A Newark Man Meets the Mayors

by Jack Keegan


In my years in the Radio and Television Industry I have met many famous and important people. Here's my take on three great Mayors.

Robert Briscoe Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland.

When I met him he was to be Grand Marshall of the New York Saint Patrick's Day Parade in 1956. Robert Briscoe , son of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants. Robert Briscoe (1894-1969) was born on September 25, 1894 in the family home on Lower Beechwood Avenue in Ranelagh, Dublin and was reared in an apartment above his father’s business, Lawlor Briscoe, on Lower Ormond Quay in the city.

He was a courier for the Old IRA during the War of Independence. His fluency in German, and his business contacts in that country, were considered a considerable advantage by both Mellows and Michael Collins who ordered him to go to Germany to obtain armaments to ship back to Ireland. Purchasing a number of boats several arms shipments evaded the British naval patrols. Briscoe’s religion was of considerable advantage here as the British did not suspect that a Jew would be a member of the IRA. Briscoe was adamant that being a "Hebrew" did not lessen his Irishness.

In 1956 he was elected Lord Mayor of Dublin , becoming the first Jew to hold this office. His tour to America the following St. Patrick’s Day was extremely successful and he persuaded many industrialists to set up factories in Ireland.

It was amazing to hear a Jew speak with a melodious Irish brogue.

My next Mayor

I was waiting near the elevators in the Studio Building when a man emerged who seemed a bit confused. I went over to him and said," Mr. Mayor may I help you"? He looked at me with some trepidation and asked how I knew who he was. I replayed that I had covered a number of games at Fenway Park, had seen him in the stands and had seen his pictures in the Boston papers. He explained that he was to be interviewed in one of our TV studios. I said follow me and led him to place that he requested. He was the well known Mayor of Boston , Mass. Raymond Flynn who had just been appointed Ambassador to The Vatican by President William Clinton. Small world.

Next but not the least

Ed Koch

It was during one of those drought years that I was assigned to the studio that Mayor Koch was being interviewed in, about what people should do during the drought.

He explained that they all should report water main leaks. Fire hydrants should only be used to cool people with city approved sprinkler caps to conserve water. It was very important to save water. Short Showers are to be taken.

He was then asked what to do about flushing commodes during the crisis, his famous answer was "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's Brown flush it down." Only in America, our own Ed Koch.


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