David Dinkins, the only Black ever to serve as mayor of New York City, has died. He was 93.
Dinkins died Monday night at his Upper East Side home, police said. His death came just over a month after his wife of 67 years, Joyce, also died in their home at age 89.
Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio remembered Dinkins as “a truly great man.”
“David Dinkins simply set this city on a better path,” de Blasio tweeted Tuesday morning. “He was my mentor, he was my friend, and his steadfast commitment to fight for that ‘gorgeous mosaic’ inspires me every single day. We’ll keep up his fight.”
Dinkins began his public service career in 1966 as a member of the New York State Assembly. He served as president of the New York City Board of Elections and as city clerk for 10 years before his elections as president of the borough of Manhattan in 1985.
Four years later, he was elected as the 106th and first African American mayor of New York City, serving until 1993.
As mayor, Dinkins’ administration initiated the revitalization of Times Square, and his policies led to the establishment of numerous widely heralded cultural staples such as Fashion Week, Restaurant Week and Broadway on Broadway.
An avid tennis player who counted Arthur Ashe among his heroes, Dinkins secured an unprecedented deal to keep the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York for the next 99 years — an arrangement that reportedly generates more annually for the city than the Yankees, Mets, Knicks and Rangers combined.
“David was a historic mayor. He showed that a Black candidate can win biracial support in a citywide race,” said David Paterson, who was the first African-American governor of the Empire State from 2008 to 2010. “There’s a special appreciation for him. He tried very hard to be the mayor of all the people.”