what i can't live without

What Curtis Sliwa Can’t Live Without

Photo: courtesy Curtis Sliwa

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Curtis Sliwa — a Republican candidate running to be New York City’s next mayor — about the black T-shirtsbar soap, and cat treats he can’t live without.

Photo: retailer

The only pens I write with. I usually have four in my pocket at any given time. I hate having to ask people for a writing utensil — half the time they don’t work, the other half they cut through whatever you’re signing. People have asked me to sign pieces of cardboard or dollar bills and these are great for signing most anything. They have a marker tip, but they don’t bleed like Sharpies, and the ink stands out and dries fast. It does not smear, which is very important. The ink is also not impossible to get out. If you accidentally write on yourself, it’s easy to get the mark off.

Photo: retailer

They’re like a white tube sock, except black. I wear these with everything. I like the feel of an athletic sock, but you can’t wear white ones everywhere. Some guys will wear white athletic socks to weddings and they look like real gavones. That’s why I get them in black. I’ve worn them with a suit to weddings. Nobody ever notices. I buy them by the dozen. You know when it’s time to replace a pair if they’re curling up near the toes.

Photo: retailer

Many of the soaps I’ve used over the years are too fragrant. Irish Spring, for example: I can smell it all day after I use it and it curls the hair in my nostrils. I started using this soap when I moved in with my wife Nancy. It doesn’t have an overpowering, perfumey smell and leaves me feeling clean. It lathers incredibly well. A lot of soaps you have to really rub in to get them to lather, to the point that you’re irritating the skin. Not this. It’s also cheap — and plentiful. Even during the pandemic, when lots of other soaps were sold out, I could always find Dial Gold.

Photo: retailer

Nancy and I have 15 rescue cats in our home. It’s a 320-square-foot studio on the Upper West Side with one toilet. My job is to feed them their Temptations treats at least three times a day. The cats can’t get enough of the catnip flavor. They’ll jump over each other and on me when they see me with the tub. Sometimes they line up in almost military precision. There’s a queue, beginning with the patriarch and ending with the littlest kittens.

Photo: retailer

Spalding’s pink, high-bounce balls are things I’ve had around since I was a kid. Stickball, along with electronic dance music, is my passion. The world could be crashing down, but if I’m playing stickball and listening to EDM, I’m in nirvana. I went to Havana once and introduced kids there to the sport, that’s how much of a fanatic I am. This has always been considered the premium ball. You used to be able to get them for a quarter at candy stores. One ball can entertain you all day — you can use it to play handball and stoop ball as well as stickball. These days I don’t have the time to play a full game of stickball, but I’ll still take some swings at a ball. Or I’ll use one to play with the cats.

Photo: retailer

I’ve been wearing black T-shirts long before Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs picked up the habit of dressing in black. I’ll even wear one under a white dress shirt. Black tees don’t show sweat like white ones. I started getting them from Hanes because I wanted to be like Michael Jordan. To me, Mike is synonymous with three things: Nike, McDonald’s, and Hanes. I wear these to death. They last for a while before I need to get new ones.

Photo: retailer

I write everything down on index cards using the Paper Mate pens. The index cards have to be blank. When I complete a task, I just throw the card away. I went to both public and Catholic schools and one thing that stuck with me from my Catholic education is good handwriting. You learn to write so well that your penmanship could be used to make the eye charts they use at the DMV. When there are lines on index cards, it reminds me of the lined paper we wrote on in Catholic school and how you always had to put JMJ at the top and draw a margin down the side.