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Know Your Mayors

A short history of New York City mayors who ran for President of the United States

Last week former mayor Michael Bloomberg very unofficially — and somewhat belatedly — entered the 2020 presidential race by filing paperwork for next year’s Alabama primary. This over a month after current New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio entered and dropped out of the race this year, never catching fire with the Democratic electorate. […]

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American History

Election Night 1916: With a world war looming, America goes to the polls

One hundred years ago today, Americans went to the polls to vote for the President of the United States — between the Democrat and incumbent President Woodrow Wilson and the Republican Charles Evans Hughes. The election was held on November 7, 1916, and it’s interesting to peruse the details of the day itself and the headlines from the […]

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Know Your Mayors

New York’s first mayoral election in 1834: Riots, chaos and the election of New York’s ‘crying congressman’

New York in 1834, looking up Broadway from Bowling Green (NYPL) New Yorkers will go to the polls today to elect another mayor of New York City.  This ritual has occurred over seventy times (give or take) since the charter of New York was changed to allow for direct election of its mayors in 1834. […]

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Know Your Mayors Podcasts

The Boy Mayor of New York: John Purroy Mitchel and a series of unfortunate events shake up a New York election

John Purroy Mitchel, the ‘boy mayor’, after his resounding victory. (LOC)PODCAST As New York City enters the final stages of this year’s mayoral election, let’s look back on a decidedly more unusual contest 100 years ago, pitting Tammany Hall and their estranged ally (Mayor William Jay Gaynor) up against a baby-faced newcomer, the (second) youngest […]

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Pop Culture

Election Night, live on TV! New York City newsrooms, 1952

Above: The CBS news broadcast was sponsored by Philco, an early radio and television manufacturer. In the photos of the ABC newsroom below, you’ll notice they are also sponsored by a television manufacturer, Admiral. The candidates are now at our mercy. Election Day comes in two phases. The first is in the hands of the […]

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American History

Fiasco! New York’s first Republican presidential primary

One hundred years ago yesterday, New York hosted its first-ever Republican presidential primary. Not only was it an organizational failure of epic proportions, but the results handed a stunning and rare defeat to one of New York’s most iconic politicians. Making the 1912 primary a unique contest was that it was between two presidents — the […]

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Those Were The Days

How to win a New York election, in six easy, illegal steps

Rowdy drunks on New Years eve? Angry protesters? No, just a jailcell full of “fraudulent voters in custody at the United States Circuit Court, New York. (1876)” [source] Ah, electioneering in the 1800s! You can smell the corruption in the air, the perfume of cigar smoke, the sweat of a street gang. Voting was easily […]

Before you vote! Some cagey advice, circa 1876

Tomorrow New Yorkers go to the polls to vote for mayor.  Remember: don’t wear false disguises to vote numerous times.  Don’t beat up poll workers or throw ballot boxes into the river.  And don’t vote under your dead grandmother’s name. Or else, this could happen to you: “Imprisoning alleged illegal voters on election-day in United […]

New York Election Day traditions no longer celebrated

Today is primary election day in New York! Locals, have you voted yet? Current mayor Michael Bloomberg is not on the ballot yet — he’ll be on the November ballot — but primary races for City Comptroller, Public Advocate, some city council seats, and the Democratic candidate for mayor are included on today’s ballot In […]

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Know Your Mayors

Hey kids! Wanna be president? Don’t be New York mayor.

(This story was originally published in June 25, 2008) Yesterday was the opening of Campaigning For President at the Museum of the City of New York, a look at the city’s participation in some of the most famous and contentious presidential elections in history. The exhibit will focus on the city’s role in deciding the […]

“Horrors” of Roosevelt Island: Grampa Al

Before going any further, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention its most famous monster man, the godfather of Roosevelt Island and one of the most original New Yorkers who ever lived – Al ‘Grampa Munster’ Lewis. Perhaps these days it’s difficult to understand a man like Al. He’s a crusty mix of old […]