Mayor Norman Mailer: Free Bikes, Clean Air and No Private Cars

Michael Frumin, who worked with the Regional Plan Association to develop the intriguing Triboro RX concept a while back, has a vintage 1969 Mailer-Breslin mayoral campaign poster up on his Frumination blog today. The artwork was squirreled away by Frumin’s grandfather for 30 years. It’s worth a look. 

Norman Mailer, the great American writer, larger than life character, and volatile New York intellect, died on November 10. Mailer’s candidacy was centered around the political reformer’s evergreen fantasy of casting off Albany’s yoke and making New York City the 51st state. Though treated as a publicity stunt by many, some of Mailer’s ideas were seriously considered. He was the only candidate to support open admissions at the city’s heavily segregated public colleges.

As the campaign poster illustrates, Mailer also had some Livable Streets goals in mind. In addition to "Free Bikes" for Lower Manhattan the Mailer Administration planned to construct a "rapid transit monorail" around Manhattan as the first step towards banning private cars. Mailer claimed a monorail would move 100,000 people an hour, could be built at one seventh the cost of a new subway and would be much more fun. Mayor Mailer’s campaign poster also promises "Clean Air, No Smog" and "Neighborhood Power."

Crazy? Or a man way ahead of his time?

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