Cutting the Brooklyn Fat From the Brooklyn Hype

Marty Markowitz, the rotund Brooklyn borough president, has lately enjoyed vats of gooey publicity for “Lighten Up Brooklyn,” a well-intentioned but mildly Coney Island-esque stunt to get flabby constituents in swimwear shape come summer.

We don’t dispute Brooklyn’s girth. But we wondered: How the heck was “Lighten Up Brooklyn” playing at Junior’s?

“My own mama couldn’t take me from Junior’s cheesecake,” said Bruce Nixon, a 30-year-old Brooklyn native, as he stood in line at the famous, orange-hued Flatbush Avenue establishment on a strangely sweltering April afternoon.

A woman behind Mr. Nixon perked up. “Who’s Marty Markowitz?” she asked.

At the horseshoe-shaped counter nearby, Harold Cohen, an engineer from Sheepshead Bay, was hunched over a massive slab of coconut cake. He hadn’t heard about Mr. Markowitz’s plan.

“Now I know why I didn’t vote for him,” Mr. Cohen said, jabbing a fork in the air. “I never liked the guy-he must be trying to get into the papers. I wanna lose weight, I’ll lose weight.”

Mr. Cohen paused to reach back and hitch up a pair of dangerously low-riding jeans. “I mean, if you sit in an air-conditioned office all day thinking of stupid things to say to reporters and eating cheesecake, you’ll probably gain weight.”

A couple of orange stools over, Fran Corbo, a legal secretary, said she hadn’t heard about the “Lighten Up Brooklyn” plan either.

“But I’m already in the process of trying to lose weight anyway, about five to 10 pounds,” she said. “I only come in here a couple of times a year. I don’t eat the cheesecake. I’m on the Weight Watchers’ diet.”

A waitress placed a giant tuna-salad sandwich with bacon in front of Ms. Corbo. Ms. Corbo sighed.

“I have willpower in every other area of my life except food,” she said.

A thin elderly woman in a lavender and green cotton shift dress sitting next to Ms. Corbo looked up from her paper. “You’re talking about Marty?” she said, breaking into loud guffaws. “Say no more.”

The woman, who would only give her first name, Una, slapped her thigh. “I can tell you I’m 86, I weigh under 100 pounds, and I don’t take much stock in what people eat,” she said. “But I thought it was very interesting that they’re doing this. I had this idea three or four years ago. I went down to my Congressman’s office-I think it was on Montague and Court streets. I told them they could have a contest and give people $1 for every pound they lost.”

She speared a forkful of pound cake. “It was just that I was concerned about the people that took buses and then came in here to eat.”

Ms. Corbo leaned over and interrupted the conversation. “Don’t mention I said I don’t eat the cheesecake,” she said, sounding worried. “Because I love this restaurant and I love cheesecake-just not when I’m on a diet.”

Mr. Markowitz, a regular himself, had pledged to kick Junior’s cheesecake for two months. An attendant standing behind the cooler packed with glistening rows of lemon, cherry and strawberry-topped cheesecakes allowed that it had been a slow day-he’d only sold 250 cheesecakes so far. On a regular day, Junior’s sells 1,000.

But Allen Fleming, Junior’s day manager, said that cheesecake ban or not, the restaurant is behind Mr. Markowitz. He pointed to a new section on the restaurant’s menu touting the program, called “Marty Says: ‘Lighten Up Brooklyn.’” Listed below were several bland-looking fish and chicken dishes.

So did Mr. Fleming think people on Mr. Markowitz’s diet shouldn’t eat cheesecake?

“Not at all,” he said quickly. “Cheesecake is not that fattening.”

Mr. Fleming lowered his voice and leaned closer. “I mean, I wanna do some business here.”

