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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Quinn and Lhota Recall Not-Much-Changed-Since Childhood in LI

Before Christine Quinn and Joe Lhota were leading candidates for the Democratic and Republican nominations for mayor of New York, respectively, they were Long Islanders, Newsday reports, as the candidates recall their not-much-changed-since LI childhood.  

The Similarities: Quinn, 46, lived on a Glen Cove street that ended in a cul-de-sac. Lhota lived in a home in the Venetian Shores neighborhood of Lindenhurst, where his parents still reside for part of the year. Both thrived in tight-knit communities, went to their high school proms and got their first taste of politics through student councils. 

They came from middle-class families and went to Catholic schools. Quinn studied at the all-girls Holy Child High School in Old Westbury. Lhota, 58, attended St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip. Quinn is remembered for her boundless energy, and Lhota for his quiet leadership.

And the 'Knew then they would grow up to be mayoral candidates': 
Speaking to Newsday, Mr. Lhota's classmates and friends recalled his 'leading by example' role.

"He was for constituencies before constituencies were in, and he was proactive before being proactive was in," said Brian Maher, Lhota's business law teacher at St. John the Baptist.

Classmate Mike Judge remembered Lhota for his understated influence. "Joe leads by example. . . . He never forced his opinion," said Judge, 59, of Merrick. "He would discuss your opinion and maybe get you to come around to his side."

In interview with Newsday, Mr. Lhota recalled driving his Falcon Futura, and "the fun we could have in the car and the people we could crowd in the car, how we would decide one day, you know what? It's time to go to the Hamptons." Robert Moses State Park, where they lounged on the beach with sandwiches and sodas, was another choice destination. "It was about how fast you could get to Robert Moses Parking Lot No. 2," Mr. Lhota said.

"We learned how to drink together," Mr. Lhota said of his closest friends, but added, "We were always safe, always cautious. Basically we all wanted to go to college and we wanted to do great."

Growing up in Glen Cove, Christine Quinn threw herself into whatever she did, whether it involved playing with friends on her street or volunteering to help senior citizens. Quinn went to grade school at what was then known as St. Patrick and is now called All Saints Regional. Hers was a large and close-knit Irish-American family. 

"She was a leader without a doubt," said Regina Huneke, Quinn's math teacher at Holy Child. "I knew that she was going to be part of something special. I wasn't sure that it was going to be politics, but I knew that she was going to be some kind of leader."

Ms. Quinn wasn't soft-spoken as a kid, either. "Never quiet, but her presence was powerful among her friends, among her teachers, among the younger children that she worked with at the camp," Huneke said. "It wasn't because she made herself known, it was her presence."

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