Sheinkopf Speaks: The magic behind 100

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Hank Sheinkopf

The number 100. It’s an age many hope they hope they get to before they hit the end of the road and it’s the per cent wishful thinkers look to make on any investment legal or otherwise.

One hundred has a special feel. Children, students want to see a one followed by 2 zeros at the top of a test paper with the words excellent work after it. 

For a hundred bucks you might be able to buy a dinner for two with a drink on a Saturday night–but not in Manhattan. And a con artist keeps the 100 dollar bill on the outside of his thick one dollar bill wad. 

In politics, 100 is how we count days. Especially, the first 100 days of any newly elected public official tenure. Where’d this come from? FDR. He wanted to show action to a nation buried in economic depression and the hopelessness that follows when you see the guy who used to spend like there was no tomorrow suddenly standing on the corner with his palm up.

The stock market had failed the most hardy of capitalist economic system believers a bit more than three years before. And you couldn’t get a legal drink to block it all out. It was prohibition. Fortunes were made smuggling whiskey across the border by people who’d make you believe a century later that their family names today sound like they wear dinner jackets and cuff-linked shirts to bed at night. They were just plain old crooks then.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt lifted national gloom. He talked to the nation on the new medium, radio. He got prohibition repealed. In the first 100 days of his administration he came up with initiative after initiative to have the nation believe we could, would survive.  It would be tough but, well, we were Americans.

So we now ninety years later, we watch Mayor Eric Adams. Soon he will finish his first 100 days. Reporters will look and say so, Mister Mayor, what’cha been up to?

Start by giving Hizzoner credit for keeping the place open. Two years of the virus, homeless villages in our massive subway system, and 8 years of chaotic social policy wrapped in bloated budgets, an exodus of those we can least afford to lose and you got some of what the former police captain, state senator, borough president and now Chief Magistrate of the nation’s largest city chose to get involved with. 

In 100 days, you can’t cure crime waves, a 70 per cent hotel worker lay-off, a capital budget left unfunded, and a city whose memories include refrigerator trucks holding the bodies of  those who had been killed by a bug no one understood.

FDR had the radio. Adams has himself, his energy, and his blue collar life story to share with all of us who refuse to leave, who won’t give up.

How does Mayor Eric Adams measure up? He’s made a few errors, sure. But mayors learn by doing. All the pundits will tell you how it ought to be. The press corps will do its job: examine, observe, report. 

You, me? The people in the refrigerator trucks won’t be returning. The moving vans might not stop showing up for a while. We owe the guy with the swagger some time. He fails? We all fail.