Keep her off the pole!
The pole dancing climax to Borough President Markowitz’s State of the Borough address didn’t go over so well — and some critics are saying that Markowitz’s objectification of women can no longer be ignored.
“I just didn’t think it was necessary,” said Chinita Pointer, who was honored at the Feb. 4 speech for running the non-profit music program, the Noel Pointer Foundation. “I love Marty, but this was over the top.”
Bay Ridge pole-dancing and exercise teacher Stephanie Mancuso was one of several leading borough women to receive a shout-out from The Beep. But Markowitz’s enjoyment of Mancuso’s contribution to Brooklyn culture went far beyond a mere “attagirl.” Instead, Markowitz ended his annual assessment of the borough’s present condition by yielding the stage at Sunset Park HS to the tight-leotard-clad Mancuso, who proceeded to gyrate suggestively up and down (and backwards and forwards) on a stripper pole.
The next day, the blogs and our own website were filled with negative reactions.
“Marty is a putz,” wrote one commenter who signed as Morris from Sunset Park. “He’s an embarrassment to Brooklyn.”
Karen from Ditmas Park added, “Marty is a total schmuck. What a misogynist, too!”
“Seriously,” added Susan from Windsor Terrace, “a pole dancer at a speech held at a PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL?”
Commenters may also have been reacting to other portions of the speech, in which Markowitz couldn’t resist showing off photos of him with glittery celebrities Beyonce, Brooklyn Decker and Christy Turlington, who were included in the speech for eye candy.
“Tall women have a thing for short, chubby guys,” cracked Markowitz.
The joke was anything but isolated to this one speech.
Markowitz also made some frat house-groaners about Beyonce at the Atlantic Yards ground-breaking ceremony in March, which was attended by her hubby, the rapper Jay-Z. The Beep spent several minutes waving a picture of Beyonce kissing him on the cheek, a photo taken at a joint appearance earlier in the year.
“If I had met her before you, I could have been a contender,” Markowitz told Jay-Z while members of the audience rolled their eyes.
And at last year’s State of the Borough address, Markowitz discussed his lust for actress Vanessa Williams, whom he met while she was filming at Borough Hall.
“I think she was a little interested in me!” Markowitz exclaimed.
Markowitz’s loose lips are not limited to the occasional bad joke. In fact, he’s still in legal hot water resulting from a sex discrimination lawsuit against him by ex-staffer Regina Weiss in 2007, alleging that Markowitz runs an office that tolerates chauvinist remarks. The suit even claims Markowitz nicknamed a female former press secretary “Tinkerbell” for leaving various items scattered about Borough Hall like “pixie dust.”
But The Beep insists that he meant nothing insulting about his possibly demeaning characterization and that his office is not an immature boy’s club.
Markowitz and his staff also stand behind the State of the Borough’s grand strip-tease finale, saying that they were highlighting a unique form of exercise that is being taught by one of the borough’s “great characters.”
“Strip-tease is not the appropriate term — this studio teaches fitness and, in fact, it is a growing form of fitness and even has its own regional and national competitions,” said Markowitz’s spokesman Mark Zustovich. “As for the performance, we have received positive feedback from attendees, who enjoyed the show and called this year’s State of the Borough one of our best.”