Today's been a pretty huge news day. Or at least, it has been if you're specifically interested in the democratic field for this year's mayoral race: Anthony Weiner officially announced his sort of inevitable candidacy, with a solid 64-point "action plan" and a video his campaign accidentally released a few hours early, while the New York Times published a glowing profile depicting Bill de Blasio as the face of "new Brooklyn." Besides giving the city an outlet for all our pent up Weiner puns (Kristin Iversen humbly submits "Jizzoner"), the big story seems to be that pretty much every candidate now wants to be known as "The Brooklyn Candidate."
The Times article puts an even finer point on it: "Mr. de Blasio’s campaign for mayor may be the ultimate test of Brooklyn’s might." Which seems true enough, given all the jostling from every other candidate in the field who can plausibly lay claim to any sort of Brooklyn cred.
Weiner, in spite of his identification mostly as a Queens resident (and, you know, a recent move to a luxury apartment on Park Avenue) is shown within the first 30 seconds of his campaign video strolling in front of brownstones, saying, "This was my neighborhood growing up, a middle class kid in Brooklyn. I thought we had it all, playing stickball late into the night, and if we were lucky, a Mets game on the weekends."
And, of course, there's de Blasio, who was married in Prospect Park, has lived in Park Slope for years, intimately knows his way around local issues, and represents to a lot of people all things socially conscious and upwardly mobile about this borough (in a good way, in case that's not clear). He's also quick to point out that unlike Brooklyn expats like Weiner or Bill Thompson, he's actually "living it now."
But you know else is from Brooklyn, and running for mayor? Sal Albanese. A former Bay Ridge city councilman and New York public school teacher, Albanese has lived in Brooklyn since he was eight years old. He also has a decades-long history of advocating for progressive politics in the borough. Even his campaign slogan is "Five Boroughs, One Future." Sal Albanese is super fucking Brooklyn (and also, obviously, kind of a favorite in our offices).
Maybe more importantly, though, Albanese is more than happy to take public jabs at de Blasio's candidacy, nicknaming him "Broadway Bill" for his impressive roster of celebrity endorsements, and telling Politicker, "You listen to him on the campaign trail and you’d think he was the third coming of Martin Luther King Jr. [...] He comes across as this major leader of grassroots people in New York City when in fact he’s just a career politician that machinates all day long … He’s a behind-the-scenes guy and we’re going to expose that.”
Granted, "Broadway Bill" is not that sick of a burn—some people ("theatre" nerds) might even mistake it for a compliment—but Albanese's approach of repeatedly hassling de Blasio is really a surprisingly effective one. Whether or not you've made your mind up (or actually care much at all) which of the mayoral candidates really, truly represents our borough, he's pretty much guaranteed that we'll have to keep talking about it.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.