A fight over a name took place on Thursday in Manhattan between Staten Island Democrats Donald DiMaio and Michael McMahon, in a 6,000-square-foot space at 20 Prince St. in Greenwich Village.
Mr. DiMaio, the Democratic borough president, represents Staten Island, where the Blood Center of Staten Island is located. Mr. McMahon, a former representative for Staten Island, represents the sprawling borough on Staten Island.
Mr. McMahon worked with the Blood Center and its managers to lobby the city to change the building’s name in 2015, effectively responding to two separate books of land purchased and sold to developers.
Mr. McMahon told The Observer that the Blood Center had agreed to the changes, giving Mr. McMahon’s administration a significant amount of leverage.
In the end, the Blood Center continued using the address, initially as the Staten Island and Lower Manhattan Blood Center, before petitioning the city to change the name to the East Side NYC Blood Center.
In exchange, the Blood Center leased the space to a regional office with a separate sign and site name, the East Side NYC Blood Center.
On Thursday, Mr. McMahon marched with supporters into the East Side NYC Blood Center for a noon event.
But as Mr. McMahon and the supporters took the stage at the entrance to the building, Mr. DiMaio spoke to a large group of Islanders gathered outside. He said he understood the need for representation, but because the space was not on Staten Island, it was not “proper” for the event to be held at the East Side NYC Blood Center, according to several of his supporters.
The event quickly escalated.
Mr. McMahon and Mr. DiMaio were escorted from the building. As they left, they exchanged punches and words. Police officers removed the two men from the building and escorted them away.
Bystanders said the two had threatened each other with chairs, bottles and canisters of gas.
“I think our event was great,” Mr. McMahon said of the experience. “However, I do wish there was an appropriate place and venue for the people of Staten Island to come together and show their unified support for our campaign for district attorney.”
“I will have to take out their insurance,” Mr. DiMaio said.
Responding to the blood center’s firing back, Mr. McMahon said in a statement that Mr. DiMaio and his supporters were “blatantly” violating the very laws that Mr. McMahon has long championed. He also accused Mr. DiMaio of using his opponent’s name in order to “further his own political agenda.”