For better or worse, Koch's efforts convinced many New Yorkers to embrace a new political order that subsidized business, particularly finance, insurance, and real estate, and privatized public space. Each phase of the city's recovery required difficult choices between moneyed interests and social services, forcing Koch to be both a moderate and a pragmatist as he tried to mitigate growing economic inequality. Throughout, Koch's rough rhetoric (attacking his opponents as "crazy," "wackos," and "radicals") prompted the charge that he was racially divisive. The first book to recast Koch's legacy through personal and mayoral papers, authorized interviews, and oral histories, this volume plots a history of New York City through two rarely studied but crucial decades, the bankruptcy of the 1970s and the recovery and crash of the 1980s.
It was Carey’s leadership, Lachman and Polner argue, that helped rescue the city and state from the brink of financial and social ruin. While TV comedians mocked and tabloids shrieked about the Big Apple’s rising muggings, its deteriorating public services, and the threats and walkouts by embattled police, firefighters, and teachers, all amid a brutal recession, Carey and his team managed to hold on and ultimately prevailed, narrowly preventing a huge disruption to the state, national, and global economy. At one point, the city came within a few hours of having to declare itself incapable of paying its debts and obligations, but in the end stability and consensus prevailed, and America’s largest city stayed out of bankruptcy court. The center held.
Based on extensive interviews with Carey and his family, as well as numerous friends, observers, and former advisors, including Steven Berger, David Burke, John Dyson, Peter Goldmark, Judah Gribetz, Richard Ravitch, and Felix Rohatyn, The Man Who Saved New York aims to place Carey and his achievements at the center of the financial maelstrom that met his arrival in Albany. While others were willing to let the city go into default, Carey was strongly opposed, since it would not only affect the state as a whole but would have reverberations both nationally and internationally.
In recounting the 1975 rescue of New York City and the aftershocks that nearly sank the state government, Lachman and Polner illuminate the often-volatile interplay among elite New York bankers, hard-nosed municipal union leaders, the press, and influential conservatives and liberals from City Hall to the Albany statehouse to the White House. Although often underappreciated by the public, it was Carey’s force of will, wit, intellect, judgment, and experiences that allowed the state to survive this unparalleled ordeal and ultimately to emerge on a stronger footing. Further, Lachman and Polner argue, Carey’s accomplishment is worth recalling as a prime example of how governments—local, state, and federal—can work to avoid the renewed the threat of bankruptcy that now confronts many overstretched states and localities.
Hard Feelings represents more than five years of Ken Auletta’s work for The Village Voice, New York magazine, the Daily News, Esquire, and The New Yorker. During that period he won a loyal following and established a reputation as the rare journalist who covers both politicians and the government. He covered the news and made the news with his famous and controversial New Yorker profile of Mayor Ed Koch and his startling exposé of lawyer Roy Cohn in Esquire. These pieces also display his versatility—hard, investigative reporting as well as precise, thoughtful essays—with subjects ranging from the ambitions of Ted Kennedy to the tribulations of Jimmy Carter, the maneuvers of a local politician to the struggles of an embattled high school principal.
One of Auletta’s chief concerns is the press itself: how the former publisher of the New York Post managed the news; how media expert David Garth manipulates it; how Tom Brokaw became a victim of it; and how passion for scandal and easy cynicism threaten it. The postscripts he has written for this volume address many of the central issues of journalism. A case in point is Auletta’s own use of controversial taps revealing Mayor Ed Koch’s private feelings about relations between blacks and Jews; another is his examination of the questionable coverage of Nelson Rockefeller’s death. Does a public figure have a right to privacy? Is there such a thing as too much press access? To whom does the reporter owe allegiance? What are the ethics of journalism?
In his stories and his second thoughts on them, Ken Auletta offers a provocative analysis of how a reporter works, views his profession, and evaluates his achievements with intelligence and feeling—hard feelings.