Christian Conte

CityViews: Former NYC Mayor David Dinkins Discusses His Life & Legacy

April 05, 2018 - 5:00 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- David Norman Dinkins was elected as New York's 106th mayor in 1989. He stopped by CityViews to discuss his life and legacy as a New York politician.   

Dinkins launched the New York City "Safe Streets, Safe City" program to place more police officers on the streets, and sought to foster community involvement through the beacon initiative.

He told Sharon Barnes-Waters, "Crime was very high in those days, homicide was about 2,000 a year. We had a plan we called safe streets safe city.  Even today I will encounter on occasion a police officer who thank me saying you gave me my job."

As mayor, Dinkins was responsible for the establishment of numerous widely heralded cultural staples such as fashion week, restaurant week, and Broadway on Broadway. His administration initiated the revitalization of Times Square and secured an unprecedented deal to keep the US Open tennis championships in New York for the next 99 years.

"My opposition ridiculed the notion that I had, but we prevailed, we got it and it’s not just good for tennis fans, its good for the city," Dinkins said. "It generates more revenue into the economy of the city in the two weeks of the US Open than the Yankees, Mets, Knicks and Rangers combined."

When he became mayor, he brought in many people who worked with him when he was Manhattan borough president. 

"I had been borough president and I had wonderful, wonderful people work with me, women and men, bright young honest and many of these same people and others came with me into to City Hall. And so the reason why we got so much done was because we had a lot of good people. It was not I, I cannot say I did this and I did that. It's a "we" and a broad "we."

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, on July 10, 1927,  Dinkins was a long-time resident of Harlem and still resides in New York City with his wife, Joyce Burrows Dinkins. 

They have two children – David Jr. and Donna Dinkins Hoggard – and two grandchildren – Jamal Hoggard and Kalila Dinkins Hoggard.