Saturday, July 5, 2014


Location:   New York City
Year:   1928

New York City has always been famous for its Mayors. There have been 114 of them, all male, including acting Mayors, since 1666. 

The various "Hizzoner"s, as they are always called, have run the gamut from the reform-minded William Strong and Seth Low of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries to the angelic such as Fiorello LaGuardia, to the incompetent such as Abe Beame and David Dinkins of the late 20th Century, to the dramatic such as John Lindsay and Edward Koch, to the politically corrupt, such as Fernando Wood and Jimmy Walker. Running a city with a greater population than most of the States even today takes a certain charisma and unchallenged ownership of brass hardware.  

Walker is a case in point. The popular Mayor ran the city with a maximum of corruption and a maximum of dash during the Roaring Twenties --- one might say they might not have roared so loudly but for "Beau James", who enjoyed violating the Volstead Act many times daily, loved being in front of news cameras, and made a point of consorting with fan dancers and burlesque girls. When (later Mayor) La Guardia criticized Walker for giving himself a raise in pay from $25,000 to $40,000, Walker's laughing and effectively neutralizing response was simply to raise his hands in mock astonishment and declare, "Why, that's cheap! Think what it would cost if I worked full time!"

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