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Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Lindsay Years | THIRTEEN


The Lindsay Years | THIRTEEN

Produced by THIRTEEN for WNET.ORG, a one-hour television documentary film, Fun City Revisited: The Lindsay Years, airs Thursday, May 6 at 8:00 p.m. on THIRTEEN and Wednesday, May 12 at 10p.m. on WLIW21.

Fun City Revisited: The Lindsay Years, a new special from WNET.ORG, looks at John Lindsay’s turbulent two terms as New York mayor from 1966 – 1973. It also looks at his unsuccessful bid for President during the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination.(Click here to see the video.)

This was a time (1965-1973) when there were still liberal Republicans though John Lindsay switched parties in 1972 and became a Democrat.  He was a former "Upper East Side" of Manhattan U.S. congressman from New York's "Silk Stocking" district who was a champion of the poor.  African American's in NYC loved him and in the aftermath of the Martin Luther King assassination in 1968 New York City remained relatively cool while many large American cities erupted in violence.  He walked the street of Harlem late into the night sharing his constituents grief, anger and sorrow on the night after King was killed.  Lindsay served as Co-Charmain of the Kerner Commission which was set up by then President Johnson to study the rash of civil disturbances which were tearing at the very fabric of American society during the sixties.  The final report stated that America was becoming two separate societies, one black and one white (The Kerner Commission Report).

At the moment he took office in 1965 New York suffered a mass transit strike.  There was also a garbage and a controversial teachers strike during his first term which precipitated a long lasting tear in relations between New York's Jewish and African American communities.  Lindsay was blamed for the slow removal of snow from the streets of Queens after a fifteen inch snow storm.  He was reelected with only forty-one percent of the vote in a three way race in 1969.  He entered the Florida Presidential Primary in 1971 but his campaign collapsed after a few weeks.  He later failed in an attempt to run for the U.S. Senate.

Most importantly Lindsay should be remembered as a politician who had a heart.  He was an idealist in a time of idealism.  He led New York City through some of it's most tumultuous years.  Click on the link above and watch the one hour documentary.     

John H. Armwood

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