|Who is it?||Politician, Former Mayor of New York City|
|Birth Day||November 24, 1921|
|Birth Place||Manhattan, New York City, United States|
|Age||99 YEARS OLD|
|Died On||December 19, 2000(2000-12-19) (aged 79)\nHilton Head Island, South Carolina, U.S.|
|Preceded by||Frederic René Coudert, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Theodore Kupferman|
|Resting place||Memorial Cemetery of Saint John's Church|
|Political party||Republican (1951–1971) Democratic (1971–2000)|
|Other political affiliations||Liberal (1969–1973)|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Harrison Lindsay (1949–2000; his death)|
|Alma mater||Yale University|
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1943–1946|
|Battles/wars||World War II Allied invasion of Sicily Pacific theater|
He was featured on a poster picture with Governor Rockefeller at the groundbreaking of the former World Trade Center in the city history section of the Museum of the City of New York at Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street. A Mitchell-Lama Development in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn has been erroneously thought to have been named after Mayor Lindsay (Lindsay Park). This development was actually named after Congressman George W. Lindsay (1865–1938) (no relation).
Lindsay was born in New York City on West End Avenue, to George Nelson Lindsay and the former Florence Eleanor Vliet. He grew up in an upper-middle-class family of English and Dutch descent. Lindsay's paternal grandfather migrated to the United States in the 1880s from the Isle of Wight, and his mother was from an upper-middle-class family that had been in New York since the 1660s. Lindsay's father was a successful Lawyer and investment banker. Lindsay attended the Buckley School, St. Paul's School and Yale, where he was admitted to the class of 1944 and joined Scroll and Key.
John Vliet Lindsay (//; November 24, 1921 – December 19, 2000) was an American Politician, Lawyer, and broadcaster. During his political career, Lindsay was a U.S. congressman, mayor of New York City, candidate for U.S. President, and regular guest host of Good Morning America. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from January 1959 to December 1965 and as mayor of New York City from January 1966 to December 1973. He switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party in 1971, and launched a brief and unsuccessful bid for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination as well as the 1980 Democratic nomination for Senator from New York. He died from Parkinson's disease and pneumonia in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on December 19, 2000.
Back in New York City, Lindsay met his Future wife, Mary Anne Harrison (1926-2004), at the wedding of Nancy Bush (daughter of Connecticut's Senator Prescott Bush and sister of Future President George Herbert Walker Bush), where he was an usher and Harrison a bridesmaid. She was a graduate of Vassar College and a distant relative of william Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison. They married in 1949. That same year Lindsay was admitted to the bar, and rose to become a partner in his law firm four years later.
With the outbreak of World War II, Lindsay completed his studies early and in 1943 joined the United States Navy as a gunnery officer. He obtained the rank of lieutenant, earning five battle stars through action in the invasion of Sicily and a series of landings in the Pacific theater. After the war, he spent a few months as a ski bum and a couple of months training as a bank clerk before returning to New Haven, where he received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1948, ahead of schedule. In 1949, he began his legal career at the law firm of Webster, Sheffield, Fleischmann, Hitchcock & Chrystie.
Lindsay began gravitating toward politics as one of the founders of the Youth for Eisenhower club in 1951 and as President of the New York Young Republican club in 1952. He went on to join the United States Department of Justice in 1955 as executive assistant to Attorney General Herbert Brownell. There he worked on civil liberties cases as well as the 1957 Civil Rights Act. In 1958, with the backing of Brownell as well as Bruce Barton, John Aspinwall Roosevelt, and Edith Willkie, Lindsay won the Republican primary and went on to be elected to Congress as the representative of the "Silk Stocking" 17th district, exemplified by Manhattan's Upper East Side but also encompassing the diverse Lower East Side and historically bohemian Greenwich Village.
While in Congress, Lindsay established a liberal voting record increasingly at odds with his own party. He was an early supporter of federal aid to education and Medicare; and advocated the establishment of a federal United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and a National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities. He was a leading member of a group of liberal and moderate Republicans in the House who voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He was called a maverick, casting the lone dissenting vote for a Republican-sponsored bill extending the power of the Postmaster General to impound obscene mail and one of only two dissenting votes for a bill allowing federal interception of mail from Communist countries. Also known for his wit, when asked by his party Leaders why he opposed legislation to combat Communism and pornography, he replied that the two were the major industries of his district and if they were suppressed then "the 17th district would be a depressed area".
While narrowly losing Brooklyn and the Bronx due to Procaccino's entrenched support among ethnic, working class whites (with Marchi winning his native Staten Island), Lindsay was able to vanquish his opponents with support from three distinct groups. First were the city's minorities, mostly African Americans and Puerto Ricans, who were concentrated in Harlem, the South Bronx and various Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville. Second were the white and economically secure residents of certain areas of Manhattan. Third were the whites in the boroughs outside Manhattan who had a similar educational background and "cosmopolitan" attitude, namely residents of solidly middle-class neighborhoods, including Forest Hills and Kew Gardens in Queens and Brooklyn Heights in Brooklyn. This third category included many traditionally Democratic Jewish Americans who were repelled by Procaccino's conservatism. This created a plurality coalition (42%) in Lindsay's second three-way race. His margin of victory rose from just over 100,000 more votes than his Democratic opponent in 1965 to over 180,000 votes over Procaccino in 1969, despite appearing on just one third party ballot line (see New York City Mayoral Elections).
In 1966 the settlement terms of the transit strike, combined with increased welfare costs and general economic decline, forced Lindsay to lobby the New York State legislature for a new municipal income tax and higher water rates for city residents, plus a new commuter tax for people who worked in the city but resided elsewhere.
Lindsay served on the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, known as the Kerner Commission. This body was established in 1967 by President Johnson after riots in urban centers of the US, including Newark and Detroit. Lindsay maximized publicity and coverage of his activities on the commission, and while other commissioners made inconspicuous visits to riot-damaged sites, Lindsay would alert the press before his fact-finding missions. Nonetheless, he was especially influential in producing the Kerner Report; its dramatic language of the nation "moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal" was his rhetoric.
President Lyndon B. Johnson ignored the report and rejected the Kerner Commission's recommendations. In April 1968, one month after the release of the Kerner report, rioting broke out in more than 100 cities following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. However, in New York City, Lindsay traveled directly into Harlem, telling black residents that he regretted King's death and was working against poverty. He is credited with averting riots in New York with this direct response, even as other major cities burned. David Garth, who accompanied Lindsay that night, recalled: "There was a wall of people coming across 125th Street, going from west to east ... I thought we were dead. John raised his hands, said he was sorry. It was very quiet. My feeling was, his appearance there was very reassuring to people because it wasn't the first time they had seen him. He had gone there on a regular basis. That gave him credibility when it hit the fan."
In 1969, a backlash against Lindsay caused him to lose the Republican mayoral primary to state Senator John J. Marchi, who was enthusiastically supported by william F. Buckley and the party conservatives. In the Democratic primary, the most conservative candidate, City Comptroller Mario Procaccino, defeated several more liberal contenders and won the nomination with only a plurality of the votes. "The more the Mario", he quipped. Procaccino went on to coin the term "limousine liberal" to describe incumbent Lindsay and his wealthy Manhattan backers.
Lindsay's budget aide Peter C. Goldmark, Jr. told Historian Vincent Cannato that the administration "failed to come to grips with what a neighborhood is. We never realized that crime is something that happens to, and in, a community." Assistant Nancy Seifer said "There was a whole world out there that nobody in City Hall knew anything about ... If you didn't live on Central Park West, you were some kind of lesser being." While many experts traced the city's mid-1970s fiscal crisis to the Lindsay years, Lindsay disagreed, insisting that it may have come sooner if he had not imposed new taxes.
In 1971, Lindsay and his wife cut ties with the Republican Party by registering with the Democratic Party. Lindsay said, "In a sense, this step recognizes the failure of 20 years in progressive Republican politics. In another sense, it represents the renewed decision to fight for new national leadership." Lindsay then launched a brief and unsuccessful bid for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. He attracted positive media attention and was a successful fundraiser. Lindsay did well in the early Arizona caucus, coming in second place behind Edmund Muskie of Maine and ahead of eventual nominee George McGovern of South Dakota. Then in the March 14 Florida primary, he placed a weak fifth place, behind George Wallace of Alabama, Muskie, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, and Scoop Jackson of Washington (though he did edge out McGovern). Among his difficulties was New York City's worsening problems, which Lindsay was accused of neglecting; a band of protesters from Forest Hills, Queens, who were opposed to his support for a low income housing project in their neighborhood, followed Lindsay around his aborted campaign itinerary to jeer and heckle him. His poor showing in Florida effectively doomed his candidacy. Shortly thereafter, influential Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman Meade Esposito called for Lindsay to end his campaign: "I think the handwriting is on the wall; Little Sheba better come home." After a poor showing in the April 5 Wisconsin primary, Lindsay formally abandoned the race.
In a 1972 Gallup poll, 60% of New Yorkers felt Lindsay's administration was working poorly, nine percent rated it good, and not one person thought its performance excellent. By 1978, The New York Times called Lindsay "an exile in his own city".
An alternate assessment was made by Journalist Robert McFadden who said that "By 1973, his last year in office, Mr. Lindsay had become a more seasoned, pragmatic mayor." McFadden also credited him for reducing racial tensions, leading to the prevention of riots that plagued Detroit, Newark, Los Angeles, and other cities.
After leaving office, Lindsay returned to the law, but remained in the public eye as a commentator and regular guest host for ABC's Good Morning America. In 1975, Lindsay made a surprise appearance on The Tony Awards telecast in which he, along with a troupe of Celebrity male suitors in tuxedos, sang "Mame" to Angela Lansbury. He presented the award for Best Director Of A Play to John Dexter for the play Equus. Lindsay also tried his hand at acting, appearing in Otto Preminger's Rosebud; the following year his novel, The Edge, was published (Lindsay had earlier authored two non-fiction memoirs): New York Times, in its contemporary review of the novel, said it was "as dead-serious as a $100-a-plate dinner of gray meat and frozen candidates' smiles." Attempting a political comeback in 1980, Lindsay made a long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from New York, and finished third. He was also active in New York City charities, serving on the board of the Association for a Better New York, and as chairman of the Lincoln Center Theater. On his death, New York Times credited Lindsay with a significant role in the rejuvenation of the theatre.
In 2000, Yale Law School created a fellowship program named in Lindsay's honor. In 1998, a park in Brooklyn, Lindsay Triangle, was named in his honor, and in 2001, the East River Park was renamed in his memory. In December 2013, South Loop Drive in Manhattan's Central Park was renamed after Lindsay, to commemorate his support for a car-free Central Park.
Lindsay also fought to transform the Civilian Complaint Review Board from an internal police-run department, into a public-minded agency with a citizen majority board. Initially and vociferously opposed by the police union, citizen oversight of police—which sprung from the American Civil Rights Movement—has since become an established institution in civic life, and Lindsay was a leader for it.