Smart politicians know lunchtime at a senior center assures an attentive audience.
So around noon Tuesday, Richard Brodsky, the bulldog assemblyman from Westchester County, suddenly appeared at the JASA senior citizen center in Rockaway Park, Queens - the second of three senior centers he visited in an hour in the same neighborhood.
About 40 people were gathered around a half-dozen tables, waiting patiently for their lunch.
Audrey Pheffer, the local assemblywoman, gave a quick introduction to Brodsky - one of five candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for attorney general in Tuesday's primary.
"That's Brodsky with a 'B'," he joked as he rushed from table to table shaking hands.
"I'm Reshevsky with a 'v'," quipped Caroline Reshevsky, surrounded by a group of her girlfriends.
"Why did they change from voting machines to paper ballots?" Reshevsky wanted to know. "That's gonna cause problems."
Brodsky nodded in agreement. He's been one of the few politicians, he told her, warning that the new system of electronic voting on paper ballots could produce major foulups next week when voters use it for the first time.
"They brought a machine in and showed us how to use it," someone shouted.
A white-haired woman with a walker pulled him aside.
"Are you running for the same seat as [state Sen. Eric] Schneiderman?" she whispered.
"Yes, I am."
"He's my cousin," the woman said.
"Well, remember this, I came to visit you today and he didn't," Brodsky said with a smile.
It was the kind of rapid-fire banter Brodsky is known for in Albany, where he has spent nearly 30 years as a maverick populist legislator.
All five Democrats in this race are capable candidates. Several, including Schneiderman and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, have raised more money. A few are more easygoing and less confrontational than Brodsky.
But none has displayed the consistent courage to challenge powerful interests - or the attention to detailed investigations - that Brodsky has.