A Letter From Marty Markowitz
Despite his near-silence on traffic injuries and deaths, Marty’s theatrical entrance-by-bike at his 2011 State of the Borough speech was, in one way, less offensive than something else that happened during his oratorical tour of Brooklyn.
When I read that Marty featured a pole dancing exercise instructor on stage at Sunset Park High School during his speech, I thought it was in bad taste. Bike commuters may make up a small percentage of his constituency, but women still make up about half of the people who live here and as a relatively new dad I’m sensitive to the kind of world in which my daughter will grow up. I’m also a huge fan of Chris Rock’s advice to fathers:
Okay, so the pole dancer at Marty’s speech wasn’t exactly a stripper. She was an exercise instructor at Exotic Curves in Bay Ridge and all the more power to her for owning or being part of a business that must be doing well enough right now to catch to the BP’s attention. Marty has long told Brooklyn to lighten up, so I guess I can make the connection between his clear commitment to personal health and his boosterism of local entrepreneurs.
But still. Did Marty need to feature her in his speech? It’s not exactly a hanging offense, but it also isn’t something I think an elected official should put on full display at one of the biggest events of the BP’s year. (Not that it would happen in a million years, but Bloomberg would generate a national outrage if he told so much as a blond joke at a press conference.) That’s the risk of mixing your political persona with comedy: sometimes the jokes fall flat.
So, I did what any other sanctimonious Park Slope liberal breeder nutjob would do. I wrote him an email.
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2011 7:49 PM
Dear Mr. Markowitz,
As a father of a young daughter, I watched your State of the Borough
speech with mild disgust. Even though you were promoting a local
business, to feature a woman pole dancing on stage during your
presentation — at a public high school, no less — was crude and in
poor taste. Is that really the message you want young girls in your
borough to see and hear? There were high school students and children
present at your speech. Is that how we should promote our great
borough? By putting a young woman in revealing clothing front and
center during your speech? Our borough’s young women deserve better.
Brooklyn has so much to be proud of and so much to offer people who live
and visit here, that I’m disappointed you couldn’t find something
different to fill the time in your hour and a half of stage time.
I think you owe women and girls, who make up half of your constituency,
Not too bad, right? All I mentioned was “mild disgust,” disapointment, and a thought that perhaps, in the fourth largest city in America, Markowitz could have chosen any of a few thousand other local personalities or colorful businesspeople to entertain his audience.
I never really expected a reply, but I got one on Monday either from the man himself or from a punctuation loving staffer using Marty’s email address and a computer with an intermittently functioning shift button.
From: Markowitz, Marty
Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 2:26 PM
Are you serious?????? First, there were no young girls present and
secondly, this guest did nothing lewd…she runs a business that is all
about exercise for men and woman…..this was not about sex
dancing….every year in my annual Borough speech I present bonafide
Brooklyn characters…and unique Brooklynites doing unique
things……that’s all there is to it…..marty
Good to know that this was not about “sex dancing” but his response left me curious: how many men take pole dancing classes? I’m happy to hear from anyone who knows.
Let me be clear: I love this email response. Someone else might have given me the classic non-apology: “I’m sorry if you were offended.” But that’s Marty for you. His response was vintage old-school Brooklyn: “I’m sorry if you were offended, wussy.” To give him or his office credit, I can see the benefit of this response: it’s a straight-shooting, say-what-you-mean email, not some form letter to “Dear Brooklyn Resident.” Sometimes you just have to laugh.
I have only one minor point of contention. According to Marty, “there were no young girls present.” Then I guess the dance troupe that also performed during his speech is made up of some impressively young looking adults: