Boro Park’s Newest Power Couple
The pastrami lox and whitefish salad was flowing a few weeks back at Lipschitz Hall where the Borough Park Jewish Community Council was throwing their annual legislative breakfast.
And while keynote speaker, NYPD Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, did a great job explaining how crime has plummeted, it was the neighborhood’s newest political macher City Councilman Kalman Yeger who most held court.
Yeger, who replaced his mentor, former City Councilman David Greenfield, doled out awards to successful Boro Park Yeshiva High School graduates and generally worked the room. With State Sen. Simcha Felder only briefly showing up to shake hands, and Assemblyman Dov Hikind nowhere in sight, it is becoming increasingly evident that Yeger is yielding greater power in Boro Park.
Yeger got off to a slow start in the city council, having been given no committee assignments and a closet for an office for not backing City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Johnson also gave Yeger’s wife, Jennie Berger, her walking papers after an eight-year gig as the Jewish liaison to former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Adding further insult to injury, City Councilman Chaim Deutsch – another in a growing line of elected officials and journalists with whom Yeger holds a grudge – was tabbed to chair the council’s Jewish Caucus. This resulted in Yeger, as a proud a Jew as there is in the city council, to not join the caucus.
But as the legislative breakfast showed, Yeger is the new “man” in Boro Park.
Berger, a noted political fundraiser in her own right, also landed on her feet. She now works as the Jewish liaison for Public Advocate Letitia James. While Berger can’t raise money for James in her new position, when the citywide elections roll around again in 2021, she is sure to be a great asset for James both as a fundraiser and a bridge to the Jewish community.
Come the 2021 elections a good many city council members will become term-limited, and while Yeger is a low man on the totem pole in the City Council now, look for him to have a leadership role in the council in four years.
Rumors Circulate That Hikind Will Retire
Rumors continue to circulate that Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park) is seriously considering retirement after 36 years in the assembly.
A Hikind spokesperson said that the assembly member is out-of-town and could not confirm or deny the rumors.
Among those looking at Hikinds seat is Simcha Eichenstein, who currently works in the de Blasio Administration as a key member of intergovernmental relations.
Eichenstein, who did not return a call from KCP, also did a four-year stint in State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office.