With just over a week before New Yorkers head to the polls to vote in the city's primary election, mayoral candidates headed out to the West Indian Parade on Monday to meet with voters and discuss city safety in light of the recent fatal shooting of a one-year-old Brooklyn boy. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Every parade is an opportunity to connect with voters, so it is no surprise that eight days before the primary, the candidates for mayor lined up on Monday to march down Eastern Parkway.
The mood at the parade was upbeat, but there was a somber undercurrent to the day, given the deadly shooting of a one-year-old boy in Brownsville Sunday night.
"We lost a one-year-old child, and that is a reminder that the work of keeping our community safe has to go on every single day," said Democratic mayoral candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
At a breakfast before the parade began, the candidates expressed sorrow over the death of such a young child.
The news prompted a discussion of the candidates' plans to reform the New York Police Department.
"I've talked about more community policing, officers on the ground in the neighborhoods, a new era of community policing, working with the residents to get guns off the streets. We have to do that," said Democratic mayoral candidate and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.
Democratic mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has fallen from her front-runner perch in the polls, is downplaying her plan to keep Ray Kelly as police commissioner, should she become the next mayor.
"Do I agree with everything that Ray Kelly has done? No. Do I think the way he has implemented, I would say clearly at Mayor Bloomberg's instruction, stop-and-frisk is the right way to do it? No," Quinn said.
Bill de Blasio is playing up his differences with the mayor in a new television ad.
"We believe in everyone having a shot. We have to change this city," de Blasio said in the ad.
Along the parade route, there is plenty of old-fashioned campaigning going on, and the candidate with the most momentum heading into the primary is trying to keep his supporters energized.
As de Blasio's support appears to grow in the final days before the primary, some political observers are quietly questioning whether Quinn will even make an expected run-off on October 1.
"I'm excited about the eight days ahead, excited about heading into the 21 days of the run-off after that," Quinn said.
First, she will have to get her supporters out to the polls.