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 Ed Koch
36th and 38th New York City Comptroller
In office
January 1, 1970 December 31, 1973
Mayor John V. Lindsay
Preceded by Mario Procaccino
Succeeded by Harrison J. Goldin
In office
January 1, 1962 December 31, 1965
Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr.
Preceded by Lawrence E. Gerosa
Succeeded by Mario Procaccino
Personal details
Abraham David Birnbaum

(1906-03-20)March 20, 1906
London, England, UK
DiedFebruary 10, 2001(2001-02-10) (aged 94)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Mary Ingerman
(m. 1928;died 1995)
Alma mater City College of New York

Abraham David Beame (March 20, 1906 – February 10, 2001) [2] was the 104th Mayor of New York City, from 1974 to 1977. [3] As mayor, he presided over the city during its fiscal crisis of the mid-1970s, during which the city was almost forced to declare bankruptcy.

Mayor of New York City head of the executive branch of New York Citys government

The Mayor of the City of New York is head of the executive branch of the Government of New York City. The mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces all city and state laws within New York City.


Early life

Beame was born Abraham David Birnbaum in London. [4] His parents were Esther (née Goldfarb) and Philip Birnbaum, Jewish immigrants from Poland who fled Warsaw. [5] [6] Beame and his family left England when he was three months old. [5] He was raised on New York City's Lower East Side.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

History of the Jews in Poland spans the period 966 to present times

The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over 1,000 years. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was a principal center of Jewish culture, thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the Partitions of Poland which began in 1772, in particular, with the discrimination and persecution of Jews in the Russian Empire. During World War II there was a nearly complete genocidal destruction of the Polish Jewish community by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, during the 1939–1945 German occupation of Poland and the ensuing Holocaust. Since the fall of communism in Poland, there has been a Jewish revival, featuring an annual Jewish Culture Festival, new study programs at Polish secondary schools and universities, the work of synagogues such as the Nożyk Synagogue, and Warsaw's Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Poland Republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

He was a student at P.S. 160, the High School of Commerce, and City College of New York, [4] where he graduated from its Baruch School with honors in 1928 [5] with a degree in business. [6]

City College of New York senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City

The City College of the City University of New York is a public senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City. Founded in 1847, City College was the first free public institution of higher education in the United States. It is the oldest of CUNY's 24 institutions of higher learning, and is considered its flagship college.

Baruch College college in New York City

Baruch College is a public college in New York City. It is a constituent college of the City University of New York system. Named for financier and statesman Bernard M. Baruch, the college operates undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs through its Zicklin School of Business, the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.


Career before politics

While still a student at City College of New York, he co-founded an accounting firm, Beame & Greidinger. [5] After graduation, he also taught accounting from 1929 to 1946 at Richmond Hill High School in Queens, [6] and eventually accounting and commercial law at Rutgers University during 1944 and 1945.

Queens Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City, coterminous with Queens County. It is the largest borough geographically and is adjacent to the borough of Brooklyn at the southwestern end of Long Island. To its east is Nassau County. Queens also shares water borders with the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. The borough of Queens is the second largest in population, with an estimated 2,358,582 residents in 2017, approximately 48 percent of them foreign-born. Queens County also is the second most populous county in the U.S. state of New York, behind Brooklyn, which is coterminous with Kings County. Queens is the fourth most densely populated county among New York City's boroughs, as well as in the United States. If each of New York City's boroughs were an independent city, Queens would be the nation's fourth most populous, after Los Angeles, Chicago, and Brooklyn. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.

Rutgers University multi-campus American public research university in New Jersey, United States

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, commonly referred to as Rutgers University, Rutgers, or RU, is an American public research university in New Jersey. It is the largest institution of higher education in New Jersey.

He was appointed New York City's Director of the Budget, [5] and served from 1952 to 1961.

Early political career

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 City politics in the 1950s. He was a Democrat and was elected to two terms as city comptroller in 1961 and 1969.

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is a borough of New York City coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States. It is New York City's most populous borough, with an estimated 2,504,700 residents in 2010. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island.

