One New York representative said he could not make it because he had to march in a local firefighters’ parade. Another said that, as much as she wanted to go, she had to visit family out of town. Yet another just sent his regrets, saying he would be traveling that day — in Connecticut.
It was supposed to be the grandest New York political party of the year: a rousing birthday tribute to the powerful dean of the state’s Congressional delegation, Representative Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat from Harlem.
Organizers reserved the gilded main ballroom at the Plaza Hotel, booked Aretha Franklin to serenade Mr. Rangel and sent out an elaborate video invitation featuring a testimonial from Bill Clinton (who, as it happens, was also invited but said he had to be in Arkansas that day).
RANGEL’S HOT MESS