Stunts, cats , and the law: Sliwa's colourful race for NYC Mayor

The Republican candidate has been a recurring New York figure since he established his Guardian Angels anti-crime group in 1979.


With his signature red beret Curtis Sliwa is on television and stroking the one of 16 cats he has rescued in a campaign advertisement. He's riding the subway along together with the Guardian Angels anti-crime patrol. He's putting an end to fights in restaurants within Little Italy and blaming the mafia as well as the mayor when his participation in the meatball-eating contest.

This is how the Republican candidate is pursuing an unlikely bid to become the city's mayor. He is always wearing his red cap.

Sliwa has worked for decades as an avid stuntman New York character, with an ability to keep the cameras on and a long history of savage declarations. He's even survived a mob assault triggered by his radio commentaries.

Meet the 2021 mayor candidates. New York City mayor

APRIL 8, 202105:30

The Republican says his run this year isn't an extended shot it's more of an slingshot of David and Goliath, with Sliwa as a street-wise "man of the people" who speaks out against the issue of disorder and crime.

"I'm the only Republican who can go into neighborhoods where the only Republican they've ever seen is Abraham Lincoln on a $5 bill and be well-received," Sliwa spoke to The Associated Press this week during an interview in his apartment with a cat.

"I believe that the majority of people don't view me as an actual Republican. They view me more as populist. 'That's Curtis. We're familiar with the man"" Sliwa said. He believes that the fact that his win for the Republican nomination despite never having been a voter for Trump is a signal that it is possible to win over Democrats.

At a rally for the campaign later in the day at a later date, he dismissed the notion that winning would be impossible, saying that he's "been David versus Goliath" all of his life.

Sliwa is widely believed to lose the upcoming elections against Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams who is who is a Democrat and an ex- New York City police captain who will become New York City's 2nd Black mayor.

In the city of which Democrats surpass Republicans 7-1 Adams was able to emerge from the competitive primary field as the candidate who had a more moderate image, a pro business approach , and a unique perspective on criminality that melded his experiences working for the NYPD as well as his prior activism for reform within the department, and his experiences with the brutality of police as a teen.

Sliwa 67 is a well-known New York figure since he established his Guardian Angels anti-crime group in 1979. The group of unarmed young people and women dressed with red berets and jackets that match began by monitoring the crime-ridden subway system. It then expanded into the city, before creating chapters throughout the U.S.

Curtis Sliwa in his apartment on October. 12th, 2021 in New York.Mary Altaffer/ AP

The 320 square foot Upper West Side apartment that Sliwa lives in together with his partner Nancy is adorned with numerous campaign-related posters, as well as pictures of him and their numerous cats. One wall is covered in old newspaper articles and posters of The Guardian Angels' early exploits as well as a sign with the words "Crack Down on Crack" as well as a few sketches by police of sexy rape suspects from the past.

He claims the scene is a way to remember the group's origins in a more grittier New York.

"His analysis of New York is, in some ways, very antiquated and I think a lot of voters see him as a vestige of old New York, with his red beret and I would say racialized understanding of how the city operates, which I don't think many New Yorkers are interested in right now," said Christina Greer, an associate professor of Political Science at Fordham University.

Sliwa was a winner of the Republican primary in the spring of this year, after defeating restaurateur Fernando Mateo.

Twenty-five years of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg in the office of mayor demonstrate that Republicans have the ability to or at the very least, once in a while, beat the Democrats advantage in the city.

However, his style and image, Greer said, has led to him being "not really taken seriously by a certain segment of the population."

Sliwa's talent for attracting attention became a serious matter in 1992 when he got shot following his talk radio program to smear mob boss John Gotti. He was able to escape his assassins by jumping out of through a car's window.

He confessed following the real incident that he had in the past concocted a few stories regarding Guardian Angels' feats. Guardian Angels' feats, such as thwarting a rape, and the fabrication of a story about Sliwa being abducted from Transit Authority police officers.

After making racist and lewd remarks on TV and on the radio in regards to the chief on the City Council, he was temporarily barred from appearing on a local TV debate program. Sliwa apology later came out for the remarks.