In Subway, Activist Records Stop-and-Frisk He Says Proves Its Dark Side

The video shows a police officer striding toward a young man standing on a platform at the 45th Street subway station in Brooklyn. A few seconds later, the officer pats him down. Shortly afterward, the young man appears to fidget against a wall and the officer slams him to the ground, ripping a subway ad from the wall in the process. The officer does it again, then puts the young man in a headlock and handcuffs him.

That scene was captured by David Galarza, a local activist, who said he recorded it last Thursday night. At a news conference on Thursday in Brooklyn, Mr. Galarza and other local activists said the officer’s confrontation with the young man, Sean Pagan, 19, was another example of the police’s mistreatment of the predominantly Hispanic and Asian residents of Sunset Park.

This time, however, they say they have a video to support their contention.

“These are young people of color who are victimized many times, and this kind of excessive force, sometimes it’s captured, sometimes not,” Mr. Galarza said before screening the video for reporters at a Latino community center in Sunset Park. “There was an arrest of a young man, but not of the officer who did the groping, and who did the choking.”

Mr. Galarza said he had witnessed many instances of police violence, so he instinctively pulled out his phone to film when he saw the officer approaching Mr. Pagan, who works at a clothing factory nearby. Mr. Pagan said he was waiting for the train to Coney Island when the officer told him to put his hands against the wall. The officer searched him, he said, and then Mr. Pagan found himself on the ground.

Mr. Pagan said he did not know why he had been stopped in the first place, but a police spokesman said Mr. Pagan had entered the subway station without paying, then refused to show the officer his identification and resisted arrest. He was charged with theft of services and resisting arrest. According to the police, Mr. Pagan had been arrested nine times prior to last Thursday and once since then, for offenses including criminal mischief, creating graffiti, intent to damage property, telephone harassment and criminal contempt.

Mr. Pagan, who is Hispanic, said the officers at the precinct house where he was taken joked and laughed about his body-slamming.

Without the video, he said, he would not have known how to draw attention to his arrest. Even his mother did not believe his story until she saw the video, he said.

“It would’ve been his word over mine,” he said. “He would’ve said I was resisting and going crazy. It would’ve been brushed under the rug.”

The Rev. Samuel Cruz, a pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sunset Park, said he had spoken with a public relations officer at the 72nd police precinct house about the episode. But he said it seemed clear that the officer was not going to look into the matter. Mr. Pagan’s lawyer, David Rankin, said Thursday that they had not yet decided what action to pursue, if any.

During the news conference, Mr. Galarza and Mr. Cruz spoke against what they called police brutality and the atmosphere of fear they say it has created in Sunset Park. Mr. Cruz said he would give video cameras to members of his congregation so they, too, could record evidence of police misconduct.

They, like other activists across the city, have criticized the Police Department’s so-called stop-and-frisk practice for disproportionately targeting young minority men, like Mr. Pagan. In recent months, attention to the issue has grown, and last month thousands of people took part in a silent march to protest the tactic. But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg contends it has contributed to a reduction in crime.

Mr. Pagan said he had been stopped and frisked about five times before.

Mr. Rankin insisted that his client had complied with the officer’s search. “There was no reason for this officer to do this invasive of a search at all,” he said. “From that overreaching, even just a twitch results in two body slams to the floor.”

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Two Dozen Firefighters Hurt in Brooklyn Fire

A fire in an apartment building in Brooklyn on Thursday sent two dozen firefighters to the hospital for injuries mostly related to heat exhaustion, a spokesman for the New York City Fire Department said.

The fire is believed to have been started by lightning and tore across the top floor of the seven-story building at 665 New York Avenue, the spokesman, Frank Dwyer, said. The building has more than 100 apartments.

More than 200 firefighters worked over three and a half hours to bring the fire under control.

The injuries were mostly minor, although one firefighter reported that he was experiencing chest pains, Mr. Dwyer said.

