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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

When he is in Jersey City the Mayor is the hardest man in town to find, though John Malone, deputy mayor, and Frank Eggers, his nephew and secretary, usually know where he is. The last place he will be found is in his magnificent office in the dirty and ramshackle City Hall; if he goes there at all he goes in a back door after the building has been closed for the day. He has another office in a sort of penthouse over one of the police stations, and another at a firehouse not far from his home. What comes closest to being his real headquarters is an office in the Medical Center. An ordinary citizen, seeking an interview, would find it harder to get an audience with Mayor Hague than he would with the Pope.

But when Mayor Hague wants to talk with someone, all the machinery of the city government moves at his will. He governs by telephone, whether he is in Jersey City, Palm Beach, Paris, or Honolulu. He is in daily, often hourly, touch with his office in City Hall. John Malone will say, `I talked to the Mayor this morning in Miami; he says --' or, `The Mayor called from Chicago; he wants --' Many a taxpayer wonders who pays those telephone bills. No letter of Mayor Hague's has ever been published to embarrass him, because he does not write: he telephones. A telephone call not only leaves no record but it has no witnesses. He may look like a banker and dress like a floorwalker, but his language is the language of the Horseshoe. Unlike Al Smith, who, while he retained some of the accent of the East side, yet learned his way about in the English language, Mayor Hague has neither lost his accent nor corrected his grammar. An associate of his insists that he has improved – You should have heard him twenty years ago' – but the improvement cannot possibly have been great.


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Hudson County Facts by Anthony Olszewski
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