Wearing her signature red beret, Curtis Sliva is on television, stroking one of her 16 rescue cats in a campaign ad. He’s on the subway with his Guardian Angels crime-fighting patrol. He’s stirring up a restaurant brawl in Little Italy and blaming the mafia and the mayor when he’s banned from making decisions in a meatball-eating contest.
That’s how the Republican nominee is embarking on an impossible quest to become mayor of New York City—always in his red hat.
Sliva has spent decades as a stunt-savvy New York character with a knack for keeping news cameras around and a history of bombastic statements. He had once escaped the throes of an attempt provoked by his radio commentary.
Republicans insist that his campaign this year is not a long shot, but more than a David-and-Goliath slingshot, with Sliva speaking about crime and disorder as a roadside “people’s man” .
“I’m the only Republican who can go to a neighborhood where the only Republican they’ve ever seen is Abraham Lincoln on the $5 bill and be well received,” Sliva told the Associated Press this week in an interview filled with his cat. I told apartment.
“I think most people don’t necessarily see me as a Republican. They see me more as a populist. ‘That’s Curtis. We know him,'” Sliva said. He won the Republican nomination despite never voting for Trump, a sign that he could win over the Democrats impossibly.
At a campaign rally later that day, he dismissed the idea that winning was impossible, saying he had been “David versus Goliath” his entire life.
Sliva is likely to lose to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a Democrat and former New York City police captain, next month to be the city’s second black mayor.
In a city where Democrats outnumbered Republicans 7 to 1, Adams emerged from a crowded primary field as a candidate with a more liberal image, a pro-business outlook and a singular outlook on crime that struck a chord with the NYPD. Mixed his time, calls for reform in his previous advocacy department and his experiences of police brutality as a teenager.
Sliva, 67, has been a ubiquitous New York figure since founding the Guardian Angels anti-crime group in 1979. The unarmed unit of young men and women in red berets and matching jackets began with the then-crime-ridden patrol of New York City. expanded into the city before establishing the subway system and chapters throughout the US
The 320-square-foot Upper West Side apartment that Sliva shares with his wife, Nancy, is decorated with copious promotional posters and images of himself and his many cats. Part of one wall is covered with old newspaper clippings and posters of the Guardian Angels’ early adventures, a sign that reads “Crack Down on Crack” and some police sketches of decades-old rape suspects.
He says the tableau is reminiscent of the group’s roots in New York.
“His analysis of New York is, in some ways, very ancient and I think a lot of voters see him as a relic of old New York with his scarlet beret and I would say that’s how the city operates, It has a racial understanding, which I don’t think many New Yorkers are interested in right now, said Christina Greer, associate professor of political science at Don Fordham University.
Sliva won the Republican primary earlier this year by defeating restaurant owner Fernando Mateo.
Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg’s two decades in the mayor’s office prove that Republicans can — or at least once can — take away Democrats’ advantage in the city.
But Sliva’s style and reputation, Greer said, mean that she “isn’t really taken seriously by a certain section of the population.”
Sliva’s flair for attention turned mortally severe in 1992 when mob boss John Gotti was shot after using his radio talk show. He escaped from his would-be killers by diving out of the car window.
He confessed after the real assault that he had made up fabricated stories about the Guardian Angels’ feats in the past, including foiling a rape and a fake story about Sliva’s kidnapping by transit authority police officers.
He was briefly barred from a regular spot on a local television debate show, after making lewd and racist remarks about the city council leader on television and radio. Sliva later apologized for his comments.
Last summer, when Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio banned swimming on the city’s beaches in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Sliva protested on Coney Island, first on the beach with the cardboard of de Blasio’s face. On it by sticking the cutout and kicking the sand. He then swam for about an hour in a wetsuit and his red beret, ignoring city park officials’ orders to get out of the water.
He is in the form as mayoral candidate.
Sliva conducts news conferences almost daily around the city, often at day-old crime scenes where he denounces the city’s failed leadership. During a shooting a short distance from his apartment, he lay on his stomach in the street, looking for a “smoking gun” under a car while television cameras rolled.
His campaign released videos that showed Sliva and his Guardian Angels streaming into a small Italy restaurant and isolating unruly patrons.
Sliva dismisses Adams as out-of-touch and kicks him off the streets, and hits him with a hammer for reports he is vacationing in Monaco and holding fundraisers at the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyards. He questioned news reports as to whether Adams actually lived in his Brooklyn brownstone, holding a milk carton with the face of the “missing” Adams, walking across a bridge to Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Adams has largely disregarded Sliva.
“it is challenging …
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Eric Adams