For Scott Stringer, a Boost From Scarlett Johansson

The two distinct groups camped outside the entrance to the Jane Hotel on Monday night — paparazzi to the left, activists protesting the expansion of a natural gas pipeline to the right — would have told anyone walking by that this was not your typical party.

It was unusual indeed: a fund-raiser for Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president and mayoral hopeful, hosted by his (so far) highest-profile supporter, the Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson. Ms. Johansson’s connections to Mr. Stringer are twofold. Her twin brother, Hunter Johansson, worked in his office for several years. Before that, her grandmother Dorothy Sloan got to know Mr. Stringer in the 1980s, when he was working for United States Representative Jerry Nadler, then a state assemblyman, and she was a tenant advocate fighting to preserve aspects of the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing program. Ms. Johansson was born and lives in New York.

The actress actually hosted two fund-raisers for Mr. Stringer on Monday evening. The pair started the night at the Plaza Hotel, at an event for bigger donors (which was closed to the news media). They proceeded to the Jane Hotel around 8 p.m., flanked by Ms. Johansson’s sizable security detail.

In the ballroom, which was decorated with lush plants, medieval chandeliers and a painting of a woman in her underwear that vaguely recalled a scene with Ms. Johansson in “Lost in Translation,” middle-aged men mingled with twenty-somethings who looked like extras on “Gossip Girl.”

Ms. Johansson, wearing a relatively demure black-and-white dress and reading from cue cards, praised Mr. Stringer for his work on environmental initiatives, education and affordable housing. Calling him “one of the most progressive mayoral candidates in New York City history,” she said she was proud and honored to endorse him as “my candidate for mayor 2013.”

Mr. Stringer thanked Ms. Johansson, and praised her not only as a “world-renowned actor” but also as someone who had made a difference in “helping the hungry” and “speaking truth to power on so many issues.”

From there, he began a speech peppered with criticisms of the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

He criticized the mayor on education and police issues, knocking City Hall for “a top-down management style that thinks five people can run this town, and they don’t talk to the people around the city.”

Mr. Stringer also poked fun at Mr. Bloomberg’s successful campaign to extend term limits so he could run for a third term in 2009.

“By 2025, I believe Mike Bloomberg will not run for re-election, so we’ve got a lot of time to organize and raise this money!” he said, to laughter.

And Mr. Stringer tried to position himself as the candidate of change.

“Some people want to continue the status quo,” he said. “They like Bloomberg One and Two. We’re navigating Three. Some want Four,” he added, in what was perhaps a subtle dig at one of his likely rivals, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, whom Mr. Bloomberg is expected to support. “But I want something that’s a little different.”

Most of the crowd, which included Councilwoman Letitia James of Brooklyn and three Democratic members of the State Assembly from Manhattan — Linda B. Rosenthal, Robert Rodriguez and Brian Kavanagh — seemed to already be in the Stringer camp. But there was at least one undecided guest, the actor and producer Fisher Stevens, who said Ms. Johansson had invited him so he could see what Mr. Stringer was about.

Mr. Stevens, a co-producer of the documentary “The Cove,” about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, said he admired Mr. Stringer’s environmentalism and, after listening to him speak, liked his sincerity. “He’s not a Slick Rick,” he said. But Mr. Stevens also had his doubts about the race. “Will Bloomberg run? That’s the question,” he said, before adding, thoughtfully, “I don’t think he will.” (For the record, Mr. Bloomberg is definitely not running for a fourth term.)

“I heard Russell Simmons might run,” Mr. Stevens added, possibly joking.

So far, Ms. Johansson seemed to be getting good reviews for her stumping.

Mr. Stringer’s policy director, David Saltonstall, said that although he hadn’t met her yet, he already had a good impression. “She’s very on message,” he said.

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