There are some people who have instant facial recognition, even if you don't always remember their name. Usually, this happens with actors. You're watching a film with a big-name movie star and then in one of the supporting or smaller roles you see a familiar face that you just can't put your finger on.
The same thing happens with folks who are constantly offering up commentary on the news, like Curtis Sliwa, who is often wearing his trademark red beret. But why does he wear that particular hat?
Why does Curtis Sliwa wear that hat?
If you grew up with parents who were obsessed with watching the news, there's a good chance that you saw a man wearing a red beret talk about the myriad of problems New York City was plagued with.
That man is Curtis Sliwa, a New York City activist and founder of the Guardian Angels. The organization began in 1979 to help New Yorkers safely navigate the MTA's subway system. It provided free chaperones so folks could commute to and from work and school and around the Big Apple without being hassled by criminals.
The Guardian Angels uniform has had some slight alterations over the years, but it's retained a bright red beret. The cap was selected most likely because of how easy it is to spot.
The group reportedly only started with 13 members in the late '70s, but its since grown to a whopping 5,000 participants in over 67 cities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
The idea is that walking with a chaperone helps to keep people safer, but there were some political pundits who opposed the Guardian Angels, like NYC Mayor Ed Koch who was initially critical of Sliwa's community-based organization.
Sliwa has since leveraged his prominence as the head of the group and become a radio talk show host and now a Republican candidate for the upcoming 2021 NYC mayoral election.
Sliwa continues to wear the hat probably because it's now become an easy identifier for him. He became active in his community to help protect citizens who were tired of living under the threat of violence, folks who could benefit from a helping hand now and then.
Sliwa and the red beret's fates are intertwined at this point, and seeing him without it would've been like seeing Steve Jobs without his trademark black turtleneck.
How is Curtis Sliwa performing in the 2021 NYC mayoral polls?
The race for the Republican ticket, as of this writing, doesn't seem to be that close. According to preliminary figures, it appears that Eric Adams is enjoying a huge lead over Sliwa.
Sliwa's mayoral platform is focused on caring for NYC's mentally ill and homeless population. Sliwa also seems to understand the internet at least a bit. He has often talked about rescuing cats and called himself a big cat person, according to The City.
Adams appears to be a staunch proponent of the second amendment, stating that he would most certainly be armed if he is elected Mayor of New York City.
The last time NYC had a Republican mayor was when Michael Bloomberg headed up efforts for the city from 2000-2007. He then identified as an Independent from 2007 until 2013.