-Petra Bartosiewicz

Things I Googled The Other Day

Albert Brooks and real-life favorite lines; Aldous Huxley and Everything Is All Right With The Universe; Al Lubel comedian; Asian escort service and flowers; assault knives and scary looking; Asssscat; Bad Seed Rhoda; Bangbus; Beck loser lyrics; bukkake videos; Bukowski and real people appear after two weeks and women; Carnival of Souls and Lawrence Kansas; cow is sacred in India and why; Craig Bierko Music Man; detachable penis; Dylan Thomas whiskeys White Horse; embarrassment and Lawrence Kansas; Elvira Mistress of the Dark; Erik Estrada Chips; Ethan Hawke attended Harvard; favorite lines Big Lebowski; female ejaculation; fentanyl stronger than; Fish That Saved Pittsburgh; Fitzgerald and penis and moveable feast; foodies and journalists; George Gurley; George Sanders and unmitigated cad; Gettysburg Address and words and only 261; I Spit On Your Corpse; journalist and Jonathan Alter; Julie Christie and nude and Don’t Look Now; Larry Wilcox and Chips; Lou Reed Blue Mask lyrics; Lou Reed Street Hassle lyrics; Love Arthur Lee; Marlon Brando tub of guts; Mama Cass ham sandwich; Memento mori and which means; Michael Kramer journalist; Minutemen and lyrics and Mike Watt; monday and sushi and safe and fresh; northern lights and super skunk; Oh Susanna and banjo; Pia Snow porn star; Ratemypoo; red skinned mashed potatoes; Reggie bars and Catfish Hunter; Royal Tenenbaums fails; salt and brands; San Francisco gay bars; Scrapple and West Virginia; Shauna Grant and porn star; show trial and tribunal; Soft Boys; statistician manque; Steve Brill and journalist; Stepford Wives and I’ll die if I don’t get that recipe; synthetic heroin and china white; Tabitha Stevens and porn star; Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson; Tom Wolfe and Bororo Indians; Tony Hendra and P.J. O’Rourke; Uma Thurman and brother; victory and Pele and Michael Caine; Six Feet Under and Claire; Seymour Cassell and killing of Chinese; singer and Phoebe Snow; William Burroughs and parasites; with a slight continental accent.

-George Gurley

A Magazine To Dye For

As any dedicated reader of Maxim knows, if you’re simultaneously making out with Anna Kournikova and Alyssa Milano while listening to the Foo Fighters on your new $2,500 Bose stereo, the last thing you want them to see as they both tear off your $1,200 Ermenegildo Zegna suit-right before you unleash one of the 101 Guaranteed-She’ll-Moan! sex secrets you memorized-is a geezery patch of gray hair.

Maxim understands. And so the company that revolutionized the modern newsstand with a magical formula of sex, sports, beer, gadgets, clothes and fitness is now getting into the hair-dye business. Maxim Magazine Haircare from Just For Men is set to hit your Duane Reade in June.

Available in four colors-Bleach Blond, Blackjack, Sandstorm and Red Rum-the Maxim hair dye is not really for premature graybeards, but actually ( wink, wink ) for the allegedly burgeoning market of twentysomething guys who enjoy highlighting their hair at home. A Maxim testimonial trumpets that the dye “lets guys express their own personal style and get just the look they want-fun, flashy, sexy or smooth.” Michael Wendroff, the vice president for hair-color marketing at Combe Inc., makers of Just For Men, Odor-Eaters and, um, Vagisil, enthuses, ” Maxim personifies the type of guy who colors his hair these days.”

We asked Maxim’s editor in chief, Keith Blanchard, if he’d been Expressing His Personal Style and Getting Just the Look He Wanted with the company hair-care products. “No, I haven’t,” Mr. Blanchard said. “Right now, I’m content to gray gracefully.”

Wait. This stuff isn’t for guys going gray, right? A spokesman for Maxim warned us against writing an “under-researched piece” and forwarded us some facts about the massive stay-at-home highlighting phenomenon, such as the recent segment of 48 Hours on CBS about spring break, in which a barber recommended that a man highlight his hair because “that’s what women love.” When asked to name a guy he knew that colored his hair, the Maxim spokesman curiously mentioned … Nylon editor in chief Marvin Scott Jarrett.

Mr. Jarrett admitted he had blond highlights, adding, “I just had Marie from Bumble and Bumble do it two days ago”-a reference to the tony midtown salon, where highlights run $185 and up.

Maxim ‘s hair dye costs about $10. But Mr. Jarrett was unpersuaded. “It’s definitely not a product for me,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m not smart enough-or not dumb enough.”

-Gabriel Snyder