04/19/2017 07:20 AM EDT

By Jimmy Vielkind in Albany and Azi Paybarah in Manhattan, with Addy Baird and Daniel Lippman

DIPPING TOE, MAKING A SPLASH: Any Republican trying to unseat an incumbent Democratic mayor has very long odds in New York City, but the newest possible candidate may have a slightly better chance than the rest. Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island is looking at running for mayor, according to comments first reported by the Post . The lawmaker, considered a rising star within the party, has already been fighting Mayor Bill de Blasio over records for the municipal identification cards he introduced in order to assist undocumented residents and the mayor's perceived disregard for the concerns of middle class residents. But before she can take on the Park Slope Democrat, she would have to get through an increasingly crowded Republican primary.

In years past, the business of picking a party nominee took place in smoke-filled rooms. Today, thanks to party primaries and the erosion of traditional power brokers and gatekeepers, the nominating process is less of a coronation and more a royal rumble. Locally, party leaders play a role in primaries, but not a dominant one. Social media is one factor. (The Post and Daily News stories about her potential bid note the presence of a "a 'draftnicole4nycmayor" social media campaign.) Another factor at play: No one single party leader is powerful enough, or savvy enough, to herd everyone in one direction. Earlier this month the Queens County Republican leader announced that one mayoral candidate won an informal straw poll of party officials in his county. A week later, the Manhattan County leader announced plans to screen candidates, including one not even registered in the party.

For her part, Malliotakis has said she would run if billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis forgoes a run (he ran unsuccessfully in 2013). Her remarks will come as little comfort to the handful of Republicans already running: real estate mogul Paul Massey, whose lavish spending has not translated into higher name recognition or preparedness for public scrutiny; Rev. Michel Faulkner, an engaging speaker who is hoping he can ignite a grassroots movement based largely on the force of his personal outreach; Rocky De La Fuenta, a rich San Diego native still trying to establish residency here; and Bo Dietl, a decorated former NYPD detective who is not enrolled in any party and appears cut from the Donald Trump school of self-promotion . Catsimatidis told POLITICO New York last night that Malliotakis is "very smart and has common sense," which is among the highest praises Catsimatidis bestows. He also told POLITICO New York he'll decide whether to run in the "next 10 days." Adele Malpass, the Manhattan Republican County Leader, told POLITICO New York that Malliotakis "is a rock star" with "great ideas, energy" and would be "a million times better" than de Blasio, but noted "She's not a declared candidate," and has not started raising money.

GOOD MORNING AND HAPPY WEDNESDAY. Got a tip? Feedback? News to share? Let us know. By email: JVielkind@politico.com, APaybarah@politico.com, ABaird@politico.com, and daniel@politico.com, or on Twitter: @JimmyVielkind, @Azi, @addysue, and @dlippman.

WHERE'S ANDREW? On Long Island, making a speech at 1 p.m.

WHERE'S BILL? On CNN just before 7 a.m., then he takes off-topics questions after making an announcement at the American Heart Association office in Manahttan.

PREET'S TWEETS: No tweets.

TABS - Daily News: "DEAD MEAT: Facebook killer takes chicken's way out after fateful McD's trip" - Post: "CHICKEN OUT: Facebook murderer kills self after McNugget run" - SEE THEM

- Newsday: "FEDS VOW CRACKDOWN ON GANGS: Trump, Sessions promise action after MS-13 murders in Central Islip" - El Diario [translated]: Unfair dismissals - SEE THEM

FREEBIES - Metro: "'NOW I KNOW WHAT THE FACE OF EVIL LOOKS LIKE'" - amNew York: "YOUR TICKET TO TRIBECA" - SEE THEM

BROADSHEETS - Wall Street Journal, 1-col., above the fold: "Goldman Posts Rare Trip-Up In Trading" - New York Times, 1-col., above the fold: "AIRCRAFT CARRIER WAS NOT HEADING WHERE U.S. SAID" - 2-col., below the fold: "Securing Her Fashion Brand, Now From a White House Base" - SEE THEM

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We're looking at it as a suspicious death at this point." - NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis, on the passing of Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam last week, via The Post.

