We’ve heard a bit of muttering lately on the, er, slightly superficial question of Freddy’s facial hair. When, we were asked, was the last time New York elected a mayor with a moustache?
The results of our extensive research aren’t encouraging for the former Bronx Borough President. The last mustachioed mayor, John P. O’Brien, was a Tammany man who served less than a year in 1933 before being thumped by the clean-shaven Fiorello LaGuardia. O’Brien had a modest, Ferrer-like ‘stache. If Freddy does decide to stick with it, though, perhaps he should go all the way and grow what we’ll call a Van Wyck in honor of the first Mayor of Greater New York.
Henry Stern, who follows such things, explained to us the disappearance of moustaches from American politics in the second half of the 20th Century.
“Moustaches were dealt a heavy blow in the 1940s by the Fuhrer and by Governor Dewey,” he said. “Harold Ickes [the FDR aide] described Dewey when he was running against Roosevelt as ‘the little man on the wedding cake.'”
We can think offhand of two major moustaches on the city’s political scene, belonging to Bernie Kerik and to the News’s Bill Hammond. Neither man, we venture, will soon be running for public office.
As for Stern, he was agnostic on whether the moustache affects Freddy’s chances of getting elected.
“If it became an impediment, I’m certain he would shave it,” he said.
CORRECTION: We’re really slipping here. Dinkins, of course, had a moustache! Not a Van Wyck, but no missing it. Things are looking up for Freddy.