From the birthplace of rap legends such as JAY-Z and the Notorious B.I.G. to its revered cheesecake, Brooklyn, New York, is known for its larger than life figures. The prominent borough was awarded a new honor Wednesday as Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. was named the world’s tallest politician by Guinness World Records.
Standing at 6 feet 10 inches, Cornegy told The New York Times, “When I first started this, I said there is no way I’m the tallest politician in the world. There must be an ambassador in Africa who is 7 feet. But when I found out the previous record-holder was only 6 foot 7 inches, I had to give it a shot.”
Representing the borough’s Bedford-Stuyvesant and norther Crown Heights districts, Cornegy underwent a series of test to get his accurate height. “What I went through to get this measurement was borderline ridiculous. But I think it was worth it to bring that designation to New York—and Brooklyn,” he said.
Cornegy, a graduate and former basketball player at New York’s St. John’s University, contacted his former trainer to help measure his exact height. Guinness didn’t “like” the tools used by the trainer, so Cornegy turned to three doctors at Brooklyn’s Interfaith Medical Center.
His height was recorded while lying on the floor. According to the news outlet, this method “produces a greater measure because it relieves pressure on the vertebrae.”
Cornegy’s extreme height comes with an equally extreme price tag. The councilman pays at least $400 for his size 17 shoes and $700 for custom suits.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated Cornegy’s new title. “I look up to Council member Robert Cornegy, because of his contributions to our city, and because I don’t really have a choice.”
Cornegy wants to use his experience to inspire others. “Being the world’s tallest politician shows you can make tremendous contributions to society, no matter how you look physically,” he said.
Becoming the world’s tallest politician isn’t the only feat Cornegy is looking forward to celebrating. Holding a master’s degree in organizational leadership, he plans to run for Brooklyn borough president in 2021.