SPOTTED: Our Carla Marinucci reports Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was spotted dining at the tony "Big 4" Restaurant on San Francisco's Nob Hill on Monday night where he was feted at a fancy "meet and greet" five course dinner - filet mignon and the works - hosted by former San Francisco Mayor and former Speaker of the California Assembly Willie Brown. The exclusive event drew a crowd of business types and politicos to the restaurant's private back room, where the historic memorabilia from SF's Big Quake Days is the draw.

- Heastie also met with California Gov. Jerry Brown.

WHAT ALBANY IS READING:

- BOOK ROYALTIES DOUBLE CUOMO INCOME - Buffalo News' Tom Precious: "Cuomo reported his income last year more than doubled from the previous year, thanks to another round of royalty payments on a 2014 HarperCollins memoir that saw lackluster sales. In all, Cuomo has made $783,000 from HarperCollins for his book. The book sold 3,200 copies since it was published in the fall of 2014, according to tracking company NPD BookScan. That works out to royalty payments to Cuomo of $245 per book. 'All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life'' had an original list price of $29.99. New copies of the hardcover book were being sold Monday on Amazon for $13.05. The governor reported an adjusted gross income of $417,748 for last year. That is up from $196,243 the previous year, according to copies of his federal and state tax filings that were shown to reporters at the Capitol on Monday. Cuomo previously reported - for tax years 2013 and 2014 - approximately $565,000 in income from his memoir deal with the Manhattan-based publisher. In 2015, he reported no income from the book. Read more here

- PIGEON GOES TO COURT - Buffalo News' Bob McCarthy: "For more than a quarter century, Buffalo's G. Steven Pigeon traveled in lofty political circles. He hobnobbed with the Clintons and advised Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. He counted billionaire B. Thomas Golisano as a friend and former NATO Chief Gen. Wesley K. Clark as a client. Now three sources familiar with the situation say the former Erie County Democratic chairman is slated to appear in a Buffalo courtroom Wednesday to answer felony complaints that he cheated in elections for County Legislature and a town supervisor. In addition, two sources who asked not to be identified but who are familiar with the case, say subpoenas connected to a federal grand jury probing Pigeon have also been issued in recent days. State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's action demonstrates not only that Pigeon may have crossed legal lines in his audacious campaign finance methods, but that despite traveling in rarefied circles, he also would even invest in low-level races near and dear to him. Almost 10 months after Schneiderman's special grand jury indicted him on bribery and extortion charges, Pigeon now faces more trouble stemming from what the state calls a scheme to avoid election finance limits. They say he illegally fueled individual campaigns through a committee dubbed the WNY Progressive Caucus." Read more here

- REVIVING THE CENTRAL TERMINAL - Jimmy's letter from Buffalo: The first thing you notice when you walk into Buffalo's Central Terminal building, up a little ramp on the city's East Side, isn't the Art Deco detailing, sandstone-tiled vaults or massive arched windows. It's the cold. Broken windows, the result of decades of neglect, let in the chilly spring air and it's always 10 degrees cooler than the parking lot - the strongest sun struggling to heat the massive 65-foot-tall, 15,000-square foot main concourse. It's a grand hall, built on the eve of the Great Depression at a time when the New York Central Railroad wielded more power than a small nation. Marilyn Monroe had lunch there. Thousands of soldiers departed for war, millions of Erie County residents waved goodbye or hugged hello beneath its yellowed arches, next to the mighty bronze buffalo that now guards the newsstands. And if an ad-hoc group of architects, preservationists and politicians has its way, people could soon be catching trains here again.

