 2023

      “How can our two districts be so different? “

      Downtown Independent Democrats, DID, is the predominant club in CD1.
      Rivera’s club is the predominant club in CD2.

      Moreover, Chin was defeated three times, starting in 1991, before she finally won in 2009.

      She won that year because she was the only Chinese-American candidate competing against five non-Chinese-American candidates in a district that years earlier, 1990, Chin — who was a NYS Democratic Committee member at the time — got gerrymandered in order to get a Chinatown candidate (herself) elected.

      However, when it was one-on-one four years later in 2013, incumbent Chin only won by about 5% against Jenifer Rajkumar and in 2017 by about 1% against Marte. That slim margin is telling because both of these candidates at the time were basically unknown in the political arena. They had DID support.

      All politics is local.

  12. Marilyn Stevenson Marilyn Stevenson June 28, 2023

    Typical stump speech and people will buy this. It’s a shame as Allie Ryan is the real deal; Rivera is just another real estate hack. Maybe next time. CODA should go the way of Antonio Pagan.

    • SVN SVN June 28, 2023

      Could not agree more! Allie is amazing, and I hope she will run again.

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