We came across this photo, which is obviously that of a proclamation being presented by former Queens Borough President Donald Manes to a member of the clergy and a member of one of the city’s service organizations, but we’re not sure who or which one. Anyone out there have any clues about this undated photo for us? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A little background…
Manes served as borough president of Queens from 1971 to 1986, and if you don’t know his story it’s a pretty fascinating fall from grace.
Elected at age 37, the Brooklyn-born Manes was the youngest borough president in Queens history. He redefined the post, turning it from a largely ceremonial position into a fiercely political one, albeit with the aide of kickbacks and the financial pressure the office could wield thanks to a generous budget.
All the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing finally caught up with Manes when he was implicated in an elaborate scheme to grant a lucrative cable contract in the borough to a company from outside Queens.
Once the feds started investigating the deal, Manes became despondent, and was found in his car on Queens Boulevard with his wrists slit. He originally told officers he had been carjacked, but later admitted he tried to commit suicide.
A few months later, on March 13, 1986, while on the phone with his psychiatrist, Manes plunged a knife into his chest and died.
His story is a fascinating one reflecting the toll that a life in politics – particularly when you flirt with what is legal and what is not - can take on a person. If you don’t feel like reading about it yourself, just track down the pilot episode of Law & Order, which was loosely based on Manes’ life.
But this photo was obviously a record of the more ceremonial responsibilities that come with the job of borough president. If you think you can help us fill in the details, get in touch.