A committee of experts, rail officials and politicians will meet Thursday to decide how to spend $25 million of state money earmarked for Amtrak's existing Exchange Street station, whose roof collapsed last year. It was supposed to be a six-month process to figure out how to replace the station. But it has prompted a sharp debate touching on several issues, including transportation, urban planning, politics, and, not to be discounted, nostalgia. It comes down to this: Should the city restore a largely abandoned reminder of its glorious past, Central Terminal, or build a new station downtown, near the current Exchange Street station? Politicians, advocates, and planners are choosing sides. Read more here

WHAT CITY HALL IS READING:

- ON RIKERS, DE BLASIO WALKS AN ELECTION YEAR TIGHTROPE - POLITICO New York's Dana Rubinstein and Gloria Pazmino: Next Monday, advocates for the closure of Rikers Island will hold a rally on the steps of City Hall - and it won't be to thank the mayor. The rally will be more like a warning shot. We won't allow de Blasio to pimp the Close Rikers campaign the way he pimped Dante during the last election," said campaign leader Glenn Martin, referring to de Blasio's teenage son, who starred in a 2013 campaign ad later credited with helping turn the election in his father's favor. "We plan to hold him accountable not just up to the campaign, but until we get to the finish line."

From the moment in March of this election year when de Blasio belatedly endorsed the campaign to close Rikers Island, he has rejected the principal step experts agree is necessary to achieving that goal: the erection of five modern jails, one in each borough, to bring prisoners closer to their lawyers, families and the courts, and to finally do away with the isolation intrinsic to the island and the abuses endemic there. "Some out there have said words like 'borough-based.' I'm not buying into that," said de Blasio at a hastily arranged press conference on March 31. "I am working from a neutral position of saying only this - we will need a few more facilities." At the same time the mayor cast his endorsement as a "historic" commitment to closing the troubled jailed - one that followed painstaking negotiations with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito - he aggressively denied his administration had given even the slightest consideration to the new jails it would require. Read more here.

- TAX DAY: De Blasio releases 2016 tax returns, showing less income than in 2015 - POLITICO New York's Laura Nahmias: Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray made $220,651 in income last year and earned another $106,000 from renting two homes they own in Park Slope, Brooklyn, income that was offset by taxes, depreciation and other expenses, the mayor's 2016 tax return shows. De Blasio and McCray reported earning $10,494 less in income in 2016 than in 2015, when their returns reported total income of $231,145. The mayor reported earning an annual salary of $217,217 in 2016, but he stands to receive a significant pay raise if he wins re-election later this year. The City Council last year approved salary increases for all city elected officials, including for Council members and the mayor, which would increase de Blasio's annual salary to $258,750. The mayor has pledged not to take the salary increase unless he is re-elected to a second term.

McCray, who chairs the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and who listed her occupation as "writer" on the tax returns, does not earn a salary for her work with the city. De Blasio and McCray paid a total of $69,523 in taxes, and their effective tax rate was 31.51 percent. The pair received a $4,011 refund. De Blasio and his wife own two homes in Park Slope, one at 384 11th Street and another at 442 11th Street. The returns show de Blasio reported rental income of $56,500 at the property at 384 11th Street, and $49,500 in rental income at the 442 11th Street residence. ... De Blasio's returns show his family ended up taking a combined $6,237 loss on both of the properties, after taxes, mortgage interest, depreciation and other expenses were factored in. Read more here.

- Newsday's Matthew Chayes: "The mayor's office said de Blasio and McCray paid a total effective tax rate of 31.51 percent, based on $69,523 in federal, state and local taxes. But they included taxes such as Social Security and Medicare, which typically aren't considered part of the effective tax rate, said accountant Joseph J. Perry, a partner at the firm Marcum LLP in Melville. He reviewed the return at Newsday's request. Excluding those taxes, which de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein put at about $10,000, de Blasio's family paid an effective tax rate of about 26.6 percent, Perry said." Read more here.

- Related: "NYC mayoral candidate Bo Dietl refuses to release tax returns" - Daily News' Erin Durkin: Read more here.

