Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Monday, December 10, 2001
Release # 389-01

Contact: Matthew Higgins / Peter C. Fenty (212) 788-2958


The first bill before me today is Introductory Number 884, sponsored by Speaker Vallone in conjunction with my Administration. The bill would rename Manhattan's East River Park "John V. Lindsay/East River Park."

John V. Lindsay, the 103rd Mayor of our City, was born in Manhattan on November 24, 1921. He attended St. Paul Preparatory School in Concord, New Hampshire and Yale University. After his graduation from Yale in 1943, Mayor Lindsay entered the military and served admirably for the duration of the Second World War. In 1946 he returned to Yale to earn his law degree.

In 1958, Mayor Lindsay made his first foray into elective politics with a successful run for Congress. For four terms, he represented Manhattan's 17th Congressional District, known as the Silk Stocking District. In 1965 he ran for Mayor and became the City's first Republican chief executive since Fiorello La Guardia had won City Hall thirty years earlier.

John Lindsay's two terms spanned some of the most difficult years New York City and the nation have ever known. He struggled to hold together a City undergoing enormous social and economic changes. While his times and legacy are the subject of much debate and discussion, few question Mayor Lindsay's character and good intentions. He believed in a New York that shows compassion for the less fortunate and promises equal opportunity to all. He fought doggedly for civil rights and racial harmony, and he helped to keep New York's diverse populations calm during a time when race riots were exploding in cities across the country. It is little wonder that Lindsay was the Mayor who first called his job "the second toughest in America." In spite of it all, John Lindsay remained a sign of optimism for all New Yorkers.

After his years at City Hall, Mayor Lindsay returned to the practice of law and penned a novel and his memoirs. Sadly, John V. Lindsay died almost exactly a year ago, on December 19, 2000.

The history of New York and the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s will continue to be studied, discussed and debated for years to come. And no discussion of those turbulent times will be complete without a look at Mayor Lindsay's contributions. In view, then, of John Lindsay's many years of service to the people of the City of New York, as a Congressman and as their Mayor, I am pleased to rename East River Park, a part of his congressional district, in his honor.

I will now turn to the bill's sponsor and to any other elected officials wishing to speak on this matter.

I will now turn to the general audience.

There being no one else wishing to speak and for the reasons previously stated, I will now sign the bill.