chuck schumer promotes jelly

Brooklyn Concert Series Finds a Fan in Senate

By Ben Ssisario, The New York Times

For four years, the hippest of New York’s hipsters have flocked to the free Pool Parties concerts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, drawn by lineups of up-to-the-minute indie-rock and inner-child diversions like dodge ball in the blazing summer sun.

But the shows’ biggest fan has turned out to be not some bearded music blogger but one of the most powerful politicians in the United States: Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. After turning up at a couple of concerts last summer at East River State Park, he threw his considerable support behind the events and their promoter, pressuring city and state parks officials to renew the Pool Parties’ contract for this summer, despite their having some safety concerns.

The involvement in so tiny an issue by so prominent a statesman — who has also been dealing with national problems like health care and immigration and financial reform — has sent many in the music industry and local politics scrambling to figure out the angles. Are the votes of a few thousand Pitchfork readers worth all that effort?

“It is a bit of pork,” said Kurt Andersen, the novelist and public radio host who has been a longtime observer of city politics. “But it’s probably not a bad thing to remind the youth of Brooklyn that they are Democrats, to have them think, ‘Oh, yeah, Chuck Schumer saved the concerts — that’s why we like him.’ As a long-term play to give them a reason to vote, it’s probably not stupid.”

Mr. Schumer declined to be interviewed for this article, but a spokesman said that his attachment to the concerts began with a simple bike ride: he happened across them last summer on a weekend ride in Brooklyn, where he lives, and his only interest was in seeing the shows continue, said the spokesman, Mike Morey.

Even for a politician known to get behind underdog causes, however, the senator’s support for Jelly, the small Brooklyn promoter behind the shows, is unusual. (So was the revelation of his indie tastes. His love for Bruce Springsteen is well documented. But Girl Talk? Grizzly Bear?)

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