Publisher slaps state Senator Hoylman and Quinn intern at wild St. Vincent’s counter-rally
BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | George Capsis, the 85-year-old publisher of the monthly WestView newspaper, slaps state Senator Brad Hoylman on Monday at a rally in support of Christine Quinn’s actions to save St. Vincent’s Hospital and get a new hospital in the Village.
That rally was hastily staged to counter a previously scheduled rally by mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio that happened a half hour later. At that rally, de Blasio — joined by Harry Belafonte, Susan Sarandon and “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon — criticized Quinn, who is also running for mayor, and Mayor Bloomberg for not saving the historic Catholic hospital, and vowed that, if elected, he’ll do more to keep hospitals from closing.
Capsis also double-slaps a Quinn intern while making his way off.
Capsis yells, “You fatuous idiot!” at former state Senator Tom Duane, then shouts at him, “Get out of here! No one wants to hear you anymore!” and “I’m not a policeman, but I can SLAP you!”
He then slaps Hoylman’s chin and says, “And look up!” Hoylman had been looking down at the time, right after Capsis had paused in his verbal assault and started to glower at Hoylman.
Hoylman then tries to have Quinn aides escort Capsis out, at which Capis fumes, “Whaaat?” You want to escort me out of here?”
Hoylman declined to press charges.
According to Detective Jimmy Alberici of the Sixth Precinct, the Quinn intern did file a complaint at the scene and Capsis was charged with harassment, a violation. Alberici said there was no arrest because, for a violation, police must witness the incident to make an arrest.
Capsis’s wife of 55 years, Maggie, had died two days earlier. He said had she been able to stay at St. Vincent’s he could have provided more support for her at a critical moment. Instead, after suffering a bad reaction to chemotherapy, she was at Calvary Hospital all the way up in the Bronx.
Arthur Schwartz, a candidate for Democratic district leader, said the hoopla with Capsis — which is what grabbed all the newspaper headlines — took the focus off the real issue of the de Blasio press conference, namely, restoring healthcare to the Lower West Side. And he claimed that was precisely what the Quinn supporters wanted.
Meanwhile, Assemblymembger Deborah Glick, who wasn’t at the rally but joined Duane and Hoylman in “slamming” de Blasio for not having been active earlier on the St. Vincent’s issue when it really mattered, took a shot at City Council candidate Yetta Kurland for “fanning the flames” of the hospital issue without a realistic solution in sight.
“There’s no reason to give up on a hospital,” a Kurland spokesperson responded.
Capsis has a prior slapping incident, in which he slapped a Sixth Precinct police officer after the officer’s van cut him off while Capsis rode his bike in the Bleecker St. bike lane. The officer responded by punching Capsis in the eye and breaking his glasses. Capsis is suing the city for $1 million and is being represented by Schwartz.
De Blasio started off his press conference by calling on everyone to be “peaceful” and “respectful.”
In a statement, Quinn condemned Capsis’s slapping spree.
“There is no place in this city — let alone a political campaign — for violence or intimidation of any kind,” she said. “I condemn in the strongest possible terms any individual, group or campaign that would commit or condone such repugnant behavior, and would urge every campaign or individual involved in the mayor’s race to do the same.”
The Villager will have a full write-up on the rallies and related goings-on in this Thursday’s issue.