Tammany Hall.

Happy Election Day! The mere mention of city politics these days is enough to elicit a chorus of groans. But here’s the thing: our politicians today are total wimps when it comes to serious graft and scandal. You want to go back to the glory days of corruption? Hop in the DeLorean, set the clock to 1929 and pay a visit to Tammany Hall.TweedTammany Hall was a New York City political organization founded in 1786 and very quickly became the dominant political machine in New York City. Sensing an opportunity in the unending waves of immigration, they created a brand as the “working man’s party” which enabled them to draw strength from the city’s newest arrivals. Back then, if you were a fat cat in the Machine, you lived damn well. Quite literally no one was ever appointed, no building was ever built, and no law was ever passed without the proper cash kickbacks to the Tammany politicos. And top Tammany guys like Boss Tweed made millions of dollars this way. Just think about several million dollars… in 1875. And their grass roots party members did more than hand out bumper stickers, too: they hired street toughs tasked with cracking skulls and making sure the popular vote always “went Tammany’s way.” Now that’s some serious political persuasion.Voting DayThe final home of the organization was eventually built at 100 East 17th Street. This Colonial Revival building, finished in 1929 at 100 E. 17th St, housed the party machine at the height of its power. Jimmy Walker was mayor of the city at the time - though within a few years, he was forced out of office over corruption charges, paving the way for the election of “Anti-Machine Man” Fiorello LaGuardia in 1933 and Tammany’s fall from grace.Tammany Hall 2013You probably pass by mighty Tammany Hall everyday but now you only know it as the New York Film Academy, or La Soiree, or a pretty crappy liquor store and deli. It was finally landmarked by the city last week, ensuring that its fascinating legacy of patronage and corruption will remain for generations. Will Mayor Mike’s fountain soda bans and luxury condo legacy stand the test of time as well? We will have to wait and see.

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