cover image Fun City: John Lindsay, Joe Namath, and How Sports Saved New York in the 1960s

Fun City: John Lindsay, Joe Namath, and How Sports Saved New York in the 1960s

Sean Deveney. Sports Publishing, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61321-815-0

Deveney, a longtime writer and editor with Sporting News, nimbly chronicles the ups and downs of New York mayor John V. Lindsay and New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, two big personalities who faced high demands while riding a humongous wave of late-1960s political and social tumult. By 1965, according to Time magazine, as Deveney notes here, New York City had become “a shiftless slattern, mired in problems that had been allowed to proliferate for decades.” Economic and technological changes left scores of N.Y.C. residents unemployed. Those looking to sports for a distraction only got more grief. The once-powerful Yankees and Giants were felled by age, institutional miscues, and plain old ennui. Change was needed in both spheres. Lindsay, an erudite, handsome 43-year-old Congressman, entered the mayor’s office in 1965 with a progressive mind-set (paying attention to minorities and ghettos), but his patrician air rankled blue-collar workers and their unions. Namath, hedonistic and shaggy-haired, took over as the Jets quarterback that same year, quickly becoming a headline-hogging sex symbol who elicited resentment from his teammates—and swoons from the ladies. This impressively researched history serves as a vivid portrait of the two men’s valiant, if fruitless, quest for greatness in a perpetually unforgiving city. [em](Oct.) [/em]