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Warring parties: Democrats and Conservatives hold competing wing-dings under same roof

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A political chasm may separate them, but for one special night, they partied in the same building.

The Shorefront Democratic Club and the Brooklyn South Conservative Club had concurrent galas in the same Dyker Heights catering hall on March 12. Politicos from both sides of Brooklyn’s proverbial aisle descended on Sirico’s — separated only by a set of stairs and an unspoken nonaggression pact.

Open bars oiled up both shindigs, but there was still friction. Conservatives claim they booked the hall’s primo, first-floor ball room first, but schnapps-and-spend liberals stole their selection with a big, fat check — relegating them to a basement party room.

“We had it months ago,” said Christine Sisto, who organized the Conservative carousal. “[Sirico’s] said ‘print the invitation,’ but the Democrats wrote a huge check. But I still wanted to have it here, and I knew they had the downstairs room. We wanted to show [Democrats] they don’t dominate the city.”

But the Shorefront Democrats’ leader said she had cast the ballot for the first-floor ballroom well before her partisan rivals.

“This day was always ours,” said Dilia Schack, who claimed she booked the room back in June 2014.

As if that wasn’t enough, rival congressional candidates Dan Donovan (R–Staten Island) and Vincent Genitle (D–Bay Ridge) narrowly missed standing under the same roof, with Gentile leaving for an engagement on bucolic Staten Island just minutes before Donovan addressed potential voters in the Conservative room.

It was the second near-miss that day for the two, who are both vying for disgraced Rep. Michael Grimm’s vacant congressional seat in a May 5 special election. Donovan and Gentile were both scheduled to be in the same city council hearing earlier on March 12, but Donovan opted to attend the funeral for a Staten Island judge instead, The Observer reported.

Conservatives at the fete could hear Democrats shuffling their feet on the dance floor above, and one Republican pol joked that the blue crowd was trying to drown out fears that Gentile couldn’t take the Republican-heavy Staten Island.

“They’re making all that noise up there because they’re jealous — jealous of the next congressman,” joked state Sen. Martin Golden, referring to Donovan.

But the animosity between the building’s upper and lower houses was all in good fun, another conservative said.

“It was a coincidence, but a good one,” said Gerry Kassar, a conservative party leader. “There’s more excitement, more attitude for the whole evening.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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