|Name||Abraham D. "Abe" Beame|
New York, New York , United States
|| March 20, 1906
|Died||February 10, 2001
Mar 11, 2007 05:06pm
Jewish - Polish - Judaism -
|Info||Abraham David "Abe" Beame was mayor of New York City from 1974 to 1977. As such, he presided over the city during the fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, during which the city was almost forced to declare bankruptcy. At 5'2", he is possibly NYC's shortest mayor. |
Beame was the first practicing Jew to be mayor of New York City, although earlier Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, an Episcopalian, was Jewish on his mother's side. He was born in London, and grew up on New York's Lower East Side, and became city budget director from 1952 to 1961. He was a Democrat and was elected to two terms as city comptroller in 1961 and 1969. In 1965 he was the Democratic nominee for Mayor, but was defeated by the Republican candidate, John V. Lindsay. Beame was a "clubhouse" or machine politician, a product of the Brooklyn wing of the regular Democratic organization (that borough's equivalent of Manhattan's Tammany Hall) as opposed to the "reform" Democrats who entered New York politics in the 1950s.
After defeating State Senator John Marchi in the 1973 mayoral election, Beame faced the worst fiscal crisis in the city's history and spent the bulk of his term attempting to ward off bankruptcy. He slashed the city workforce, froze wages, and restructured the budget, which proved insufficient until reinforced by actions from newly created state-sponsored entities and the granting of federal funds. He also served during the blackout crisis. After a tumultuous four years as mayor, he ran for a second term in 1977 (shortly after the New York City blackout of 1977, one of the low points in NYC's history) and finished third in the Democratic primary to U.S. Representative Edward I. Koch and New York Secretary of State Mario M. Cuomo. Beame outpolled former Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Congressman Herman Badillo and Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton in the 1977 primary.
He died in 2001 at the age of 94 from complications from open-heart surgery.