They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but in an increasingly competitive mayoral race, it’s also this veteran reporter’s best way to cover the candidates.
Two mayoral frontrunners have taken the battle for City Hall from the podium to the plate by attempting to woo Brooklyn journalists with complimentary breakfasts at local diners.
Just a week and a half after presumptive mayoral candidate and Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D–Manhattan) hosted a roundtable for Brooklyn reporters at Junior’s Restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn, fellow City Hall hopeful Rep. Anthony Weiner (D–Sheepshead Bay) treated the hometown press to a meal at the Kings Plaza Diner in Marine Park on July 11.
And after asking both candidates the tough questions (and downing as much free grub as I could), it became clear that Weiner is the top chef in one way: he was the one who actually provided real food.
The 43-year-old candidate brought home the bacon when he allowed the reporters to order freely from the Avenue U joint’s menu (in his own case, Weiner didn’t bring home any bacon, but a lightly buttered waffle and a cup and a half of coffee for himself; I had the omelet).
This grizzled scribe wasn’t nearly as lucky at Quinn’s roundtable.
Sure, she scored some points by hosting her event at the venerable Junior’s and surrounding herself with a few of her fellow councilmembers including Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge).
Quinn mostly talked about the Council’s restoration of $129 million that had been cut from city schools in the preliminary budget.
But the press left Junior’s still hungry — for answers and for breakfast; reporters and photographers were treated to only coffee and bread (what, no cheesecake?).
Quinn has raised a hefty $3,091,276 for her political future, while Weiner, who failed to secure the Democratic mayoral nod in 2005, has a whopping $5,027,918 on hand for the 2009 mayoral race — enough to buy every reporter in the city a plate of pancakes and still outspend Quinn by millions.
But it takes more than funding and food to become mayor. When asked why he deserved the job, Weiner said he’s what New Yorkers are craving.
“I have a sense of what animates the citizens of the city,” he said.
Perhaps, but I think I’ll chew on that for a little while longer.