Al Sharpton Says On One Issue, He'll Fight for the 1%
“All my life, I’ve fought for the 99 percent, but I guess this time I will have to fight for the 1 percent to have a place to have breakfast.”
What does he like about it so much?
Where else, he asked, would a United States senator like Barbara Boxer stop by his table in a jogging suit, without makeup, to harangue him about what to discuss on his talk show on MSNBC?
One person who is probably glad to see the hotel close is John Edwards: It's where Rielle Hunter picked him up at the bar the fateful evening they met. If only he'd gone to a different hotel for drinks, his entire life might have turned out differently. [More...]
What the Loew's Regency has going for it is location: 61st and Park Avenue. And its size. It's not a mega-hotel like a Hilton or the Plaza. It's homey. I don't know the last time the hotel renovated. I stayed there almost once a month in the late 70's, and despite its cramped bathrooms (tiny by even a motel's standards), it was a place I enjoyed staying -- until the Helmsley Park Lane, and later the New York Palace, and later, the Four Seasons and St. Regis caught my fancy. But no matter which one I stayed in, I would never order room service for breakfast. I'd put on big sunglasses and a jogging outfit (even though I didn't run in those years) and go next door to the delightful (and unaffiliated) deli, and get a real breakfast, coffee, yogurt, fresh fruit and eggs or hot oatmeal, for $5, and bring it back up to my room to eat. (I'm sure it's probably $10 now.) When I'd come back from morning meetings, I'd stop at the same deli and get a tuna sandwich or hamburger for lunch, and peacefully eat it in my room before heading out for whatever I scheduled for the afternoon.
I've always wondered why politicians get to a restaurant at 6 am to eat breakfast. They must go to bed at 9 or 10 pm. They miss half the news, coming in from other countries, on a different time zone. They don't watch the TV shows that their constituents watch. If they did, they'd have a bit more insight into the lens through which their constituents view things and then form their opinions. Just like a good trial lawyer who brags that there is no TV at all in his own home, knows enough right before picking a jury to bone up on the last few issues of People Magazine and the top TV shows before starting voir dire. What they watch comes out during questioning, and if you are up on their top show or celebrity, you can form an early bond. They feel you "get them." And, since you know what the show or celebrity mean to them, you can work it into your voir dire at some point, again, causing an easy rapport with that juror.
Constituents of Congresspersons are not at The Regency -- or any other hotel these days, paying $40 for breakfast. I'd rather the officials ate at the same delis everyone else does, and stopped to talk to Ms. Jane Doe- Constituent in her jogging suit than Barbara Boxer. What New Yorker cares what Ms. Boxer thinks? They want to know what their congress critter thinks, and are eager to have their voice heard.
So I don't feel bad for Al Sharpton. If he's really out at that un-g-dly hour having breakfast, I'd rather he spent the time talking to the workers in the street or at the deli getting their opinions. He should remember, all the powerful people he surrounds himself with at breakfast can't win him an election. And if it's his MSNBC show that means so much to him, he's far more likely to get renewed if he bones up on issues that matter to his viewers, and they start to hear him discussing the issues they care about, knowing their input mattered. There's nothing wrong with a power tea or cocktail hour towards the end of the day at 5 or 6, to meet cronies and exchange the gossip these politicians so crave and can't get by text or blackberry.
Memo to Mr. Tisch: If you do a full renovation with big bathrooms, you might get my business back when you re-open. Although you might not want to spend the bucks for the Four Seasons mattresses, their deep tubs that fill with hot water in in 60 seconds, or the remote control devices that allow you to open and close the shades and curtains from a handheld device on the bed stand, I think these additions would ensure your hotel never had an empty night.
To the one percent diners, like Sharpton, my advice is, get over it. Bring a tablet with Face-Time to breakfast at the deli or in the car (where someone else drives you anyway), and you can chat with all your cronies wherever they are. Just save some time to talk to the little people too.
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