Fun City

John Lindsay, Joe Namath, and How Sports Saved New York in the 1960s

LIST PRICE $24.99

About The Book

On January 1, 1966, New York came to a standstill as the city’s transit workers went on strike. This was the first day on the job for Mayor John Lindsay—a handsome, young former congressman with presidential aspirations—and he would approach the issue with an unconventional outlook that would be his hallmark. He ignored the cold and walked four miles, famously declaring, “I still think it is a fun city.”

As profound social, racial, and cultural change sank the city into repeated crises, critics lampooned Lindsay’s “fun city.” Yet for all the hard times the city endured during and after his tenure as mayor, there was indeed fun to be had. Against this backdrop, too, the sporting scene saw tremendous upheaval.

On one hand, the venerable Yankees—who had won 15 pennants in an 18-year span before 1965—and the NFL’s powerhouse Giants suddenly went into a level of decline neither had known for generations, as stars like Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford on the diamond and Y.A. Tittle on the gridiron aged quickly. But on the other, the fall of the city’s sports behemoths was accompanied by the rise of anti-establishment outsiders—there were Joe Namath and the Jets, as well as the shocking triumph of the Amazin’ Mets, who won the 1969 World Series after spending the franchise’s first eight seasons in the cellar. Meanwhile, the city’s two overlooked franchises, the Knicks and Rangers, also had breakthroughs, bringing new life to Madison Square Garden.

The overlap of these two worlds in the 1960s—Lindsay’s politics and the reemerging sports landscape—serves as the backbone of Fun City. In the vein of Ladies and Gentlemen: The Bronx is Burning, the book tells the story of a remarkable and thrilling time in New York sports against the backdrop of a remarkable and often difficult time for the city, culturally and socially.

The late sixties was an era in which New York toughened up in a lot of ways; it also was an era in which a changing of the guard among New York pro teams led the way in making it a truly fun city.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Sports Publishing imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in sports—books about baseball, pro football, college football, pro and college basketball, hockey, or soccer, we have a book about your sport or your team.

Whether you are a New York Yankees fan or hail from Red Sox nation; whether you are a die-hard Green Bay Packers or Dallas Cowboys fan; whether you root for the Kentucky Wildcats, Louisville Cardinals, UCLA Bruins, or Kansas Jayhawks; whether you route for the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, or Los Angeles Kings; we have a book for you. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to publishing books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked by other publishers and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

About The Author

Sean Deveney has been a writer and editor at Sporting News since 1999, covering all aspects of sports. He has authored four books, including The Original Curse, Facing Ted Williams, and Before Wrigley Became Wrigley.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Sports Publishing (October 6, 2015)
  • Length: 376 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781613218150

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Raves and Reviews

“Rollicking…Led by the hedonistic slinger Joe Namath, the Jets shocked the football world with their Super Bowl III upset of the Baltimore Colts in 1969. That autumn, the once-risible Mets won the World Series. The Knicks capped off one of the greatest sports seasons any city had ever enjoyed when they took the N.B.A. title the following spring.” --New York Times Book Review

“Sean Deveney . . . recaptures the era’s lunatic euphoria and unpredictable political impact in Fun City.” --New York Times

“This impressively researched history serves as a vivid portrait of the two men’s valiant, if fruitless, quest for greatness in a perpetually unforgiving city.”—Publishers Weekly

“Vividly chronicling the social, racial, and political upheaval of New York City in the 1960s, Deveney . . . traces the intersecting rise of the Jets (football), Mets (baseball), and the Knicks (basketball) over New York’s “establishment” teams: the Giants (football) and the Yankees (baseball). . . . This dense, objective, unflinching, and thorough narrative doesn’t just paint a picture of New York in the 1960s. The work is steeped in the headlines. . . . [F]ans of New York sports teams will feel viscerally transported.” –Library Journal

“Deveney combines his two big subjects neatly. . . . [T]here is plenty here of interest to sports fans and followers of urban politics.” -Booklist

"Sean Deveney deftly details the fan euphoria related to the emergence of first-time world champions against the backdrop of tumultuous events that affected all New Yorkers."—Jeff Miller, author of Going Long: The Wild Ten Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those Who Lived It

"Fun City is a rollicking, insightful look back at an incredible time in New York history. From Joe Namath to John Lindsay, Mickey Mantle to Muhammad Ali and all the Amazin' Mets, here is a story that will entertain and astonish you, even if you lived through it."—Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd

"I remember New York in the late 1960s and early 1970--a dreamland of seediness, magnificent in its plunge toward the abyss. Somehow against all odds its professional teams conjured magic. Long-haired Joe Namath, wounded Willis Reed, and their gangs of Jets and Knicks captured the soul of the times. It could have happened only in New York. Sean Deveney recaptures the moment in vivid detail. I felt younger again just reading Fun City."—Randy Roberts, co-author of Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter

“Looking for a good pool/beach book? Fun City . . . [is] about the roiling stew of 1960s NYC politics (emphasis on John Lindsay), mixed with the radical changes in the city’s sports scene (emphasis on Sonny Werblin’s Jets and Joe Namath).”—Phil Mushnick, New York Post

“Rollicking…Led by the hedonistic slinger Joe Namath, the Jets shocked the football world with their Super Bowl III upset of the Baltimore Colts in 1969. That autumn, the once-risible Mets won the World Series. The Knicks capped off one of the greatest sports seasons any city had ever enjoyed when they took the N.B.A. title the following spring.” --New York Times Book Review

“Sean Deveney . . . recaptures the era’s lunatic euphoria and unpredictable political impact in Fun City.” --New York Times

“This impressively researched history serves as a vivid portrait of the two men’s valiant, if fruitless, quest for greatness in a perpetually unforgiving city.”—Publishers Weekly

“Vividly chronicling the social, racial, and political upheaval of New York City in the 1960s, Deveney . . . traces the intersecting rise of the Jets (football), Mets (baseball), and the Knicks (basketball) over New York’s “establishment” teams: the Giants (football) and the Yankees (baseball). . . . This dense, objective, unflinching, and thorough narrative doesn’t just paint a picture of New York in the 1960s. The work is steeped in the headlines. . . . [F]ans of New York sports teams will feel viscerally transported.” –Library Journal

“Deveney combines his two big subjects neatly. . . . [T]here is plenty here of interest to sports fans and followers of urban politics.” -Booklist

"Sean Deveney deftly details the fan euphoria related to the emergence of first-time world champions against the backdrop of tumultuous events that affected all New Yorkers."—Jeff Miller, author of Going Long: The Wild Ten Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League in the Words of Those Who Lived It

"Fun City is a rollicking, insightful look back at an incredible time in New York history. From Joe Namath to John Lindsay, Mickey Mantle to Muhammad Ali and all the Amazin' Mets, here is a story that will entertain and astonish you, even if you lived through it."—Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd

"I remember New York in the late 1960s and early 1970--a dreamland of seediness, magnificent in its plunge toward the abyss. Somehow against all odds its professional teams conjured magic. Long-haired Joe Namath, wounded Willis Reed, and their gangs of Jets and Knicks captured the soul of the times. It could have happened only in New York. Sean Deveney recaptures the moment in vivid detail. I felt younger again just reading Fun City."—Randy Roberts, co-author of Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter

“Looking for a good pool/beach book? Fun City . . . [is] about the roiling stew of 1960s NYC politics (emphasis on John Lindsay), mixed with the radical changes in the city’s sports scene (emphasis on Sonny Werblin’s Jets and Joe Namath).”—Phil Mushnick, New York Post

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