Gingerbread House owners throw open doors for fundraiser
The most famous house in Bay Ridge will be the spectacular setting for a political fundraiser for mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis just as the campaign for City Hall is starting to heat up.
Jerry and Diane Fishman, the couple that owns the Gingerbread House on Narrows Avenue, are opening up their storybook home to campaign donors on June 29 in an effort to help Malliotakis, a Republican hoping to win her party’s nomination to run against Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio in November.
Malliotakis, a member of the New York State Assembly, represents a district that includes parts of Bay Ridge and Staten Island. She is running in the Republican Primary against Paul Massey, founder of the Massey Knakal real estate firm.
The Gingerbread House got its nickname because it literally looks like something out of a fairy tale. The house is 100 years old and was officially designated as a city landmark in 1988.
Lore Crogan, the Brooklyn Eagle’s “Eye on Real Estate” columnist, described the dwelling in a 2012 column as an example of Arts and Crafts-style architecture. “The house is highly original and one of the important examples of early 20th-century architecture in New York City,” Croghan wrote, quoting from a New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission report on the house.
“It is a pleasure and a joy for us to own the house,” Diane Fishman told the Eagle. “It is an enriching, special, peaceful feeling to be inside the house and we are looking forward to welcoming people for the fundraiser.”
The Fishmans, who purchased the house more than 30 years ago, have long since gotten used to the fact that pedestrians come by and gawk at the Gingerbread House.
In some ways, it’s the perfect setting for a fundraiser for Malliotakis, Fishman said.
“The house has a big history to it,” she said, adding that the home has come to represent the pride that all Bay Ridge residents have in their homes and the respect they hold for traditions.
Malliotakis also has respect for traditions, according to Fishman, a writer.
“I like the things she stands for. She talks a lot about helping small business owners. Bay Ridge is a neighborhood with many mom-and-pop stores. She recognizes the importance of keeping those stores going. She also talks a lot about vocational job training, which is something I believe very strongly in,” Fishman said.
Malliotakis said she is grateful to the Fishmans for hosting the fundraiser in her honor.
“One of the most challenging parts of running for office is raising the necessary funds to get our message of responsible, efficient and results-driven government to voters. I am thankful to the Fishman family for opening up their beautiful fairytale home for a fundraiser to support my candidacy for mayor,” Malliotakis told the Eagle via text message.
The fundraiser will take place in the Fishmans’ garden. The menu is still being planned. But Fishman said she has already decided on the décor. “We are going to have a red, white and blue formula because the party is so close to the Fourth of July,” she told the Eagle.
Fishman said she and her husband Jerry decided to hold the fundraiser because they believe Malliotakis is “is a terrific advocate for New York” who is “a doer, not just a talker.”
They fully support her run for mayor, Fishman said. “We have to replace de Blasio. He is a mayor who marches with terrorists,” she said, referring to the controversy over the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York on June 11, in which de Blasio took part despite the fact that FALN leader Oscar Lopez Rivera was also participating.
Lopez Rivera, who spent 35 years in prison for his role in a series of bombings the FALN committed in the name of independence for Puerto Rico, had originally been scheduled to be an honoree of the parade, but declined the honor a few days before the march. He participated in the parade alongside City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito.