New York magazine offers a cover story on gay City Council Speaker and mayoral front-runner Christine Quinn.
One day not long ago, I asked Quinn when she came out both to herself and to others. “To myself,” she said, “probably in college, in a fairly non-coming-outy way. I actually remember being in my dorm room and saying out loud, ‘You are not going to have this problem.’ And then I started working on Tom Duane’s campaign for City Council. I was in the super-duperest gay environment ever—and, look, at 25, it becomes hard to keep it tucked away. Tom and I were on the subway on the way to a rent-guidelines-board meeting, and I said to him, ‘I need to talk to you about something important.’ And he said, ‘Oh my God, you’re quitting.’ I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘What? You’re a lesbian?’ ” Here, she imitated Duane by rolling her eyes and languidly waving her hand. And then she shouted, as if to Duane, “A little more sensitivity, please!”
On her vision for New York City:
Quinn became more cautious when I asked, point-blank, what kind of city she wants New York to be under her mayoralty. “A network of neighborhoods,” she responded. “In Queens, you don’t send your mail to Queens. You send it to Bayside, to Flushing, to Sunnyside, because people’s neighborhood identities matter. We have lost a bit of our neighborhood identity in kind of the Duane Reade–ing of New York. I worry about that.” I mentioned Bloomberg’s notorious quote about the city being a luxury product. “One of the things I loved about Chelsea,” she said, “is that on Eighth Avenue, there is the Rawhide bar—not a luxury product. And for many years there were Latino guys from the neighborhood who had a folding card table every Friday and Saturday night and played dominoes. And they knew every guy who walked into the Rawhide, and every guy that walked in the Rawhide knew them. A leather bar may or may not be the best example, but it is the type of neighborhood experience we want to be able to have, what Jane Jacobs called ‘the eyes on the streets’ all watching out for each other.”