Author Vincent Cannato discussed his new book, “The Ungovernable City,” with hosts Len and Michael. Cannato said to the gents, “New York City feels adrift, and President Adams doesn’t seem like a strong enough figure to assume control.”
The author informed the guys that Adams, a city with a crime problem and a problem with illegal immigrants that costs taxpayers over $5 million every day, still has to cope with these issues.
Notwithstanding Cannato’s claims that New York City is open and friendly to immigrants, Mayor Adams’ proposal to relocate them is not. It has been 120 years since the city of New York deported immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island to the rural areas of New Jersey.
That Which His Book, The Ungovernable City, Provides
Overall, it’s a depressing read. It’s a thorough history, a harsh assessment, and a slog that goes on for much too long. It’s tragic, though.
Because it brings back memories of a dream that was never meant to come true, of a time when cities served as the sole places to be, and of a handsome young man who captivated the attention of the world’s boldest and most ambitious metropolis.
The only place you can see the city is in old Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn movies; it no longer exists.
John Vliet Lindsay, the 103rd citizens of New York, also passed away. The compassionate, progressive city he intended to lead may have vanished into the haze shortly before he was inaugurated 36 years ago; he passed away on December 19 at the age of 79.
As Vincent J. Cannato’s “The Ungovernable City” makes all too plain, Lindsay saw Nyc as he wished to perceive it: as a powerful, charitable metropolis that could provide for all its citizens, rich and poor alike, in an environment of multicultural and racial unity. The Causal Mixing Pot. City of Big Apple. Fun Town.
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But in the late ’60s and ’70s, New York City underwent tremendous change, becoming angrier, more aggressive, less generous, and more hardened. Together with the rest of the country, the city was experiencing an unusual upheaval.
Every day, another crisis, with Lindsay and his bright group of eager but inexperienced young assistants presiding over events that they could not understand nor control.
As two terms of Lindsay’s administration ended in 1973, that city had suffered from social unrest, racial tensions, protests, slowdowns, school demonstrations, antiwar marches, and even poorly handled snowstorms.
Municipalities were on the verge of financial collapse due to soaring crime and welfare bills. The city made famous in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Midnight Cowboy” both depict a gloomier side of life in New York City.
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When It Comes To The Second Half!
To put it simply, it wasn’t the plan. Back in 1965, just the possibility of John V. Lindsay becoming mayor was cause for great excitement. Everyone else is exhausted, yet he still has energy to spare.
As Murray Kempton famously commented, a congressman from New York City’s silk stocking district had a “sterling outstanding civil rights record,” had the guts to reject conservative Barry Goldwater, as well as the independence to be a Republican deep within Tammany Hall.
Waves of optimism and potential carried Lindsay into City Hall. He planned to share some wisdom with the union’s top brass. To him, it was important to pay attention to underrepresented groups.
A more responsive police force, improved educational system, and increased city finances would all be the result of his leadership.
Then it hit them: the truth. In Lindsay’s first week as mayor, unions disrupted the city with a transportation strike headed by cantankerous Michael Parker, a union boss who was used to shouting in public but cutting backdoor agreements with Lindsay’s successor, Robert F. Wagner.
As a result of Lindsay and his staff being out of their depth, an awkward atmosphere was created. The mayor, despite his gilded status, didn’t know his vegetables from his meat.
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The situation deteriorated further when Lindsay’s push to include civilians on the review committee that heard complaints about police officers led to an altercation.
The ardent civil rights activist saw a board comprised of both civilians and law enforcement officers as the ideal middle ground. But he failed to grasp the conflict’s central dynamic.
Cannato says that although those who backed the Review Board framed the vote as a fight for civil liberties, those who opposed it focused on the issue of increased crime. Due to Lindsay’s defeat, animosity was left in the wake of the argument.
The mayor & his team made numerous attempts to shape New York City to fit their ideals, but the city remained chaotic. The Lindsay group wanted New York’s impoverished to feel like they were a part of the city’s success.
They envisioned a world in which all parks were freely accessible to all people, where minority students were given priority in the classroom, and where neighbourhoods were fully integrated.
In truth, there was a widespread drug and vandalism problem. The schools declined even worse, and a teachers’ strike coloured with anti-Semitism and racial prejudice led to a disastrous decentralisation that now prevents the mayor from having any say over the city’s expensive and extensive school system.
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An fierce ethnic fight erupted after Lindsay proposed constructing a dispersed housing development in Highland Park, a mostly Jewish area of Queens. The City University’s policy of open enrollment has sparked heated debates that refuse to go down.