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.