Gottehrer, Barry H. 1935–2008

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Gottehrer, Barry H. 1935–2008


See index for CA sketch: Born January 25, 1935, in New York, NY; died of pancreatic cancer, April 11, 2008, near Wilmington, NC. Journalist, political aide, educator, business executive, consultant, and author. Gottehrer was not widely recognized outside his hometown, but he was a familiar figure in the streets of New York City during the tenure of Mayor John Lindsay in the 1960s. As aide to the mayor, he dashed from one urban crisis to another, averting negative headlines when he could, or mediating confrontations and defusing social tensions after the headlines broke. Gottehrer organized the city's Urban Action Task Forces to handle local neighborhood issues by almost any means necessary. He was not above meeting with representatives of organized crime, negotiating with gang leaders, or engaging in conversations with militant activists and anarchists. Lindsay had been elected as a liberal Republican with progressive leanings, and there were supporters who criticized Gottehrer's eclectic approach to urban diplomacy, but his patience, mild appearance, and calm demeanor prevailed. His city, troubled as it was in an era marked by social unrest, did not erupt into violence or flames. Gottehrer began his career as a reporter and editor for national magazines like Sport and Newsweek. It was a series on "New York City in Crisis" that he wrote for the New York Herald Tribune (later published in book form) that attracted the attention of Lindsay's campaign staff. By the end of the turbulent decade, Gottehrer reportedly felt that his diplomacy was no longer needed, and he retreated to academia to lecture at Columbia University. He also accepted a management position at Madison Square Garden and finally retired as a consultant. Nonetheless, it was his years on the streets of New York City that marked the apex of his career. During his years as a journalist, Gottehrer published a few books on sports topics. He was better known, however, as the editor of the book New York City in Crisis (1965) and the author of the memoir The Mayor's Man (1975).



Gottehrer, Barry H., The Mayor's Man, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1975.


New York Times, April 13, 2008, p. A24.