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Corey Johnson — one of the most charismatic, promising young political leaders — has abandoned the people who elected him.

Corey Johnson around New York — but not in Hell’s Kitchen. Photos: Speaker Corey Johnson Instagram.

Just over a year ago, Hell’s Kitchen was at the center of the global COVID crisis — a neighborhood enclosed by the Javits Center (being used as a field hospital), the USNS Comfort docked at Pier 90, Broadway (shuttered), Times Square (empty) and Hudson Yards (mothballed).

Residents felt that with Corey Johnson as their elected official (and as Speaker of the City Council — the second most powerful official in NYC) they would be looked after. They were to be disappointed.

In the first few months of COVID, Corey continued the work he has been respected for — but then he went missing.  It was later explained that Johnson had suffered with depression and as a result had decided to withdraw from the race for Mayor of New York (for which he was tipped as front runner).

The neighborhood offered empathy, sympathy, well wishes and goodwill to Corey.  Meanwhile, Hell’s Kitchen (which in all 5 boroughs is #3 in social housing) found that it had more than its fair share of hotels converted to homeless shelters.  The area wanted to be supportive, but it was a recipe for disaster — in one example, 850 men moved to one city block with limited services.

Hell’s Kitchen has seen a net 7,000 residents move out of the area, it has witnessed more than 50 businesses close — and it has suffered crime on a scale that has made headlines around the world. Yesterday, an Asian man was punched, bit and told to “go back to China” in the third high-profile attack in Hell’s Kitchen in less than two months.

We believe the last time Corey — Hell’s Kitchen’s elected council official, remember — visited the area was last August.

Corey Johnson being interviewed by W42ST at YOTEL in 2018. Photo: Phil O’Brien.

Since his reported low, Corey has begun studying at Columbia University (he refused to take questions at the last Manhattan Community Board 4 meeting he attended because he was late for his freshman orientation), and has thrown his hat into the ring to become New York City Comptroller.

We believe that Corey Johnson needs to get back to the work that he was elected to do (and is paid to do).  He’s a politician who had an amazing reputation going into the pandemic — but he has failed his constituents during it.

We ask that by the end of the month he makes a commitment to visit Hell’s Kitchen at least three times a week, suspends his studies at Columbia and withdraws from the race to become New York City Comptroller — until he has got on top of his current job.

If not, W42ST will work with the community to petition for his removal as the representative of this area. The issues in Hell’s Kitchen will not wait until a new council member is in place in 2022.  Corey Johnson is the person who can take on the issues his neighborhood has and make a change in the handling of mental health, homelessness and crime.

Phil O’Brien, Publisher. W42ST.nyc

Join the Conversation

22 Comments

  1. Phil,
    I, too, have noticed that Cory Johnson has been MIA…for quite awhile.
    If he is well enough to be going to school, he needs to get back to being our City Council rep! I’m not sure he has to drop out of the comptroller race or leave Columbia, but he DOES need to get back to work for his constituents here in HK.

    1. He does need to drop out. He has proven himself to be useless in every way. He is not a representative of the people in his district, but is he representative of the people of this city in any way. Also, to be comptroller, shouldn’t you have some basic education or experience in finance beyond a high school diploma?

  2. Not a peep regarding the high concentration of hotels converted to shelters, the mentally ill (and lack of support), the increase in Asian hate crime, the closing of numerous small businesses, and many other blight during the past 15 months all happening in his backyard. If this is any indication of how he represents his constituents. No thanks. Vote no for City Comptroller. Good riddance to Corey and Bill.

  3. Corey Johnson (and his team) have been such a disappointment in every way. I can’t believe he’d even consider running for comptroller after he abandoned his current job that he was elected to do. Now his protege, Erik Bottcher, wants to take over and do nothing but build his own profile, just as Corey has tried to do. I truly hope people are now wise to the fact that they’re just being used for Corey Johnson and Erik Bottcher’s political gain.

    1. Douglas, Erik has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to improve Hell’s Kitchen. He has helped lead groups to clean our streets when trash collection was cut, and he worked to help neighbors find vaccine appointments when they were scarce. And he’s done a lot more. I too am very disappointed with Corey, who I was a big fan of but who has abandoned his elected position when we needed him most. But it is unfair to slam Erik when he has literally personally put in the work to help us survive and rebuild.

