John Buffalo Mailer (son of Norman) writes in The American Conservative of the Summer of ’69: Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin’s campaign to liberate NYC. A thought-provoking read, which highlights many of the duo’s offbeat and intriguing campaign ideas, centerpiece of which was to make New York City the 51st state. Here are a few especially interesting excerpts from the piece:
He foresaw the city, its independence secured, splintering into townships and neighborhoods, with their own school systems, police departments, housing programs, and governing philosophies. In some areas, church attendance might be obligatory, in others free love mandatory. “People in New York would begin to discover neighborhoods of the left, the right, and the spectrum of the center which reflected some of their own passions and desires and programs for local government,” he wrote. One way or another, the city would come apart.
My father called for banning private cars in Manhattan, which would have reduced pollution by an estimated three-fifths. The number of cabs would increase, and passengers heading in the same direction could share cabs at a prorated fare. All city bus and subway transportation would be free, a monorail was to be built around the island, and publicly owned bicycles would be made available to all without cost.