Time: January 2, 2017 from 6pm to 7pm
Location: Irish Center
Street: Irish Center 10-40 Jackson Avenue
City/Town: Long Island City
Website or Map: https://www.facebook.com/even…
Event Type: reading
Organized By: Geoffrey Cobb
Latest Activity: Jan 5, 2017
Until his death in 1948, Peter McGuinness personified Tammany Hall for the residents of Greenpoint (a stupendously polluted, industrial neighborhood of Brooklyn). If your family was missing meals, McGuinness reached into his foot-long wallet and pulled out cash to buy you groceries. He found you a patronage job. He knew your name. Community historian Geoffrey Cobb brings the six-foot, 270-pound lumber-handler, amateur boxer, New York City alderman and Democratic Party political boss -- and the neighborhood of Greenpoint (which McGuinness always called “the Garden Spot”) -- vividly to life.
As a ward heeler, McGuinness was phenomenally adept at “turning out the vote.” (He first proved it at age 10, expertly taking the place of an ailing block captain. Thirty-five years later, in 1933, McGuinness’s Democratic club voted 80:1 to repudiate Prohibition.) But McGuinness wasn’t just a ward heeler. He delivered tangible benefits for constituents. He preserved ferry service for them -- to Manhattan (just across the East River) -- until he could get a subway routed through Greenpoint to take its place. And in 1936, McGuinness brought joy to Greenpoint. The 330’ x 165’ public pool he inveigled the W.P.A. to build, could accommodate 6,800 swimmers on a hot summer’s day. Geoffrey Cobb serves up an often hilarious, always thought-provoking case study of a larger-than-life 20th century Irish American urban political chieftan, The King of Greenpoint, Peter J. McGuinness, the Amazing Story of Greenpoint’s Most Colorful Character.