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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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Know Your Mayors

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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Know Your Mayors

One hundred years ago today, the mayor of New York died

Mayor William Jay Gaynor’s final appearance at City Hall was at a notification rally, declaring his independent candidacy.  He brandishes a shovel as a symbol of a new era of subway construction (the eventual fruits of the so-called ‘dual contracts’ which had finally be agreed to earlier that year.) Today’s mayoral primary falls on a […]

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Know Your Mayors

Meet Andrew H. Mickle, perhaps the least qualified man to ever serve as the mayor of New York City

New York City Hall and its brand new water fountain, in 1846, courtesy Currier and Ives (LOC)KNOW YOUR MAYORS A modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in the Bowery Boys mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor Andrew H. MickleIn office: 1846-1847 […]

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Know Your Mayors

George Opdyke: The mayor during the Civil War Draft Riots and his unsavory connection to New York’s fashion industry

KNOW YOUR MAYORS A modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in the Bowery Boys mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor George OpdykeIn office: 1862-1863 The wealthy merchant and politician George Opdyke died on June 12, 1880, attended to by his family from […]

C. Godfrey Gunther: the other Civil War, pro-South mayor

Continuing with the theme of ‘1864’, here’s a revised and expanded version of an article I wrote back in 2009 on the man who was mayor of New York during that crazy year: KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. […]

Notes from the Podcast (#126) Fernando Wood

Somebody should make a movie about Fernando Wood, and the role should be played by Johnny Depp. Wood is endlessly fascinating, not only as a shady character of political theater, but as a example of bald tenacity. He was written off as finished at many occasions — and saddled with mounting corruption charges — only to […]

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Know Your Mayors

Where are New York’s mayors buried? An (almost) complete list

Koch’s tombstone, bearing the inscription: “‘My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.’ (Daniel Pearl, 2002, just before he was beheaded by a Muslim terrorist.)” Ed Koch likes to get a jump on things. The former mayor, who served as mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989, went ahead a […]

Mayor Thomas Gilroy: printer’s devil, and Tammany’s, too

KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor Thomas Francis GilroyIn office: one term 1893-1894 When it comes to corruption, you can’t get more front and center than Thomas Francis […]

Mayor John Lindsay returns to New York City

“Not only is New York City the nation’s melting pot, it is also the casserole, the chafing dish and the charcoal grill.” — John V. Lindsay He famously referred to New York as a ‘fun city’, even as he reigned its reality, a metropolis racked with debt, riots and rising crime, a metropolis restless and […]

Mayor William Paulding, the very respectable brother

KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor William PauldingIn office: 1824-1825; 1827-29 With these early mayors of New York, I’m really beginning to suspect they are chosen for being […]

Mayor John O’Brien: his heart is as black as yours!

Above: An unemployment line in November 1933. The O’Brien administration offers no relief to the city. KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor John Patrick O’BrienIn office: 1933 There’s […]

100 Years Ago: Somebody actually shot the mayor

New York City started 2010 with an important bit of ceremony: the swearing-in of Michael Bloomberg. One hundred years ago, New Yorkers did the same thing, but with a new face — former state Supreme Court judge William Jay Gaynor, replacing George B. McClellan. I did a whole Know Your Mayors posting about Mr. Gaynor […]

Mayor Cadwallader D. Colden: Would grandpa be proud?

KNOW YOUR MAYORS Our modest little series about some of the greatest, notorious, most important, even most useless, mayors of New York City. Other entrants in our mayoral survey can be found here.Mayor Cadwallader D. ColdenIn office: 1818-1821 The most remarkable thing about New York City having a mayor named Cadwallader Colden is the fact […]

Voted down: Six New York City mayoral wannabes

By the end of the day today, one person will be named the mayor of New York City and many other people will be named the losers. But take heart! Many fine people have lost the race for mayor. Today I focus on six rather interesting ones. Reverend Billy, take stock! If you lose today, […]