It’s odd to be the underdog with Scarlett Johansson on your team, but that’s life for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who announced his candidacy for mayor of New York City Monday night at the Jane Hotel with the actress by his side. “It’s always inspiring to see voters get behind the lesser known, less trendy candidate, but I have to say, after tonight’s success, that won’t be the case any longer,” said Johansson, standing next to Stringer at a venue better known for the Olsen twins and a tough door.
The event was the nightcap of a Stringer/ScarJo doubleheader that opened with a fund-raiser at the Plaza Hotel. It’s probably safe to say no D.J. played Modest Mouse at the uptown event, but white hair was still a hot accessory later in the night, as the older crowd gravitated towards the velvet couches (under the taxidermic animals) while younger bunches of volunteers, filmmakers, and tech consultants crowded the bars and would-be dance floor. It was the sort of coalition that Stringer will need to cultivate if he has any chance in 2013’s crowded mayoral field, where a recent poll put him second-to-last among Democrats, behind Bloomberg favorite Christine Quinn, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
“Some people want to continue the status quo,” Stringer said, test-marketing his jabs at Quinn. “They liked Bloomberg one and two. We’re navigating three,” he quipped. “Some want four! But I want something a little different.”
Johansson called Stringer “one of the most progressive mayoral candidates in New York City history,” touching on his support for affordable housing, bike lanes, and protecting the environment. The actress, a Manhattan native, credited her support of Stringer to her grandmother, Dorothy Sloan, who was in attendance and worked with the politician decades ago. “She’s somebody I marched with, I campaigned with, I went to Albany with, all in the name of diversity and affordable housing,” said Stringer.
The leading pair were soon pinned in a corner for a frantic photography session that lasted nearly as long as their speeches, with both an older woman and a teenager in a yarmulke climbing atop a couch to snap a picture of the star and her politician of choice. Scott and Scarlett were then ushered into a back room, but not before a man shoved a script into the famous one’s hands, mumbling something about Jodie Foster. She shot back: “You’re going to make me carry this?”