The fire began shortly after 10 a.m. There were multiple lightning strikes in the area, Mr. Dwyer said, adding that about 15 minutes earlier a building just a few blocks away had been struck.

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Fond Memories Uptown, Near George Jefferson’s Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

Officially, the high-rise at 185 East 85th Street has a name: Park Lane Towers.

“But nobody calls it that,” said Rod Behren, who has lived there for more than a decade. “The de facto name of the building is ‘the Jeffersons’ building.’ You meet people. They say, ‘Where do you live?’ You say, ‘85th and Third.’ They say, ‘Oh, the Jeffersons’ building.’ ”

The world remembered the building, seen week after week in the opening sequence of the long-running CBS sitcom, as it remembered Sherman Hemsley, the actor who played the excitable George Jefferson. Mr. Hemsley died on Tuesday at age 74. And on Wednesday, Matt Hamme stood in the lobby and remembered what it was like to live there when “The Jeffersons,” which ran from 1975 to 1985, was a highly watched show.

Mr. Hamme, now 32, grew up in the building. He said he used to run to the window and wave when “The Jeffersons” came on. Even when he was only 3 or 4 years old, he said, he could recognize the show’s theme song, with its lyric about “moving on up to the East Side.”

“I thought it was live,” said Mr. Hamme, a former assistant football coach at Columbia University who still lives in the building. “I thought I would be on TV” — because, week after week, the camera tilted up, showing his window, along with the distinctive semicircular balconies at the corners of the building.

It did not occur to him that the opening sequence had been filmed and that nobody out there in television land could see him. He said he did not figure that out until later, “probably after I realized there was no Santa Claus.”

People still believe that Archie Bunker’s next-door neighbor on left Queens for Manhattan — and moved into the building, said Leo Torres, a doorman at the building. “People come in from the street looking for George Jefferson,” he said. “I tell them he doesn’t live here; they just filmed the scene where he enters the building here.”

Except that they didn’t. “That is not the building,” said Damon Evans, one of the actors who played Lionel on the show.

After the external shots of 185 East 85th Street, he said, Mr. Hemsley and Isabel Sanford, who played his wife, Louise, or Weezy, are actually shown walking into a building in Santa Monica, Calif.

“Sherman and Isabel would say to me, ‘Everyone thinks we shot that in New York, but we shot it in Santa Monica,” Mr. Evans said. “I just took it for granted that the building was in Santa Monica, too. I didn’t realize there was a 185 East 85th Street until she told me. I thought, ‘Oh, they found a high-rise building in Santa Monica that looked like New York.’ ”

Apparently not. An assistant to Norman Lear, who developed “The Jeffersons,” said on Wednesday that it was “likely” that the two stars had been filmed in Santa Monica. Footage shot in New York — of the building, of a moving van going from Queens to Manhattan trailed by a taxi — would have been interspersed with close-ups of Mr. Hemsley and Ms. Sanford.

But apparently, they were in a California cab pulling up to a California doorway. The close-ups were so tight that most viewers never noticed.

And, on the subject of details, some Web sites list the East Side building as Park Lane Tower, not Park Lane Towers, with an “s” on the end, as Mr. Torres spelled it.

Either way, 185 East 85th Street made an impression. “That building inspired me,” said Georgette Blau, who started a sightseeing service that specializes in taking tourists to places they have seen on television or in movies. She said she got the idea for her business in 1998, a couple of years after she graduated from college.

Ms. Blau, who was working at a publishing house at the time, was walking along East 86th Street when she recognized the building from the back. “I said, ‘I can’t believe it’s the building from ‘The Jeffersons,’ ” she said. “I had a book at home that had TV locations around the country. It mentioned that one and other ones like the ‘Friends’ one.”

One thing led to another, and now she has 50 employees.

Mr. Torres said he had had to deal with a police officer and even former cast members. The officer was answering a call from a tenant. “First thing he said was, ‘I want to speak to Weezy,’ ” Mr. Torres said. “I looked at him like he was crazy.”

