The Nation: Patient Abe Beame Rises to the Top

Abraham David Beame once summed up his ambition to be mayor of New York City in one succinct sentence: "I would like to be La Guardia without the frills." Certainly there is nothing frilly about 67-year-old Beame, who in January will become the city's 104th mayor. About the only similarity between Beame and La Guardia (who was the city's fiery mayor from 1934 to 1945) is their height: 5 ft. 2 in. Where Mayor La Guardia was flamboyant, City Comptroller Beame is subdued. Where La Guardia dared, Beame usually waits. Where La Guardia was impatient, Beame is calculating and meticulous.

A patient...

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