The Battle of Brooklyn


If you were air-dropped in to New York City for this last day of the mayoral race and attended the Bloomberg and Ferrer events in Brooklyn earlier today, you might be surprised that the guy looking grim and sounding a little tired was up by 30-some-odd points in the polls, and that they guy beaming and racing down Fulton Street was destined to get shellacked in 24 hours’ time.

Bloomberg’s entrance to the function room at Amico Senior Center in Borough Park on Monday brought rousing applause, and brought State Senator Marty Golden and Borough President Marty Markowitz as well—”my two favorite Martys,” the mayor called them. Senator Marty stilled the buzzing crowd with reminiscences of 9-11, while Beep Marty—saying he’s “a proud Democrat and will be for the rest of my life”—asked voters to vote for the mayor at the top of the ticket “and then you come back to the Democratic line straight down.” That was bad news for GOP city council hopeful Pat Russo, standing behind him, but everyone chuckled anyway. As the two Martys blustered their way into the mic, however, the mayor looked like the least enthusiastic guy at the front of the room.

“I am a member of the AARP and I would love to have you vote for the senior of this race,” the mayor said. “It would make my mother very proud.” After all she is 96 (A collective “Awwww!” from the crowd, scattered calls of “God Bless Her.”). “The only poll that matters is the poll tomorrow,” the mayor said, as a few folks at the tables in back began to resume their earlier conversations. “One more thing, if anyone needs a ride to the polls we would be happy to provide a free ride. I’ll give Joan the number.”

An hour or so later Ferrer was beaming, walking briskly down Fulton Street with Rev. Al Sharpton and Councilmember Tish James with cameras and media types swarming. They pressed the flesh at delis and shoe stores, kissed babies, glad-handed street vendors. Ferrer’s megaphone guy Kenny Agosto was in rare form, leading chants (sometimes one-man chants) of “New Yorkers united can never be defeated,” “Dignity versus money,” “Our vote is not for sale,” and “Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are.” Eventually the crowd stopped, Ferrer grabbed the megaphone, yelling, “Are we gonna vote tomorrow? Are we gonna turn this city on its head?” Suddenly there was cute 4-month-old in his arms, Ferrer was kissing him, and then Sharpton propped the little guy on his shoulder and said, “Hezekiah (that’s the kid’s name) should not grow up in a city where you’ve gotta be a billionaire to be mayor, where you can buy votes, not earn votes. “People are talking about, ‘Times are better.’ Better for whom? We’re running for Hezekiah.” The crowd cheered. Hezekiah, said the councilwoman and she handed him back to mom, pooped his pants. “Did you feel the energy?” James asked a reporter. “Did you feel the love?”