“And I’ve thrown Mr. Bentley out personally,” Mr. Torres said, referring to the actor Paul Benedict, who played the Jeffersons’ next-door neighbor. “Three times he showed up with E! Entertainment. I told him, ‘Mr. Bentley, you’ve got to keep moving.’ ”

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City Joins Resident in Asking Supreme Court to Strike Down U.S. Marriage Law

A day after the anniversary of the first legal same-sex marriages in New York, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday declaring the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

The city filed its brief in the case of Edith Windsor, 83, of Greenwich Village. The Defense of Marriage Act forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, and Ms. Windsor is suing the government over estate taxes she was forced to pay after her partner, Thea Spyer, whom she wed in Canada in 2007, died in 2009. Had she been married to a man, Ms. Windsor’s inheritance taxes would have been more than $360,000 smaller.

In a telephone interview, Ms. Quinn, who married her own longtime partner in May, said it was important to get involved in the case in order to support Ms. Windsor because she is a city resident and “there is no city with a louder and more important voice than the City of New York” on the issue of same-sex marriage.

“This deserves to be heard by the highest court,” Ms. Quinn said. “It runs so counter to the concept of what it means to be an American.”

In a statement, Mr. Bloomberg said, “Government has no business treating one group different than another and New York City will continue to stand against DOMA for such discrimination.”

The city has affixed its signature to briefs challenging the Defense of Marriage Act in the past, including one case in Massachusetts and another in California, but this is the first time it has submitted its own brief denouncing the law. The New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, filed a brief in the Windsor case last year.

The city’s brief asserts that the Defense of Marriage Act forces New York City to discriminate against its residents and employees, and that it violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.

The Obama administration announced last year that it believed the law to be unconstitutional and would no longer defend it. The House of Representatives has taken up the law’s defense. The office of the House speaker, John A. Boehner, did not respond to a request for comment this week on the city’s filing.

A judge in Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled in Ms. Windsor’s favor in June. An appeal is scheduled to be heard in September by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. But gay rights advocates are already looking to the Supreme Court; Ms. Windsor is preemptively requesting that the court take up her case when it resumes hearing arguments in October, perhaps along with the Massachusetts and California cases.

New York City Brief in Windsor v. United States (PDF)

New York City Brief in Windsor v. United States (Text)

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Accusations of Police Misconduct Documented in Lawyers’ Report on Occupy Protests

During Occupy Wall Street protests New York police officers obstructed news reporters and legal observers, conducted frequent surveillance, wrongly limited public gatherings and enforced arbitrary rules, a group of lawyers said in a lengthy report issued on Wednesday.

The group, called the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, which included people involved with the law clinics at New York University School of Law and Fordham Law School, said that they had cataloged hundreds of instances of what they described as excessive force and other forms of police misconduct said to have taken place since September, when the Occupy Wall Street movement began.

Although the report referred to some well-known events, including Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna’s use of pepper spray, it also detailed specific instances of alleged misconduct that had not appeared in news reports.

For instance, the report described a cafe employee stepping out of his workplace on Sept. 24 and using a camera to document arrests near Union Square before being confronted by a senior officer. The report went on to state: “Video then shows the officer grabbing the employee by the wrist, and flipping him hard to the ground face-first, in what was described as a ‘judo-flip.’  The employee stated that he was subsequently charged with ‘blocking traffic’ and ‘obstructing justice’.”

In a more recent episode, Sarah Knuckey, a law professor and one of the report’s authors, said she witnessed a police commander grab a man who was complaining of an injured shoulder while being arrested during a student march on May 30. Ms. Knuckey said that the commander repeatedly shoved the man’s shoulder while handcuffing him, then cursed and accused him of lying, when he shouted in pain. Shortly afterward, Ms. Knuckey said, emergency medical technicians determined that the man had a broken clavicle.

The report complained that there had been “near-complete impunity for alleged abuses” and said that the conduct amounted to a “a complex mapping of protest suppression.”

