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John Purroy Mitchel, Boy Mayor of New York.

Monument to NYC Mayor Who Fell Out of a Plane

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

Known as "The Boy Mayor of New York," John Purroy Mitchel was New York City's youngest-ever mayor, elected to office when he was only 34. Historians praise him for his efforts to fight corruption, but Mitchel was also a bit of a bigot (he denounced America's Germans, Irish, and Jews as unpatriotic), and the voters of NYC thought so little of him that he couldn't even win his own party's primary for a second term.

Mitchel died in July 1918, less than six months after he left office. He was training to join the Army Air Corp in World War I when he fell 500 feet out of his biplane after apparently forgetting to wear his seat belt. He was 38 years old.

Feeling guilty, NYC held a lavish funeral for Mitchel. There was a flyover by 20 biplanes (No pilots fell out). Pallbearers included sickly former President Teddy Roosevelt, who would be dead himself in less than six months. And the city erected a memorial to Mitchel. It wasn't placed anywhere near city hall, but in Central Park, next to the reservoir, with the excuse that Mitchel was the mayor who presided over the opening of the city's first water tunnel.

Mitchel's gilded bronze head was sculpted by Adolph Weinman, the same guy who designed the Mercury dime and Walking Liberty half-dollar.

Also see: Sky Kings

Monument to NYC Mayor Who Fell Out of a Plane

Park Drive N. and E. 90th St., New York, NY
Monument is built into the side of the Reservoir, a half-block west into Central Park, facing east toward 90th St. By subway: #4, 5, or 6 trains to 86th St. in Manhattan. Walk three blocks west to Central Park, then four blocks north.
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