Frank Rizzo statue.

Frank Rizzo, Hero-Villain Mayor

Field review by the editors.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia's Frank Rizzo was a rough-edged, larger-than-life force on the city's political landscape for several decades -- a cop, police commissioner, and then 2-term mayor tough on crime in the 1970s. He was known for his sometimes ludicrous statements to the press, and famously failed a polygraph test after accusing another politician of lying. The headline of his New York Times obituary in 1991 called him "a 'Hero' and 'Villian'." You either loved or hated the guy.

Love apparently conquers all -- a giant bronze statue of Rizzo stands in front of the Municipal Services building near city hall, strutting down the plaza steps in his suit, hand raised to wave to fans (or wave off critics). Reminds us a bit of Dearborn, MI's Jaunty Racist Mayor statue.

Rizzo's statue, by sculptor Zenos Frudakis, is 10 ft. tall and was installed in 1999. The imposing figure shares the plaza with the large games pieces from another work, "Your Move."

An outdoor mural in Philadelphia's Italian Market connects him to that ethnic community, still proud of his legacy.

Frank Rizzo, Hero-Villain Mayor

Address:
1401 John F Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA
Directions:
NW of City Hall, along JFK Blvd between N 15th St. and N Broad St.
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October 21, 2014

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