There have been hundreds of gatherings and marches and more than 2,000 arrests in New York City since the Occupy protests began last fall.  During that time, Ms. Knuckey said, many police officers had acted in an exemplary fashion. But, she added, multiple episodes of intimidation had created a pattern of disturbing and unlawful behavior.

A police department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  The report’s authors said that senior members of the police department cited continuing litigation in declining to talk with them.

In May, an assistant deputy commissioner in the police department’s legal bureau wrote to the authors, saying that the Police Department considered its actions lawful and added that the police “had accommodated on an almost daily basis since last fall numerous large groups of demonstrators and marchers, all with virtually no cooperation, notice or advance planning from Occupy Wall Street representatives.”

In addition to detailing 130 instances of what was described as excessive or unnecessary force, the report said that officers often stopped news reporters or legal monitors from witnessing such events.

The report also describes instances in which the authors say officers have chilled First Amendment expression through near constant surveillance with video cameras and by sometimes questioning protesters about political activities. The report also described a common practice of preventing protesters from gathering in areas that are open to the public, like parks, plazas and sidewalks.

“Attempts by protesters to understand the basis for the closure, or obtain clear directions from the police are most often ignored or answered perfunctorily,” the report stated. “Sometimes queries are answered with an arrest threat or an arrest.”

The authors called for the city to establish an inspector general to oversee the police department, a review of the city’s response to the protests, the prosecution of officers found to have broken laws and the creation of new guidelines for policing protests. If the city did not respond, the authors said, they would ask the United States Department of Justice to investigate their complaints.


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Two Charged in Fatal Shooting of 4-Year-Old in the Bronx

On Sunday afternoon, Courtney Kelly had brought together residents of a housing complex in the Bronx and others for a basketball tournament in honor of his younger sister, who was murdered in July 2010.

He also, according to the authorities, brought a gun, and by the end of the night a 4-year-old boy lay dead from a gunshot to the head as a panicked crowd scattered amid a shootout.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kelly, 26, who remains in a hospital recovering from a gunshot wound to the stomach, was charged with criminal gun possession, the police said. Investigators also arrested and charged a 17-year-old, Rondell Pinkerton, with murder and gun possession in connection with the shootout that killed the 4-year-old, Lloyd Morgan, who was playing in a playground near the Forest Houses with other children just after 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Another man, Christopher Forte, 21, was shot in the arm as he walked near the bleachers. Mr. Forte, who had surgery on his arm Tuesday afternoon, was at St. Barnabas Hospital in stable condition on Wednesday.

The boy’s mother, Shianne Norman, said her son loved basketball and dreamed of playing in the National Basketball Association. “I really feel like this is senseless,’’ Ms. Norman said through anguished sobs on Monday. “My son was 4 years old. He just turned 4 this May that just passed. He was going to school in September. He hasn’t gotten to live his life yet.”

Investigators were still piecing together the details of what happened on Sunday night, and it is unclear what role Mr. Kelly played in the shootout. Additional charges against Mr. Kelly and others could be filed, the police said. At the time of the shooting, Mr. Kelly, who detectives believe is a member of the Bloods gang, was on parole for robbery. He had violated his parole and there was a warrant out for his arrest, the police said.

Investigators found shell casings from three different caliber weapons near the playground and the basketball court where the tournament was held, and they believe at least two gunmen, possibly more, were exchanging fire.

Mr. Kelly, whose age the police had mistakenly listed as 27, organized the basketball tournament to honor his sister, Troynisha Harris, 18, who was stabbed to death in July 2010 as she sat outside the Forest Houses on East 165th Street.

Sabrina Kelly, the mother of Courtney Kelly and Troynisha Harris, attended a Monday night rally, where she, along with politicians and community leaders, called for an end to the violence in the neighborhood.

“You’ve got to take these guns off the street,” Ms. Kelly said during the rally.

