Author Archive

Being John Boehner

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Features, Opinion

Morgan Pehme
EDITOR
(Illustration Credit: Lisanne Gagnon) “I don’t want to be John Boehner,” said Councilman Jimmy Vacca of the Bronx in a recent debate for New York City Council Speaker. “When he goes in to see Obama, Obama says, ‘I can’t negotiate with you because you don’t represent your body.’ … I want to be a Speaker that when I sit down with the mayor, he will know that I consulted my colleagues and that I represent the will of the body.” The remark was in… [More]

American Folklore: A Q&A With Arlo Guthrie

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in Features, Interviews, Latest

Arlo Guthrie has spent six decades writing and performing songs that combine social commentary, humor and storytelling. The son of one of America’s most influential musicians, Woody Guthrie, the Brooklyn-born folk great played at Woodstock, testified at the Chicago Seven trial, appeared in a film directed by Bob Dylan, and recorded such beloved hits as “City of New Orleans” and the 18-minute-long epic “Alice’s Restaurant.” On the eve of Guthrie’s free concert this evening at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, City… [More]

A Mayor for All Cities

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in News, Opinion

New Yorkers didn’t need the national media to dub Rudy Giuliani “America’s mayor” to believe our mayor was of outsize importance. We’ve always presumed that our mayor is the only one who really matters—a skyscraping figure who sets urban policy not just for the city but the nation, and stands above governors and senators at the altitude of the president. It has been observed that in New York City we have a grand tradition of electing mayors who are reflections… [More]

The Top Ten Greatest Mayors of New York City

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in News

Since Thomas Willett became the first mayor of New York on June 12, 1665—the day the Dutch governance system of burgomaster, schepen and schout was officially replaced by the English one of mayor, alderman and sheriff—the mayoralty has exchanged hands 108 times. Yet Bill de Blasio is not the 109th man to be mayor. Twelve of his predecessors served nonconsecutive terms, including Willett—both New York’s first and third mayor. Over the years, the job has changed dramatically. All but one… [More]

The Top Ten Greatest Mayors of New York City: Runners-Up

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in News

In addition to the top 10 finishers, 16 other mayors received votes from our jurors. George B. McClellan Jr. 1904-09, 93rd Mayor A congressman at the time of his election, and a former president of the Board of Aldermen, McClellan was brought in by Tammany Hall to unseat reform mayor Seth Low. Despite his allegiance to Tammany boss Richard Croker, McClellan was, according to one of our jurors, “probably the most successful of the Tammany Democrat mayors” and ran “an… [More]

The Top Ten Greatest Mayors of New York City — #1: Fiorello H. La Guardia

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in News

Fiorello H. La Guardia (1934-45) 99th Mayor So enamored was our jury with La Guardia that one of our panelists ranked him not just the greatest mayor of all time, but slotted him in as No. 2 and No. 3 on the list, too. Overwhelmingly the panel’s top choice, La Guardia is often mentioned by historians as one of the greatest mayors in United States history— the “original vintage for America’s mayor,” wrote one juror. Ed Koch, who sought to… [More]

The Top Ten Greatest Mayors of New York City — #2: Michael Bloomberg

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in News

Michael Bloomberg (2002-13) 108th Mayor Rarely are individuals in any field recognized among the greats of history during their own lifetimes, so the fact that our panel ranked Michael Bloomberg nearly at the top of this list while he is still in office is striking. Receiving three first place votes and ranked in the top five by all but one of our jurors, Bloomberg has said on numerous occasions that his goal has been to be the greatest mayor in… [More]

The Top Ten Greatest Mayors of New York City: Our Jury

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in News

Oliver Allen Author of New York, New York: A History of the World’s Most Exhilarating and Challenging City and The Tiger: The Rise and Fall of Tammany Hall Tyler Anbinder Professor of history, George Washington University; author of Five Points: The 19th-Century New York City Neighborhood that Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections, and Became the World’s Most Notorious Slum David Birdsell Dean of the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York Vincent Cannato Associate professor of… [More]

The Top Ten Greatest Mayors of New York City — #3: Edward I. Koch

Written by Morgan Pehme on . Posted in News

Edward I. Koch (1978-1989) 105th Mayor One of only four mayors to receive a first place vote from one of our jurors, Koch’s stock has risen in recent years, helped in part by his ubiquity as a commentator and New York City icon over the decades following his mayoralty until his recent death. Koch came into office in the aftermath of the mid-70s fiscal crisis, and just months after the blackout of 1977 and the end of the Son of… [More]