For the next several days, New Yorkers will be talking transition, the transition between the administrations of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, weighing in on big problems facing the city at a tent at Duarte Square in SoHo set up for that cause. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
The tent has a festive air, but the issues discussed inside, such as stop-and-frisk, mental health services and affordable housing, could hardly be called lighthearted.
The Talking Transition tent is something of a town square, but not exactly like the ones you'd imagine were happening in this neighborhood during the Revolutionary War era.
Manhattan's 2013 city common is heat-controlled and streamed online. Still, at its core, it's the same: what normal citizens want from their government, their new government.
"People are coming through to suggest what they think the next administration should focus on," said Andrea Batista Schlesinger of Open Society Foundations.
While the mayor-elect hasn't stopped by, some of his new constituents are becoming familiar with the problems he'll face.
One panel is discussing rebuilding Staten Island after Hurricane Sandy. Then, there are first-person accounts of housing woes, followed by a breakout session to brainstorm solutions.
If you don't get a chance to talk about your hopes over the next four years, you can always write them down.
There are some differences of opinion. You could spot bashing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg in some places, but not others. A local chamber of commerce and budget experts have been part of the discussions.
Still, Monday didn't exactly feature that much that wasn't left-of-center. One panel began with the chant "Housing is a right." Another had two panelists affiliated with Occupy Wall Street.
"It's really great that rich people finally think it's cool, putting up tents in Duarte Square, 'cause this is something Occupy Wall Street tried doing two years ago, and all we did was get arrested," said Goldi Guerra of Occupy Sandy Staten Island.