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Memories of Sylvia’s

Long before the Red Rooster showed up in Harlem, before the buses came teeming with tourists, there was Sylvia’s. Opened in 1962 by Sylvia Woods, a waitress from Hemingway, S.C., the restaurant started tiny, then grew and grew, becoming a place visited by nearly every local politician, music mogul and civic leader. Ms. Woods published cookbooks, hobnobbed with celebrities and became a brand long before the word became fashionable. Interviews have been condensed and edited.

Whether the food was great was a source of some debate, but the restaurant’s influence was not. Here, after Ms. Woods’s death at 86 from Alzheimer’s last Thursday, some of her best-known patrons recall the time they spent there:

Seymour Stein, founder of Sire Records When I was in my teens, maybe 17 or 18 years old, I’d come up to 125th Street and hang out at the Record Shack with people like Bobby Robinson, who was the one that discovered Gladys Knight and the Pips on “Every Beat of My Heart.” He had Fanny Mae by Buster Brown and a lot of the great doo-wop records. Sylvia’s came along, and it was just a great place to eat. There were some places before that but nothing as good. I ate the ribs and the fried chicken. The fried chicken more. Don’t remind me of it. I’m on a diet.

Al Sharpton James Brown brought me the first time. I was heading the National Youth Movement, and James was one of my biggest supporters. His son was in my group. When Sylvia’s first opened, it was a counter. Frank’s was the only other [destination] restaurant, but it wasn’t black-owned so he wanted to help a homegirl. I would eat the fried chicken. James ate catfish and greens. I took Obama there in 2007 when he had the big fund-raiser at the Apollo. I was on a diet by that point, but he had the fried chicken.

Ed Koch, former mayor of New York I would go about twice a year. The food is a little heavy but there’s lots of it, and Sylvia was a very gracious host. Whatever I had, I got greens with it. They made marvelous greens.

Doug E. Fresh, rapper and owner of the Harlem restaurant Doug E’s It was like coming home to your aunt or your mama’s house. It was really warm and the food was unbelievable. I used to take Michael Bivins from New Edition there. And I would go with Puffy when he first started. He used to help me with my styling, and I went there and talked to him about negotiating his contract with Uptown before he got his deal. It was the mecca of soul food. I was inspired to open my own restaurant because of Sylvia. There wouldn’t be a Red Rooster without Sylvia’s.

Elizabeth Berger, head of the Downtown Alliance I first got to know Sylvia and her son Van in the mid ’80s. My husband and I used to go up for Amateur Night at the Apollo when I was working for Ed Koch. I was an avid WBLS listener, and I would walk around in my purple satin WBLS jacket. Most people we knew were not going to Harlem. Then one night we wanted to have dinner after the show and someone said, “Go to Sylvia’s.” We had no idea what Sylvia’s was, but we walked in and were immediately embraced by this waitress named Melba. Within five minutes it was like we were regulars. Sylvia was from South Carolina, and she treated New York like it was a small town.

Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone Ahmet Ertegun loved it, so I went with him. We had a little party before the Rock and Hall of Fame [induction ceremony], some years back — 20 or 30 of us went there. Solomon Burke came and we had a little jam session with him. I don’t recall ever going for the food, but it was a fun hangout.

Gayle King, co-anchor of “CBS This Morning” Even before I came to New York, I’d heard of Sylvia’s. And I’m glad I came. I met people from foreign countries. It wasn’t just Americans. One person didn’t even know what soul food was but she said, “I had to come here.” Everybody’s been there.

Marvet Britto, founder of the Britto Agency, and publicist over the years to Angela Bassett, Foxy Brown and Mariah Carey It was the first meal I had in New York. I went with [record producer] Maurice Starr and several guys from New Kids on the Block. It was a little weird having those Boston kids in Harlem eating soul food, but this was in 1990, at the tipping point of urban culture becoming mass culture. I would see Queen Latifah and Doug E. Fresh, the girls from Salt-N-Pepa, Jay-Z and Damon Dash. Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley had standing tables. It was the Elaine’s for the urban community. Lots of African-Americans have moved away. It’s definitely gotten more touristy. And the way people eat has changed.

Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Recordings and Phat Farm
I used to come a lot. Then I became a vegan.

Edward Hayes, defense attorney I went with some black detectives. This was when I was an assistant D.A. We ate Southern pork chops and grits, but my favorite thing was looking at the women. They were my favorite thing on the menu.

Gordon Davis, former president of Lincoln Center and parks commissioner under Mr. Koch We haven’t gone much in recent years. There’s a lot of competition and a lot of tourists. They came on the buses and the stops were the Abyssinian Baptist Church, other churches in Harlem and Sylvia’s. We all love tourists, but her death, sadly, may be the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Interviews have been condensed and edited.

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Mysterious Cuomo Memo Is Still a State Secret, but Now You Can Read It

ALBANY — In recent weeks, aides to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have been concerned about keeping secret a 2007 memo written by a top aide to the governor, Linda Lacewell, when Mr. Cuomo was attorney general.

An article published Monday night by The New York Times detailed how Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration has been editing his record as New York attorney general, sending aides to the state archives and removing documents from public view. The administration has been particularly concerned about a memo written by Ms. Lacewell in August 2007, a month after Mr. Cuomo’s office published a report stemming from its headline-making inquiry into the use of the State Police for political purposes — an investigation known as “Troopergate.”

A copy of the memo has been in the possession of The Times-Union of Albany for more than two months. Reporters from the paper obtained it before the Cuomo administration removed the memo from public view at the archives. And on Tuesday afternoon, the newspaper published the memo on its Web site.

So what does it say?

First, the back story. The investigation by Mr. Cuomo damaged the administration of Eliot Spitzer, who was the governor, and largely exonerated Mr. Spitzer’s chief political rival, Joseph L. Bruno, who was the State Senate majority leader. Spitzer administration officials had claimed that Mr. Bruno was using state helicopters to travel to political events; Mr. Bruno had said he had done nothing improper and accused Mr. Spitzer’s staff of improperly using the State Police to compile and release his travel records.

Mr. Cuomo’s investigators concluded that because so-called mixed-use trips, which combine official and political business, were permissible at the time, “there is no legal basis to conclude that Senator Bruno’s use of state aircraft violated any state policy.”

The memo obtained by The Times-Union is a summary of the investigation, written by Ms. Lacewell, that lists Mr. Bruno’s trips and provides a synopsis of the attorney general’s findings in each one. Cuomo administration officials have been particularly concerned about one passage of the document, in which Ms. Lacewell described “a fact we did not note in the report,” that on one occasion, Mr. Bruno made a return flight to Albany on a day in which he had no official business, though official business had been conducted the previous day. Administration officials are most likely concerned that the passage might bolster concerns raised by Mr. Spitzer and his former aides that potential transgressions by Mr. Bruno were not fully examined.

But Cuomo administration officials say the passage was simply erroneous.

“The memo is technically incorrect,” Richard Bamberger, the governor’s communications director, said. Mr. Bamberger pointed out that the final investigatory report does, in fact, refer to the day Mr. Bruno flew without official business.

Although the document can now be viewed on The Times-Union Web site, it cannot be found at the state archives, because Cuomo aides recently removed it from public view, along with all other documents related to the investigation. Mr. Cuomo’s aides say the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege and as “work product,” and say the memo published by The Times-Union names witnesses who had spoken to investigators with the expectation that their names would remain confidential.

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Green Explored: Compressed Gas Vehicles

Lindsay Leveen, an expert witness and technical consultant for CRI, has written a great blog post regarding vehicles operating on natural gas. Click here or follow the link below to read the article.

http://www.greenexplored.com/2012/07/compressed-gas-vehicles.html

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For Mayor, the Time to Discuss Gun Control Is Now

On some issues, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg invokes wisdom that was given form in the distant reaches of time. Not being the most introspective of men, he may not even be aware he is doing this. Nonetheless, on certain matters that he cares deeply about, Mr. Bloomberg echoes concepts expressed 2,000 years ago by a titan of Jewish scholarship, Hillel the Elder.

