Abraham Beame

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Abraham Beame
Abraham D. Beame.jpg
104th Mayor of New York City[1]
In office
January 1, 1974 – December 31, 1977
Preceded by John V. Lindsay
Succeeded by Edward I. Koch
36th and 38th New York City Comptroller
In office
1970–1973
Preceded by Mario Procaccino
Succeeded by Harrison J. Goldin
In office
1962–1965
Preceded by Lawrence E. Gerosa
Succeeded by Mario Procaccino
Personal details
Born Abraham David Birnbaum
(1906-03-20)March 20, 1906
London, United Kingdom
Died February 10, 2001(2001-02-10) (aged 94)
New York City, United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Ingerman
Religion Jewish

Abraham David "Abe" Beame (March 20, 1906 – February 10, 2001) was Mayor of New York City from 1974 to 1977 as a Democrat.[2] 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.

Early life and career[edit]

Beame was the first mayor of New York City who was a practicing Jew (earlier Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was of Jewish ancestry on his mother's side, but was Episcopalian). He was born Abraham David Birnbaum in London, the son of Esther (née Goldfarb) and Philip Birnbaum, Polish Jewish immigrants.[3] Beame grew up on New York's Lower East Side. While still a student at City College of New York, he co-founded an accounting firm, Beame & Greidinger. After graduation he also taught accounting from 1929 to 1946 at Richmond Hill High School, and eventually accounting and commercial law at Rutgers University during 1944 and 1945. He 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.

Mayoral challenges[edit]

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 salaries, and reconfigured the budget, which proved unsatisfactory until reinforced by actions from newly created state-sponsored entities and the granting of federal funds. He also served during the 1977 blackout crisis.

After a chaotic four years as mayor, he ran for a second term in 1977 and finished third in the Democratic primary, behind U.S. Representative Ed Koch and New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo. Beame outpolled former Congresswoman Bella Abzug, Congressman Herman Badillo and Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton in the 1977 primary.

When he left office in 1977, the city budget had changed from a $1.5 billion deficit to a surplus of $200 million.[citation needed] He was succeeded by Ed Koch as mayor.

Personal life[edit]

Beame was a man of short stature, being only five feet, two inches tall.[4][relevant? ]

He died on February 10, 2001 at the age of 94 from complications from open-heart surgery at New York University Medical Center.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ "The Green Book: Mayors of the City of New York" on the official NYC website
  2. ^ PARKS REMEMBERS MAYOR BEAME – Daily Plant Newsletter
  3. ^ http://eastlondonhistory.com/2010/11/04/abram-beame-mayor-of-new-york/
  4. ^ The New York Times: "The Mayor’s Tall Tales."
  5. ^ Robert D. McFadden (February 11, 2001). "Abraham Beame Is Dead at 94; Mayor During 70's Fiscal Crisis". New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2010. "Abraham D. Beame, an accountant and clubhouse Democrat who climbed the gray ranks of municipal bookkeeping and confounded oddsmakers to become mayor of New York in the mid-1970s, only to spend his term struggling with the worst fiscal calamity in the city's history, died yesterday at New York University Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 94." 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lawrence E. Gerosa
New York City Comptroller
1962–1965
Succeeded by
Mario Procaccino
Preceded by
Mario Procaccino
New York City Comptroller
1970–1973
Succeeded by
Harrison J. Goldin
Preceded by
John V. Lindsay
Mayor of New York City
1974–1977
Succeeded by
Edward I. Koch
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert F. Wagner, Jr.
Democratic Nominee for Mayor of New York City
1965
Succeeded by
Mario Procaccino
Preceded by
Mario Procaccino
Democratic Nominee for Mayor of New York City
1973
Succeeded by
Edward I. Koch