New York City is home to plenty of world records: the biggest bagel and lox sandwich, the most turbans tied in eight hours, the most candles lit on a birthday cake and now, tallest politician.
City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. was officially certified by Guinness World Records as the tallest politician on Jan. 14. The 6-foot-10 lawmaker, who represents Bedford-Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights, was honored during a ceremony at City Hall on Wednesday.
“Today I get a chance to send a resounding message to all the people around the world who may come in different packages,” he said. “You don’t have to be relegated to a certain area of society because of your height.”
So what are the daily challenges for the world’s tallest politician? Pricey custom clothing and "anxiety" over not being able to stand on the subway topped the list. Cornegy also said his father taught him to be aware of how his height can be intimidating, so he tries to give people 2 or 3 feet of space during conversations.
The spirit of the news conference was lighthearted, with plenty of height-related humor to go around.
“We’re here to bring an honor to someone who has brought politics to new heights,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said before introducing Cornegy. “Even at my height, I look up to Robert Cornegy.”
De Blasio, who is the tallest mayor in New York City’s history at 6-foot-5, also took a few moments to thank Cornegy for his hard work and public service.
Becoming the world’s tallest politician isn’t as easy as one may think, according to Cornegy, who detailed a two-year journey to get certified.
“Guinness Book of Records doesn’t fool around,” he quipped.
After several failed attempts, the lawmaker turned to doctors at Interfaith Medical Center who had to measure Cornegy several times over the course of a day and then average the heights. The doctors “literally” put their licenses on the line in signing the documents that were sent to Guinness World Records, he said.
It didn’t take long, however, for others to try to knock Cornegy off his very tall pedestal. There is now a push to certify Peđa Grbin, a member of the Croatian Parliament who is reportedly 6-foot-11, as the world record holder. The publication Cleveland.com also reported that Brad Sellers, the mayor of Warrensville Heights in Ohio, is 7 feet tall.
It wasn’t immediately clear if either politician would challenge Cornegy for the title.