Two days after Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented his post-Sandy resiliency plan to the city, the Democratic candidates for mayor gathered at a Queens forum before an audience that was highly critical of the mayor's record.
Anthony Weiner was a crowdpleaser.
The forum was at a packed church, where more than a thousand people turned out despite the driving rain. The audience was mostly black and Latino residents, some of whom offered testimonials about the ongoing difficulties of making it after Sandy tore through their communities.
The five top Democratic candidates were all there, but it was Weiner who was repeatedly interrupted with applause. The self-described skinny Jewish kid addressed the crowd as "brothers and sisters" and said that post-Sandy plans need to build back economic resiliency in struggling neighborhoods.
"So we must not think of the Sandy aid just as a way to build walls around us. We need to build bridges to the next generation. We need to build bridges to economic security," he said.
All the candidates enthusiastically accepted the public invitation to tour Sandy-affected areas with the faith groups who hosted the forum. But an organizer acknowledged that the forum had to be moved from The Rockaways to the relatively closer East Elmhurst Queens to get it on the candidates' schedules.