Synopses & Reviews
On January 1, 1966, New York came to a standstill as the cityand#8217;s transit workers went on strike. This was the first day on the job for Mayor John Lindsayand#151;a handsome, young former congressman with presidential aspirationsand#151;and he would approach the issue with an unconventional outlook that would be his hallmark. He ignored the cold and walked four miles, famously declaring, and#147;I still think it is a fun city.and#8221;
As profound social, racial, and cultural change sank the city into repeated crises, critics lampooned Lindsayand#8217;s and#147;fun city.and#8221; Yet for all the hard times the city endured during and after his tenure as mayor, there was indeed fun to be had. Against this backdrop, too, the sporting scene saw tremendous upheaval.
On one hand, the venerable Yankeesand#151;who had won 15 pennants in an 18-year span before 1965and#151;and the NFLand#8217;s powerhouse Giants suddenly went into a level of decline neither had known for generations, as stars like Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford on the diamond and Y.A. Tittle on the gridiron aged quickly. But on the other, the fall of the cityand#8217;s sports behemoths was accompanied by the rise of anti-establishment outsidersand#151;there were Joe Namath and the Jets, as well as the shocking triumph of the Amazinand#8217; Mets, who won the 1969 World Series after spending the franchiseand#8217;s first eight seasons in the cellar. Meanwhile, the cityand#8217;s two overlooked franchises, the Knicks and Rangers, also had breakthroughs, bringing new life to Madison Square Garden.
The overlap of these two worlds in the 1960sand#151;Lindsayand#8217;s politics and the reemerging sports landscapeand#151;serves as the backbone of Fun City. In the vein of Ladies and Gentlemen: The Bronx is Burning, the book tells the story of a remarkable and thrilling time in New York sports against the backdrop of a remarkable and often difficult time for the city, culturally and socially.
The late sixties was an era in which New York toughened up in a lot of ways; it also was an era in which a changing of the guard among New York pro teams led the way in making it a truly fun city.
"Sean Deveney deftly details the fan euphoria related to the emergence of first-time world champions against the backdrop of tumultuous events that affected all New Yorkers."and#151;Jeff Miller, author of Going Long: The Wild Ten Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those Who Lived It
"Fun City is a rollicking, insightful look back at an incredible time in New York history. From Joe Namath to John Lindsay, Mickey Mantle to Muhammad Ali and all the Amazin' Mets, here is a story that will entertain and astonish you, even if you lived through it."and#151;Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd
"I remember New York in the late 1960s and early 1970--a dreamland of seediness, magnificent in its plunge toward the abyss. Somehow against all odds its professional teams conjured magic. Long-haired Joe Namath, wounded Willis Reed, and their gangs of Jets and Knicks captured the soul of the times. It could have happened only in New York. Sean Deveney recaptures the moment in vivid detail. I felt younger again just reading Fun City."and#151;Randy Roberts, co-author of Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter
and#147;Looking for a good pool/beach book? Fun City . . . [is] about the roiling stew of 1960s NYC politics (emphasis on John Lindsay), mixed with the radical changes in the cityand#8217;s sports scene (emphasis on Sonny Werblinand#8217;s Jets and Joe Namath).and#8221;and#151;Phil Mushnick, New York Post
About the Author
Sean Deveney has been a writer and editor at Sporting News since 1999, covering all aspects of sports and appeared as a guest on ESPN, Comcast Sports, CNN, Fox News, CBS, and MSNBC. He has helped author four books, including The Original Curse and Before Wrigley Became Wrigley.