The Day

Clyde Haberman offers his take on the news.

Hillel succinctly articulated people’s obligations to themselves and to others in a two-sentence construction often translated from Hebrew this way: “If I am not for myself, who will be? And if I am only for myself, what am I?” A third admonition cautioned against delaying the performance of one’s duty: “And if not now, when?”

Five years ago, when the mayor announced his blueprint for a more environmentally friendly New York, he seemed to channel his inner Hillel when he said, “If we don’t act now, when?” He won huge applause with that line.

He has now returned to that theme in rebuking both President Obama and Mitt Romney for summoning little more than isn’t-it-awful and we-share-your-tears sentiments after the insane movie-theater shootings in Aurora, Colo. Where, Mr. Bloomberg asked, is the substantive discussion about reining in a gun culture that worships Second Amendment absolutism over preserving life?

Monday morning, he appeared on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe.” That program’s co-host, Joe Scarborough, had aligned himself with those who say this isn’t the time to talk about even minimal, sensible measures of gun control. It is “unbecoming” to do so right after the cataclysm in Colorado, Mr. Scarborough said. “Let’s have this debate in a week,” he said. “Let’s have this debate in two weeks.”

Sure. Why not in two months, or two years?

Mr. Bloomberg, in another Hillel moment, was having none of it. “People say, ‘Well, you shouldn’t address it now because we’re in a time of crisis and mourning,’” he said. “Yeah, well, 18 months since Arizona” — the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others outside Tucson in January 2011 — “and we did nothing. If not now, when are you going to do this?”

When indeed?

In all likelihood, the mayor’s latest comments will lead to more invective aimed at him by the National Rifle Association or its fellow travelers. To them, he is practically Public Enemy No. 1. Mr. Bloomberg is used to it. If one is judged in part by his enemies, he may even welcome it. Nor may he mind criticism clearly directed at him by the ever-voluble Chris Christie, New Jersey’s governor. Mr. Christie complained on Monday about “politicians who in the immediate aftermath of this kind of tragedy try to grandstand on it.” Considering the source, the mayor is likely to shrug that one off.

Not that Mr. Bloomberg doesn’t run off the rails himself at times. He did so last week when he described the New York Civil Liberties Union as being “no better than the N.R.A.” in its criticism of the Police Department’s so-called stop-and-frisk policies. Both groups, he said, were more concerned with “protecting their ideology” than ensuring that people can walk the streets safely. This linkage seemed a stretch worthy of Silly Putty.

But he was on the mark when he described himself as different from lawmakers and others at the national level who do not have to live with the consequences of their actions or their inaction. A mayor, he said, has no such luxury, a point painfully reinforced Sunday night when another gun-toting lowlife fired shots in a Bronx playground and killed a 4-year-old boy, Lloyd Morgan.

“Mayors are in the solutions business,” Mr. Bloomberg said, adding that “all we’re talking about here are reasonable restrictions” — like regulations that might have made it more difficult for someone like James E. Holmes, the suspect in Aurora, to build a 6,000-round arsenal by ordering ammunition online.

At a minimum, “we don’t have to break new ground here,” he said. “All we’ve got to do is follow the promises that were made by the elected officials” — he meant Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney — “back when they were pandering and said, ‘We’re going to fix this problem.’” Later, interviewed by Piers Morgan on CNN, he went so far as to suggest that police officers around the country might consider going on strike until the public insists that lawmakers do more to get guns off the streets.

“To those that say, ‘Look, this is about gun control,’ it isn’t,” Mr. Bloomberg said on MSNBC. “It’s about crime control.” Then, in yet one more Hillel moment, he essentially invoked the ancient sage’s “if I am not for myself” question.

“This isn’t about somebody else,” he said. “It’s about you and your kids.”


E-mail Clyde Haberman: [email protected]

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