Way Back Machine -- The Mayor Is Shot





Most New York City mayors are typically booed at ballgames, but fortunately only one, William J. Gaynor, was wounded in an attempted assassination. It happened a century ago on Monday.

The bullet, fired by a disgruntled former municipal employee, remained lodged in Gaynor’s neck. Three years later, suffering from the lingering effects of the wound, he succumbed to a heart attack — the only mayor of modern New York to die in office.

Although nominated by the Tammany machine in 1909, Gaynor emerged as a fiercely independent reformer. He fought police use of excessive force and corruption (though Police Lieut. Charles Becker would be convicted during Gaynor’s tenure of ordering the murder of the gambler Herman Rosenthal). He championed mass transit. He abolished East River bridge tolls.

Few tangible signs of his legacy endure, though....


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