Who’ll Save New York? Paterson’s Possible Super-Friends

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"Help!" Photo: Getty Images

Governor Paterson sat alone when he confessed the state's miserable financial condition yesterday, but he can't begin to fix the mess that way. Who really thinks the hog-tied State Legislature will solve the problem it created? The speech served as a Bat signal to stir powerful New Yorkers who can put the governor's urgent message into play. We've compiled a short list of possible super-friends. None of these folks seems at first blush likely to enter the putrid Albany scene, but that's partly why Paterson took the lead with preemptive budget cuts and staff freezes — and as recent history shows, when a gigantic operation needs a bailout, a few potentates come together to set it in motion.

Chuck Schumer can sneak a consumer subsidy for home-heating oil (which Paterson stressed again and again in the five-minute speech) into a federal spending bill.

Hillary Clinton can deliver some palliative money upstate.

Hank Paulson used to run the only Wall Street bank that's still paying hefty taxes (thanks to hefty profits), and he seems merry about extending federal credit these days.

Dan Doctoroff made an economic engine of the public-private partnerships Paterson said could supplant colonies of state authorities. Doctoroff has his hands full running Bloomberg LP, but we've seen that he can usually muster the energy to serve on a public-private board in his spare time.

Douglas Durst
is a model developer for public-private partnerships. While Bruce Ratner probably has his calendar full with bended-knee visits to potential lenders and tenants, and other powerful developers are terrified about paying back existing loans, the civic-minded Durst is doing well enough — he can lean on a solid base of busy buildings — to step up.

Jerry Speyer, meanwhile, having extricated himself from the messy MTA family by deciding not to build at Hudson Yards, can similarly administer some tough love. —Alec Appelbaum