Espaillat’s long road from poly sci to state Senate



Stepping into newly elected state Sen. Adriano Espaillat’s modern seventh floor office with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the 225th Street Bridge, one thing seems a little out of place. His desk.

Small, beaten and scuffed, it does not look like the desk of a man who, after 14 years as an assemblyman for much of the same area, has taken over the reigns of the 31st state Senate district, representing parts of the Upper West Side, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and Riverdale.

“This I bought for $100 in the Bronx when I first got elected so I kept it with me, it gives me good luck,” said Mr. Espaillat, 56, on a tour of his office at 5030 Broadway, near 214th Street in Inwood. He took over the office of his predecessor Eric Schneiderman, who is now the state’s attorney general.

he was first elected in 1996, Mr. Espaillat was the only Dominican-American in the state legislature. From behind his longtime desk, Mr. Espaillat worked hard as Assemblyman for District 72, covering Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill.

Almost everyone who spoke at his inauguration two weeks ago — the lineup included Sen. Charles Schumer, Rep. Charlie Rangel, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Anthony Weiner, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz — had something to say about what a hard worker Mr. Espaillat is.

Mr. Espaillat credits his work ethic to being Dominican. He was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic and moved to New York in 1964 at the age of 9.

“I moved uptown. I lived on 153rd Street, then I moved to 181st Street, now I live on 215th Street. I’m slowly moving uptown. I think someday I’m gonna wind up in Riverdale, across the bridge,” he said laughing.

Staffers say he’s always the first in the office in the mornings and the last to leave.
“I can’t quite figure out how he does all these things. I’m guessing he doesn’t sleep a lot, but it doesn’t show,” said Elizabeth Lorris Ritter, Mr. Espaillat’s Community Liasion who has known the state Senator for years and worked with him while serving on Community Board 12.

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