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Stringer, Markowitz in Kosher Duel at Barney Greengrass Centennial

Scott Stringer, Marty Markowitz

Scott Stringer and Mary Markowitz shilling at the Barney Greengrass Centennial.Photo: Getty Images

A party last night in honor of Barney Greengrass’s centennial was a lox-strewn affair, with dozens of loyal noshers coming to pay their respects to the beloved Upper West Side bastion. Naturally, this being New York, there were also a few attendees who like their bagels with a schmear of retail politics. Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer read a proclamation naming June 18 Barney Greengrass the Sturgeon King Celebration Day. What did Stringer, who said he’s been coming to the smoked-fish emporium for “more years than I’m going to admit,” admire so much about the place? “I like the sturgeon, I like the sable, and I like the lox — it’s a little pricey, but I get by,” he said. “This is feel-good food. You come, you have a bagel, you have sable, you sit with friends, you kibbutz, you don’t kvetch, and you have a great time.”

Not to be outspieled, Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz also showed up with an official decree inaugurating Barney Greengrass 100 Years in the City Celebration Day. What brought the pol so far from his usual stomping grounds? “Well, number one, I’m Jewish, and this is the high temple of Jewish soul food, so it makes perfect sense,” he said. “It’s the perfect comfort food if you have a weight problem, as I do.… My favorite is brisket, but pastrami and corned beef come in a close second. And, of course, good lox. And they’ve got, I have to tell you, for a retailer, probably the best lox in New York City. No question about it.”

What about in Brooklyn? “I don’t think we have anything comparable,” he said, a stunning departure from his usual borough boosterism. “When I was a boy, we had many, many appetizing stores. Sadly, they’re pretty much all gone today.… What happened is Sephardic Jews are not as much into this as Ashkenazi Jews. A lot of younger people prefer not to eat this food: They’re into French, nouveau, eclectic, whatever you want to call it.” Marty, we’re shocked. Shocked! Since he — like Stringer — is considered a possible mayoral contender for 2009, might this be one way to solicit votes in other boroughs? —Andrew Goldstein

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