Mike’s street cred problem • Brooklyn Paper

Mike’s street cred problem

Is hizzoner’s approach to his slice more white-glove or everyman? Photos by Ed Reed/Stefano Giovannini

A saucy staffer for candidate Michael Bloomberg insists hizzoner isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty — especially when he’s digging into Brooklyn’s favorite finger food.

The mayor routinely ignores his mother’s advice: he eats his food — or at least his pizza — with his hands,a spokesperson said.

Just a short month ago, the situation was anything but clear-cut. Back in July, Bloomberg was photographed carefully carving up a slice of pizza with a knife and fork at Carmine’s in Williamsburg — an image that resounded with at least one local politico, who contends the mayor’s patrician dining habits may be out of touch with the borough’s working-class ways.

But on Aug. 4, Bloomberg turned the tables on his critics. He made a stop at Enzo’s Pizzeria in Gravesend, and was photographed tearing into a slice without the assistance of flatware.

Was the shift in eating styles a deliberate attempt by Bloomberg to channel his inner Joe the Plumber? Courier-Life sought the truth from Bloomberg spokesperson Andrew Brent.

“The mayor cut up the slice to share it with folks at the feast,” Brent said, referring to the annual Feast of Mt. Carmel in Williamsburg. “He ate his slice with his hands.”

There is no Pizzagate: Brent quickly fired off three other photos from the event that plainly show the mayor sharing the contested slice, and managing a bite — again, without the benefit of a fork.

Still, Bloomberg’s likely Democratic challenger Comptroller William Thompson urged patience with the mayor, who was raised in Massachusetts and lives on the Upper East Side.

“We should cut the mayor a little slack. He’s not a real New Yorker so he probably doesn’t know the real New York way of eating pizza —— with your hands,” said Carly Lindauer, a spokesperson for Thompson.

Borough President Marty Markowitz, an unabashed enthusiast of most things edible, said he consumes a slice by folding it up and eating it with his hands. Through his spokesperson Mark Zustovich, he said there is no wrong way to eat a slice. “Marty always says Brooklyn’s diversity is one of our greatest assets — and that includes the way Brooklynites choose to eat a slice of pizza,” he said.

Enzo’s owner Enzo Ferrante said that he doesn’t pass judgement on his diners — even if they use a fork and a knife to dissect a slice of pizza.

But Ferrante, whose shop has been open for the past 13 years, said Bloomberg impressed him. “He ate it Brooklyn style.”

“Brooklyn style is that people grab it with their hands, and they eat it,” he clarified.

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