Mr. Espaillat Goes to Washington

January 29, 2017

It’s swearing-in season throughout the land and last November’s winners are basking in the glow of victory. Defeated rivals have disappeared into relative anonymity, perhaps to re-emerge again for another go in the future. But for now the spotlights are shining brightly on the winners. Among them, Inwood’s Adriano Espaillat brought the show uptown today.

The freshman Congressman is the first Dominican American to ever serve in the House of Representatives. He’s also the first person of any heritage and not named Charles Rangel to represent the area since 1971. Rangel, the House’s second longest serving member, finally called it quits and opened the door for a successor. And while the election last November made it official, the contest was effectively determined by Espaillat’s win in the Democratic primary months earlier.

The swearing in ceremony was an SRO affair that took place in Yeshiva University’s Lamport Auditorium on Amsterdam Avenue. Politicians in attendance included heavyweights Mayor DiBlasio and Senator Schumer as well as Boro Presidents and City Council members. Entertainment was provided by, among others, Jackie Rowe-Adams who sang a Superbowl worthy rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and by the Young Peoples Chorus of New York who delivered a timely medley of timeless songs from The Sound of Music.

Against the current tumultuous political background, their rendition of “Edelweiss” was particularly evocative to film aficionados of a certain age.

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