In a stunning repudiation of the Democratic machine, John V. Lindsay (1921-2000) captured the New York mayoralty in 1965 by promising to rid the city of apathy and corruption and make New York governable again. Over the next eight years, Lindsay presided over a city at the vortex of the civil rights, antiwar, women's, and gay rights movements, a turbulent global economy, demographic upheaval defined by an influx of blacks and Puerto Ricans and an exodus of whites, and volatile local labor politics further fractured by race. He would revolutionize urban planning, hoping to make New York not just inhabitable but enjoyable?a celebration of itself-and he would attempt to overhaul the government's services and priorities.
Some reforms succeeded. Others failed. While few have evaluated Lindsay's controversial legacy with the benefit of hindsight and within the context of national cultural upheaval, this book does just that. Edited by The New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts and published in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York, America's Mayor is lavishly illustrated and features original essays by Hilary Ballon, Joshua Freeman, Jeff Greenfield, Pete Hamill, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Kenneth T. Jackson, John Mollenkopf, Charles Morris, Nicholas Pileggi, Richard Reeves, James Sanders, and Steven Weisman. Key contemporaries such as Jimmy Breslin, Mario Cuomo, and Juan Gonzalez offer personal reminiscences enhanced by compelling documents and articles.
With his undeniable charisma and bold support for cities and urban living, Lindsay galvanized the attention of a nation at a time of looming crisis. This collection vividly reexamines the truth behind Lindsay's reputation as a failed dreamer and the forces that transformed him into America's mayor.