… It’s part of a strategic rebranding of his master as a fun-loving nightlife figure, after Toshi’s last such effort backfired.

He’s currently known as the face of Hotel Toshi, a rash of illegal, short-term rentals that plagued residential buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn, causing otherwise happy renters to flee him faster than a bedbug invasion. “One woman on Mulberry Street got so angry that she posted a picture of the van with my face on it all over Soho,” Toshi said. “In those situations, you’re better off just leaving.”

As the city cracks down on Airbnb-type rentals (illegal in most residential buildings), Toshi is going legit, with two hotels that are actually zoned for short-term overnight stays, and a publicity effort to burnish his reputation.

Tags: airbnb