- AFTER THE VOTER PURGE: Has the NYCBOE improved? - WNYC's Brigid Bergin: "For many New Yorkers, Donald Trump's victory last fall is the only news they care about from last year's elections. But one year ago today, voters in this heavily Democratic town were heading to the polls in a closely-watched presidential primary featuring a marquis match-up between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, it was Donald Trump versus everyone else. The results revealed profound problems with the way New York runs elections. Thousands of voters showed up at the polls only to find their names had been removed from the books. As WNYC had already reported the day before, more than 100,000 voters were illegally purged by the city Board of Elections in Brooklyn alone. Complaints poured into hotlines and politicians called for reform. Looking back, did they deliver?" Read more here.

YOU'VE BEEN SERVED -- "New York Restaurateurs Endorse Lawsuit Against Trump for Ethics Violation," by Eater's Serena Dai: "New York restaurateurs Danny Meyer, Tom Colicchio, and James Mallios of Amali endorsed a restaurant workers organization today as it filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump - alleging that Trump's ownership of hotels and restaurants puts other restaurants at a disadvantage. On Tuesday, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, or ROC, joined a suit filed by government watchdog group Center for Responsible Ethics in Washington that claims Trump's refusal to give up ownership of his businesses violates an 'emoluments' clause of the Constitution, according to the Daily News. The clause bans presidents from accepting cash from foreign governments. The lawsuit alleges that foreign dignitaries will 'curry favor with the administration,' ROC said in a statement announcing why they decided to join the lawsuit." Read more here

MORNING MEDIA with POLITICO's Joe Pompeo:

- O'REILLY'S NOT GOING DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT: Statement from his attorney last night: "Bill O'Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America. This law firm has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O'Reilly for political and financial reasons. That evidence will be put forth shortly and it is irrefutable." The $111 million question: Will 21st Century Fox bosses Rupert, James and Lachlan Murdoch send O'Reilly packing like Roger Ailes before him? The $111 million question: Will 21st Century Fox bosses Rupert, James and Lachlan Murdoch send O'Reilly packing like Roger Ailes before him? From Murdoch's Wall Street Journal: "Fox News is preparing to cut ties with its biggest star, Bill O'Reilly, according to people close to the situation." Read more here

- REVOLVING DOOR: The Daily News is getting someone new to oversee the type of coverage that won the tabloid a Pulitzer for public service journalism last week. Jim Gaines, a Time Inc. veteran who joined The Atlantic two years ago as director of the publication's in-house branded content operation, is jumping back to the journalism side to become enterprise editor at the News starting May 8, editor in chief Arthur Browne revealed in a staff memo. Earlier in his career, Gaines held the top editing jobs at Time and People magazines. In more recent years, he was managing editor of The Daily (News Corp's now defunct iPad paper) and Americas editor at Reuters.

- The Village Voice is bringing media coverage back to its pages in the tradition of Jim Ledbetter, Cynthia Cotts and other veterans of the weekly newspaper's old "Press Clips" franchise. Who better to write for them than Tom McGeveran, former editor of the Morning Media newsletter," and former media editor at POLITICO and The New York Observer, among other esteemed designations. No formalized contributor role as of yet, but we can confirm he's got some pieces in the works, starting with...

- WHY SPICER'S A SURVIVOR: "In a White House that has made beating up the fourth estate official policy, Spicer, along with a number of other press officers and anonymous officials, gives reporters what they need (the getting on the phone part) while giving his bosses what they want (the yelling part)," McGeveran writes in the Voice. "[H]ow many people can stand at a podium and tell the world that our president's positions never change - it's the rest of the world that changes? ... The president switches his position overnight, Spicer gives his non-explanation. Reporters can write their dispatches ... without worrying that they need to seriously account for Spicer's comments. McCarthy then makes fun of it all on Saturday Night Live. Even the president gets what he requires, and why should he want more?"

You can read the full Morning Media column and sign up to receive it in your inbox by clicking here.