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, , is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City, coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. Manhattan serves as the city's economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

Tammany Hall Political organization

Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York City political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789, as the Tammany Society. It was the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in controlling New York City and New York State politics and helping immigrants, most notably the Irish, rise in American politics from the 1790s to the 1960s. It typically controlled Democratic Party nominations and political patronage in Manhattan after the mayoral victory of Fernando Wood in 1854, and used its patronage resources to build a loyal, well-rewarded core of district and precinct leaders; after 1850 the great majority were Irish Catholics.

In 1965, he was the Democratic nominee for Mayor but was defeated by the Republican candidate, John V. Lindsay. [7]

Mayor of New York City

Beame tours the South Bronx with President Jimmy Carter and H.U.D. Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris in 1977 Secretary of H.U.D. Patricia Harris, Jimmy Carter and New York Mayor Abraham Beame tour the South Bronx. - NARA - 176392.jpg
Beame tours the South Bronx with President Jimmy Carter and H.U.D. Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris in 1977

Beame defeated State Senator John Marchi in the 1973 mayoral election, becoming the 104th Mayor of New York City. [4] He 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. However, "he was credited with distributing the City's dwindling resources equitably". [3] He served during the 1977 blackout crisis as well as the United Nations 30th anniversary in 1975, the Statue of Liberty's 90th anniversary in 1976, coinciding with the nation's bicentennial that year, the Son of Sam 1976-1977 murder spree of David Berkowitz, hometowners' Kiss first four Madison Square Garden shows in 1977 (February 18; December 14–16) and President Carter's presidential debut tour in 1977 (October 4–5). When he left office in 1977, the city budget had changed from a $1.5 billion deficit [5] to a surplus of $200 million. [4]

After a chaotic four years as mayor, Beame ran for a second term in 1977, and finished third in the Democratic primary, behind Representative Ed Koch and New York Secretary of State Mario Cuomo, and ahead of former Representative Bella Abzug, Representative Herman Badillo and Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton. He was succeeded by Koch, who won the general election on November 8, 1977. [5]

Beame was the first mayor of New York City who was a practicing Jew. [6] (Fiorello La Guardia, who was mayor from 1934 to 1945, was halachically Jewish because his mother was born Jewish, but was raised as an Episcopalian and practiced that religion all his life.)

Personal life

Abraham Beame was 5 ft 2 (157 cm) tall. [8]

He was married to his childhood sweetheart, Mary (née Ingerman), [5] for 67 years. [4] They raised two sons, Edmond and Bernard (Buddy), [2] [5] and resided in Brooklyn: first in Crown Heights and later near Prospect Park. [4]


Beame died, aged 94, on February 10, 2001—just two months after the death of his predecessor, Lindsay—after open-heart surgery at New York University Medical Center. [2]

See also

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  1. "The Green Book: Mayors of the City of New York". NYC.gov. May 14, 2012. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. on the official NYC website
  2. 1 2 3 McFadden, Robert D. (February 11, 2001). "Abraham Beame Is Dead at 94; Mayor During 70's Fiscal Crisis". The New York Times . p. 1. 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.
  3. 1 2 "Parks Remembers Mayor Beame". Daily Plant. New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. XVI (3304). February 16, 2001. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Giuliani, Rudolph W. "Remarks at the Funeral Service for Mayor Abraham Beame". nyc.gov.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Marks, Jason. "12 Who Made It Big: Abraham D. Beame '28". History of Baruch College. Baruch College, City University of New York. Archived from the original on April 12, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "New York City's first Jewish mayor". Richmond Hill Historical Society. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  7. Witkin, RIchard (November 3, 1965). "Lindsay Beats Beame In A Close Race; O'Connor and Procaccino Both Win; State Senate Is G.O.P.; Hughes Victor - Seesaw Contest - Vote Is Tightest Here in Quarter Century - 13% for Buckley". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  8. Sewell, Chan (December 4, 2006). "The Mayor's Tall Tales". The New York Times.
Political offices
Preceded by
Lawrence E. Gerosa
New York City Comptroller
Succeeded by
Mario Procaccino
Preceded by
Mario Procaccino
New York City Comptroller
Succeeded by
Harrison J. Goldin
Preceded by
John V. Lindsay
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Edward I. Koch
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert F. Wagner, Jr.
Democratic Nominee for Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Mario Procaccino
Preceded by
Mario Procaccino
Democratic Nominee for Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Edward I. Koch