The 5 Best Big-City Mayors

They rule over tough territory, yet offer strong examples of how cities can be efficient and livable

The best mayors in U.S. history have been great characters--showmen and radicals and bullies and rebels. Then again, so have the worst. Fiorello LaGuardia, who ruled New York from 1934 to '45, besides reforming and rebuilding his city, was famous for smashing slot machines with a sledgehammer and reading the comics to children over the radio during a newspaper strike. On the other hand, Chicago's William (Big Bill) Thompson, first elected in 1915, kept a picture of his good buddy Al Capone on his office wall and once conducted a debate between himself and two white rats, which he placed onstage...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!