REAL ESTATE, with POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg:

- HAIL MARY: "Chapel That Survived Sept. 11 Attacks May Not Survive Rent Increase," by New York Times' Sharon Otterman: "In the stench and smolder that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, emergency workers ripped the pews out of the little Roman Catholic chapel opposite the World Trade Center site in Battery Park City in Manhattan and used the church as a command station. As the weeks passed, the pastor erected a tent outside to celebrate Mass. The interior was used by the workers at ground zero as a place for food, rest and counseling. ... The chapel was rebuilt as both a prayer space and a Catholic memorial to the horrors and heroism of Sept. 11, 2001. ... In 2005, Cardinal Edward M. Egan officiated at the rededication. ... Now the little chapel itself is on the verge of destruction. As a result of the neighborhood's recovery, which the chapel helped bring about, St. Joseph's rent more than tripled in 2014, to $264,000 a year. Since then, the parish has been borrowing money from the Archdiocese of New York to cover the cost, but the parish's new pastor and its Finance Council have decided that the debt is not sustainable. ... According to parishioners, there has been an offer to reduce the rent from $80 to $70 per square foot, or about $230,000 a year, but that, they say, is still too much for the parish." Read more here.

- BIG DEAL: "Savanna Sells Flatiron District Retail Condo for $97.5M After Three Years," by Commercial Observer's Liam La Guerre: "TH Real Estate, an affiliate of TIAA Global Asset Management's investment arm Nuveen, has acquired a retail condominium on the ground floor of the 23-story 10 Madison Square West from Savanna, Commercial Observer has learned. The 20,619-square-foot condo, which is 100 percent leased and is located on Broadway between West 24th and West 25th Streets, traded for $97.5 million, a source with knowledge of the deal told CO. TH Real Estate was drawn to the investment because of the site's location, according to TH Real Estate's Todd Rollins." Read more here.

- SITE SAFETY: "Painters and laborers coalition rallies in support of Council construction safety bill," by POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: A coalition of painters and laborers held a boisterous rally on the steps of City Hall Tuesday, sending a warning shot to City Council members who have yet to back a legislative proposal that would require work safety training and increase construction site regulation in response to a rise in construction related deaths in recent years. Members of the Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust and District Council 9, International Union of Painter and Allied Trades launched a new initiative dubbed "Building Blocks NYC," which will specifically target Council members in their districts and offices. "Get on the bills and stop the deaths. What we are portraying here is life and death, this isn't a play," said Pat Purcell, the executive director of GNY LECET. "Today's focus is on 22 Council members who have not gone on this bill, and there is not a political reason in the world to not be on this bill." Read more here.

You can find the free version of Sally's real estate newsletter here: http://politi.co/2a1DgJk

THE HOME TEAMS - POLITICO New York's Howard Megdal: White Sox 4, Yankees 1: The win streak is over, though Luis Severino looked great in defeat, striking out ten over eight innings.

- Phillies 6, Mets 2: With two outs in the eighth and the Mets up 2-1, Jose Reyes dropped a pop up in the wind between home and third. A batter later. The game was tied. Two innings later, the Phillies won it in ten.

- The day ahead: the Yankees host the White Sox. The Phillies are at Citi Field.

BIRTHDAYS: Felix Gillette, a staff writer at Bloomberg Businessweek and an Observer alum ... Seth Solomonow, a transportation and communication consultant at Bloomberg Associates, co-author of Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution, and former NYCDOT official ...former Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.) is 74 ... Chandra Hayslett, communication consultant and former reporter at the Star-Ledger ... Dave Benson, formerly of NY1 ... actor Hayden Christensen, who played the lead character in the 2003 film "Shattered Glass," based on the true story of a disgraced journalist ... Lobbyist Rick Ostroff ... Union College spokesman Phil Wajda ... political consultant Jim Kelly.

#UpstateAmerica: Binghamton removed a pair of unsanctioned anti-littering "Make America Great Again" signs.

#PlanetNYC: Vegetables, as dessert in select eateries (mainly in Manhattan) via Gothamist's Nell Casey.

FOR MORE political and policy news from New York, check out Politico New York's home page: http://politi.co/1MkLGXV

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