At J&R Music in lower Manhattan today, thousands of screaming and crying girls, flanked by their patient parents, waited for Manhattan Borough President and 2013 mayoral hopeful Scott Stringer. It wasn't until the jolly local politician showed up and said his piece that the line for the main attraction, a record signing by Justin Bieber, would start moving. But first, the 18-year-old mega-pop star was to be presented with an official proclamation from the city dubbing today Justin Bieber (and J&R) Appreciation Day.
Daily Intel was on hand for the madness as the throng of photographers jockeyed for a shot of the unlikely duo. If Bieber had any idea who he was shaking hands with, it didn't come through in his flawless cyborg-celeb smile.
Stringer himself was made to wait for the angel-throated teenager, who arrived fashionably late to chants of "Justin! Justin!" He breezed past the NYC ambassador and began flipping through the store's record stacks in a robotic sequence meant to look like the movements of a real boy. Bieber picked up a Stevie Wonder vinyl and jumped on stage, flashing his teeth occasionally, and shimmying. Then he took a break to rest his eyes from the flash, mouthing the words to his own songs playing over the loudspeaker.
Stringer has made a habit of appearing with boldface names, most notably Scarlett Johansson, who helped announce his run for mayor, and Debra Winger, who's hosting a fund-raiser for his campaign tonight. (The Hipster Cop was also in the room.) Stringer eventually took the mic briefly to hand Bieber a plaque "on behalf of the 1.6 million people who live in Manhattan." (And all the tearful children in town from New Jersey and Long Island.) Alas, there was no time today for an endorsement the other way around, but the face-time might just be enough.
"From a borough president perspective it's great to recognize someone who is internationally known, but who comes to launch their new album right here in Manhattan. It shows the power of this city," Stringer told Daily Intel after the event. And from the perspective of a candidate for mayor? "I thought he would be impressed with all the people who came out to see me," Stringer said. "Let's just say I'm looking forward to Believe."
Below, a video dispatch from the mob scene of Stringer fans: