Lindsay, John Vliet, was an American politician, broadcaster, and attorney. He served as a congressman and then as mayor of New York City. Protesters dubbed him ‘the red mayor,’ ‘Communist rat,’ ‘bum,’ and ‘traitor’ during riots and strikes. He began his political career as a Republican but eventually turned to the Democratic Party. Both his bids for the Democratic presidential candidacy and for the Democratic senatorial nomination failed. John Vliet Lindsay was a frequent guest host on ‘Good Morning America’. He was well-known for his ‘ghetto walks’ and disputes with labor unions. He wrote ‘Journey Into Politics: Some Informal Observations’ in his memoir. Among his other works are a non-fiction book titled ‘The City’ and a novel titled ‘The Edge’. He made his cinematic debut in Otto Preminger’s ‘Rosebud’. He was regarded as one of the most divisive and conspicuous urban leaders of his generation.
Childhood & Adolescence
John Vliet Lindsay was born on November 24, 1921, in West End Avenue, New York, to George Nelson Lindsay and Florence Eleanor Vliet, a well-to-do family. His father was a lawyer and an investment banker.
He attended both the ‘Buckley School’ and ‘St. Paul’s School’. He earned his BA from ‘Yale University’ in 1944.
He enlisted in the ‘United States Navy Reserve’ after completing his bachelor’s degree and served as a gunner during World War II. He rose to the rank of lieutenant and was awarded five combat stars. He was honorably discharged from the military in 1946.
He received his LLB from ‘Yale Law School’ in 1948 and returned to New York after a year to join the bar. He was hired by Webster Sheffield Fleischmann Hitchcock & Christie, a law company. He became a partner in the firm four years later.
John Lindsay’s Career
He was a founding member of the ‘Youth for Eisenhower’ club in 1951.
He was elected President of the ‘New Young Republican’ club in 1952.
He was named executive assistant to Attorney General Herbert Brownell in the Justice Department in 1955, where he was responsible for civil liberty cases, notably the 1957 ‘Civil Rights Act.’
He was elected to Congress in 1958 after winning the Republican primary to represent Manhattan’s ‘Silk Stocking’ district.
He argued for federal assistance for Medicare and education, as well as the establishment of a ‘National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities and a ‘Department of Urban Affairs. As a prominent member of the Republican moderate and liberal groups, he voted for the 1964 ‘Civil Rights Act.’
John Vliet Lindsay was elected Republican Mayor of New York in 1965 with the support of the Liberal Party.
On his first day as mayor, January 1, 1966, the ‘Transport Workers Union of America’ launched a citywide transportation strike. He desired to resolve the strike’s terms as well as other issues, such as higher welfare costs.
In pursuit of this goal, he lobbied the ‘New York State Legislature’ for increased water rates for residents, a new municipal income tax, and a commuter tax on the non-resident working public.
In 1968, he decentralized three neighborhood schools and granted them complete autonomy. The plan backfired, as it resulted in the dismissal of numerous instructors in Ocean Hill-Brownville from schools that attempted decentralization. As a result, the ‘Union Federation of Teachers’ organized a walkout, which was followed by a lengthy seven-month-long citywide teacher’s strike. With racial overtones, the episode precipitated years of hostility between Jews and blacks.
In 1968, a three-day Broadway walkout and a nine-day sanitation strike left New York in shambles. The city has been submerged in a sea of trash. He later referred to this moment as “the darkest period of my public existence.”
He was a member of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders’s ‘Kerner Commission.’
On February 10, 1969, fourteen people were killed and sixty-eight were injured in New York City, which was buried with fifteen inches of snow. Lindsay was chastised for favoring Manhattan over the other boroughs and was widely booed. As mayor, he gained notoriety for his callous attitude toward the middle class and the destitute.
In 1969, he lost the Republican mayoral primary to State Senator John J. Marchi. He then became the ‘New York Liberal Party’s mayoral nominee and won the election with a larger margin of victory than in 1965.
Another riot occurred in New York on May 8, 1970, when approximately 200 construction workers, organized by the ‘New York State AFL-CIO’ labor federation, attacked approximately 1,000 students. The high school and college students were protesting the US invasion of Cambodia, the Vietnam War, and the Kent State massacre. Although a few local investment analysts, bankers, and attorneys came out to defend the students, the police remained on the sidelines.
On May 11 and 16, 1970, thousands of workers staged two additional rallies in response to the event. While John Vliet Lindsay criticized the police, demonstrators dubbed him a ‘traitor’ and ‘the red mayor.’
Lindsay established the ‘Knapp Commission’ in April 1970 in response to an article in ‘The New York Times’ by Frank Serpico, an NYPD patrolman, alleging systemic police corruption. While the commission’s early reports were released in August 1972, its recommendations were released on December 27 of that year.
He crossed from the Republican to the Democratic parties in 1971. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential candidacy in 1972.
In the following years, he returned to his legal career and continued to serve as a regular guest host on ‘ABC’s’ Good Morning America.
In an attempt to re-enter politics, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Senate nomination from New York in 1980.
He was chairman of the ‘Lincoln Center Theatre’ and a member of the ‘Association for a Better New York’s board of directors.
His health began to deteriorate, and he underwent open-heart surgery in 1988. Without health insurance, his fortune dwindled over time due to mounting medical expenditures. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appointed him special counsel to the New York City Commission for the United Nations in 1995, so making him eligible for municipal health insurance.
Personal History and Legacies
On June 18, 1949, he married Mary Anne Harrison. John was the couple’s son, and Katharine, Margaret, and Anne were their daughters.
He died of pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease on December 19, 2000, at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Estimated Net worth
John Lindsay is one of the wealthiest politicians and is ranked among the most popular. John Lindsay’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
In 1998, a park in Brooklyn was renamed ‘Lindsay Triangle’ in his honor.
In 2000, he was honored with the establishment of a fellowship program at the ‘Yale Law School.’
In 2001, the East River Park was renamed in his honor.
In December 2013, the South Loop Drive in Manhattan’s Central Park was renamed in his honor.