Is the CNN Democratic Presidential Contenders Climate Town Hall at Hudson Yards or Not?

HUDSON YARDS, SITE OF CNN’S CLIMATE CRISIS TOWN HALL. THE EVENT WILL FEATURE 10 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT. AP PHOTO/MARK LENNIHAN

HUDSON YARDS, SITE OF CNN’S CLIMATE CRISIS TOWN HALL. THE EVENT WILL FEATURE 10 DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT. AP PHOTO/MARK LENNIHAN

Of all the places in New York that CNN could have chosen to host its Sept. 4 Democratic presidential candidates forum on climate change, activists, political leaders and fashionistas alike are stunned that the network apparently chose 30 Hudson Yards, substantially owned by billionaire and recent $12 million fundraiser for President Donald Trump Stephen Ross.

Pardon us while we pick up our dropped jaws from the floor. News of Ross’ moneybags haul for Trump’s re-election caused boycotts of Ross’ Equinox gym and the decision of several prominent designers to pull out of Hudson Yards venues for the upcoming New York Fashion Week.

Queens Councilmember Costa Constantinides wrote a letter to CNN earlier this month asking the network to move the venue to an outer borough, where Superstorm Sandy revealed the devastating impact of the climate crisis. The letter was signed by more than a dozen Queens and Brooklyn lawmakers, reports The Queens Eagle.

“If 30 Hudson Yards is the venue, it’s a property developed by Stephen Ross: an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, who believes climate change is a hoax, and a leading figure in Big Real Estate, which fought tooth and nail to stop the landmark passage of the Climate Mobilization Act in April,” Constantinides said in a statement to the Eagle. 

“The candidates should see the communities already living with the effects of climate change on a daily basis, which there are plenty of in Queens and Brooklyn,” he continued. “If the town hall is indeed at Hudson Yards, where a three-bedroom condo goes for $9.5 million, it is a slap in the face to every Rockaway resident still waiting to get his or her home back nearly seven years after Sandy.”

Remarkably, as of two days ago, numerous officials at both CNN and Hudson Yards were denying that they knew anything about a town hall on September 4. A Friday Google search gives no location for the event, with CNN publishing the agenda. for the seven-hour series of one-on-one interviews with the candidates.

Employing due diligence, the Eagle did locate individuals at both CNN and Hudson Yards who — off the record — confirmed the Democratic event was good to go. Still, a staff member at the Shed performance space expressed surprise that the climate policy town hall would actually take place in the complex.

“It would be weird because of the Stephen Ross thing,” the person said.

Staff members were informed that the Shed would not be involved in “anything political” after the Ross boycott, the person added.

David Chang, Prabal Gurung, Dana Lorenz Challenge Us To Fight Trump's Moneybags Man Stephen Ross

David Chang, Parbal Gurung, Dana Lorenz Challenge Us To Fight Trump's Moneybags Man Stephen Ross

David Chang’s Majordomo Los Angeles restaurant donated all of its profits last Friday to Planned Parenthood, RAICES Texas, Everytown and Sierra Club. The action came in response to Majordomo investor Stephen Ross’ splashy but controversial Southampton, Long Island fundraiser

Those same charities and the Serge Ibaka Foundation also will receive money from Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, confirmed in a Monday August 12 email. . It was unclear whether other Momofuku restaurants participated and how much was donated, writes the Los Angeles Times about the Chang action in response to the investor Stephen Ross-Trump reelection controversy. Ross is the chairman of RSE Ventures, a private investment firm that is one of the backers of Chang’s restaurant group.

On a side note, Milk Bar is a chain of dessert and bakery restaurants owned by founding chef Christina Tosi and the Manhattan-based Momofuku restaurant group, also associated with Karlie Kloss’ Kookies

In an expletive-laced podcast episode from last week, in which David Chang begged Ross to call off his fundraiser, the chef put his Trump cards on the table.

“I personally am a staunch opponent to President Trump and everything he stands for,” he said on “The Dave Chang Show.” “Anyone that normalizes gun violence, white supremacy, putting kids into cages, his general lack of decency and respect for anyone else. He is destroying our democratic norms.”

Chang said he understood that the business relationship “raises a lot of questions for the people who dine at our restaurants and supported us over the years.”