Monday, January 01, 2007

The Eliot Dash

The NY Times Empire Zone Sewell Chan

Another glimpse of "Day One" ........to share with you all.............andy

The sky was pitch black and a steady rain was falling when Eliot Spitzer, the new governor, arrived at the Spanish Revival lake house in Washington Park at 5:43 a.m. Monday to keep his first campaign promise: taking a morning run through the park on his first day in office.
“I have one simple question: Whose idea was this?” Mr. Spitzer joked after he entered the lake house to cheers from friends, supporters and local residents. He marveled that old friends from college – “people who would never have been up this early” – had managed to roust themselves from bed in the wee hours of New Year’s Day.
At a campaign rally in the lake house on Sept. 6, six days before the Democratic primary, Mr. Spitzer had promised to run through the park, which is west of the State Capitol, on his first day as governor. “It was one of those impromptu moments where you immediately say, ‘Why did I say that?’ ” Mr. Spitzer recalled.
Washington Park was surveyed and planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, who
designed Central Park. Mayor Gerald D. Jennings, who greeted Mr. Spitzer at the lake house, called the park “the jewel of the city.” A Democrat who took office in 1994, Mr. Jennings said the run showed that the new governor cared about the capital, which like many upstate cities is struggling to revive a sluggish local economy.
Leading a pack of more than 100 runners – dozens of them wearing blue T-shirts with the slogan “Day One…Everything Is Changing” – Mr. Spitzer wound his way west along the lake; up a hill toward State Street, one of the city’s most elegant and historic thoroughfares; past the Soldiers and Sailors Monument; and along a bridle path back to the lake house.
The route was just short of 2 miles. The run started at 5:50 a.m. and ended 13 minutes later, at 6:03 a.m.
Sweaty and somewhat out of breath, Mr. Spitzer said afterwards, “I appreciate all of your support, loyalty, arguably bad judgment, getting out here this time of day, but hey, that’s what makes us New Yorkers.” He joked this daughter Elyssa, who is a cross-country runner and joined him for the jog, “leaves me in the dust.”
Mr. Spitzer, who ran in the New York City marathon in 1983, finishing just under 4 hours, said he tries to work out 5 times a week, often using exercise machines, even though he lives close to Central Park and still runs there.
Mr. Spitzer, who was sworn in at midnight, said he got to bed at 1:30 a.m. and woke up when “the internal clock started kicking in about 4:30, because I thought I’d be late” for the run.
The new governor spoke admiringly of the Executive Mansion, where he took the oath of office, noting that on one wall was an original copy of the Constitution from 1787 and, below it, notes from the Poughkeepsie Convention, where New York decided to ratify the constitution, with the signatures of Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.
Mr. Spitzer said his predecessor, George E. Pataki, had left behind a lengthy note, following a tradition for governors to give parting advice to their successors.
The public inauguration ceremony was moved ahead from noon to 1 p.m. in the hope that the dismal weather would lift, but Mr. Spitzer said he did not mind the precipitation. “Rain is cleansing,” he said. “We’re washing away the dirty and the grime. We’re going to start fresh. It’s going to be great. It’s starting to clear up. I can feel it.”
Then he got in his black Chevrolet Suburban and took off at 6:10 a.m. It was not clear whether he intended to go back to sleep
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