      1. Sorry not so much with Erik! I live on W36th where we had the 850 homeless residents living on our square block. Erik planned a “garden party” to clean up the sidewalk planters. They cleaned 1 at 36th & 9th, took photos, and left.
        I’ve taken videos & photos and sent to both their offices, the mayor, DHS, and post on my IG stories and tag them all.
        Erik replied that he will call. That was August. Still waiting. Neither of them are fit to lead.

      2. Gregg is most certainly connected to Erik’s campaign. If people think planting flowers and logging into a vaccine website is what makes an effective Councilmember, we are all in serious trouble.

      3. Gregg, Erik is trying to get as far away from Corey as possible — too little too late. Neither of them have done anything. It’s embarrassing. I saw him gloating on the sidewalk yesterday and laughed. Just bow out and show some dignity, and that is for both Corey and Erik.

  4. In the past several months, I’ve reached out to Corey’s office on numerous occasions to ask him to communicate with his constituents north of 34th Street any plan to address the quality of life issues that have become a blight on this part of the district that HE represents. He never gets back to me. Although one time, a staffer responded to my email to inform me that Corey had made a statement about the violence and pointed to a Tweet from the Speaker as proof. A Tweet. Let that sink in. We know we’re not worth a visit from him. He can’t even must more than 280 characters to address the people in this neighborhood whom he represents. I suggest that we start the petition for his removal now. Why wait?

  5. He doesn’t even live in the district any more. Sure, he maintains an apt here. But he lives in Brooklyn with his boyfriend now.

  6. Agreed on all fronts! And his defensiveness around his non-presence + outside aspirations is salient, as well.

  7. Corey get back to work. Skyline hotel was supposed to provide shelter to the homeless and those in need, but is now housing sex offenders, criminals, and many mentally challenged people who have become a danger to our Hell’s Kitchen community, that includes my children too. You better do something now Corey, because without Hell’s Kitchen you’re nobody. Protects us as we supported and protected you. No person should feel threatened walking in our streets. We are one of the most unique Manhattan communities and people love each other here.

  8. Glad you spoke out. But, just so you know Corey’s been busy ramming Open Restaurants & Bars down our throats; colluding with ONLY the hospitality industry while the public is locked out. He and the mayor are making backroom changes to the zoning text to avoid a ULUURP process, and residential streets will now have bars operating outside their windows until 1am! While retail suffers and neighborhoods like Hells Kitchen fall apart, he’s decided to help an industry that, yes, was hard hit, but will bounce back the easiest. So far the city has given away 82 ACRES of street space to landlords and the hospitality industry which will create a bias for landlords to rent only to bars or restaurants as they can annex street space and the landlord will garner a higher rent. Think retail diversity has suffered over the last 10 years? You ain’t seen nothing yet. This is a hatchet job to any business that’s not in hospitality and the burden will be borne by regular residents unable to simply move to Brooklyn, or a high rise or wherever Corey and Bill and Gale and Carlina live. Ironic that Bill’s promise was to address the tale of two cities. It looks like he and Corey are promoting just that. I imagine they are untouched by the problems you speak of and don’t have mariachi bands playing under their windows.

  9. Hell’s Kitchen deserves a representative who actually lives in the district, not Williamsburg!

  10. Thank you Stuart for the facts. Corey has abandoned his constituents and should return to our (once his?) streets and focus on the serious issues in District 3.

  11. Is anyone interested in running for any local office? We are in desperate need of citizens sincerely interested in positive change. We now have partisan robots in office that are part of the Bureaucracy or Representing Big Pharma (Brad Hoylman). Everyone of our representatives knew how many hotel/shelter transfers and # of people with mental Illness and violent crimes were coming to our neighborhood. Instead of offering preventative covid care and proven therapies, they allowed big pharma and medical authorities to radically abandon those options and hold off till the vaccines arrived. Hence our massive increase in crime. The Police Dept. says their hands are tied but is that really true? Everyone is accountable.

  12. Just FYI, I walked from 10th to 9th on W. 43rd this afternoon around 3:45. The only thing I saw was a BIG poster of Corey’s face saying he was running for Comptroller. This is a man who is supposed to represent us, show up for us and help us. And all he can muster is a poster asking us to vote for him. Fuck that shit !!

  13. He was supposed to be here today . “Today, we see Corey will be outside Manhattan Plaza from 3:30-4:30pm. “

  14. It’s insulting for Corey and his office to use the excuse of being HIV positive as a reason for not being in his district and doing his job. What about all of the other constituents in his district who are HIV positive, among other issues, who are frontline workers, first responders, and so on. I am so sick of him making excuses for not doing a single thing other than serve himself.

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