Dissecting an Actor’s Mayoral Aspirations

At Representative Charles B. Rangel’s birthday party at the Plaza Hotel on Wednesday night, guests like Edward I. Koch, the former mayor, and Scott M. Stringer, a mayoral hopeful and Manhattan borough president, responded to a recent article in The New York Times detailing Alec Baldwin’s political aspirations.

For Mr. Stringer, the news that Mr. Baldwin, a 53-year-old actor and Long Island native, will probably not be running in 2013 may have been another reason to celebrate. Was he relieved by the news? “I have great respect for his passion about government and public service,” Mr. Stringer said. “And yes, I have to admit that I am relieved that he is not running.”

Mr. Stringer had some other career suggestions for Mr. Baldwin: “I think he should focus on ‘30 Rock,’ for now,” he said of the actor’s television show. As for Mr. Baldwin’s plans to enroll in a master’s program to learn the ins and outs of politics, Mr. Stringer was dubious. “I’m not sure they teach ‘Mayor 101,’” he said. “But if they do, I think a whole lot of people should take the course.”

Would he enroll? “I’ve got 21 years in government and working on the streets in the city behind me,” he said. “So, no.”

Mr. Koch was complimentary of the actor, but raised criticisms about the location of Mr. Baldwin’s permanent residence — in the Hamptons on Long Island, though he also has a home on the Upper West Side: “He’s well known and politically involved,” Mr. Koch said. “I think people will ask why he chose to have his home address in Amagansett, and not on the West Side of Manhattan, where he would have to pay local city taxes.

The former mayor had advice for the political neophyte. “You’ve got to establish that you’ve done something for the people of the city of New York if you’re asking them for your votes,” Mr. Koch said. “So if he’s already done something for the city, he should talk about it. If he hasn’t, he should start doing something.”

Is going to school that “something”?

“There’s no school that teaches you how to be mayor,” Mr. Koch said. “It’s experience.”

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