Wayne Barrett, who covered state and city politics for many years at the Village Voice, writes in today’s New York Daily News about the web of friendship, power, and federal investigations centered on our end of Grand Street:
Silver has been the face of possibly the most diverse legislative caucus in American history, but his life is as dark and parochial as his fedora. The universe he truly cares about covers a few blocks on the Lower East Side, where he was born and still lives, and where a mountain of ambitions was hidden on a tiny stretch of Grand Street.
Even as he ruled a vast state, it was always Grand Street that was his capital. And it was the clan he met there whose code he embodies.
Barrett tries to connect the dots between several boldfaced names, even though only two of them have been accused of wrongdoing.
Growing up on or near Grand Street, the Rapfogels, Goldberg, Zachter, Lippman, and Silver were virtual Little Rascals, with Silver playing the ringleader in “Our Gang” then and as its members made their way in the world.
Whatever you make of Barrett’s dark conclusions, it’s clear that a veil is being lifted on Grand Street. Expect more attention to come our way as the Sheldon Silver story unfolds and more reporters try to figure out what makes him tick.