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Grover Aloysius Whalen
Birth: Jun. 2, 1886
Manhattan
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Death: Apr. 20, 1962
Manhattan
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

Politician, Businessman. The son of an Irish immigrant father and a French-Canadian mother, he received his first name in honor of being born on the wedding day of US President, Grover Cleveland (the only US President to be married in the White House). After a short career running his father's ash and garbage hauling business, he became interested in public affairs and worked for the election of John F. Hyland as New York City mayor. Hyland won and appointed Whalen as his Secretary. He was soon heading the city's Welcoming Committee and, in this capacity, is credited with originating the ticker tape parade by organizing a city-wide event welcoming the World War I doughboys back to the United States. With Hyland's defeat in the next election, Whalen retired from politics and became General Manager of New York City's John Wanamaker department store. However, the new Mayor, James J. Walker appointed him Police Commissioner in 1928. He became known not only as a ruthless enforcer of Prohibition laws, but also for his public image. His impeccably groomed mustache, homburg hat and always a fresh flower in his lapel, earned him the nickname "The Gardenia of the Law". He developed the city's traffic system still in use today and the police academy, but his chief law enforcement accomplishment may have been changing the public's idea of the romantic outlaw lifestyle and making the police the true heroes. His most famous quote of the time is "There is plenty of law at the end of a nightstick." Mayor Walker, never one to share the spotlight, tired of Whalen's public acclaim and dismissed him in 1930. He continued to hold high positions in private business as chairman of Schenley Distillery and Coty, Inc. and public positions as head of the New York branch of the National Recovery Administration (part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal"). He was also chosen to run against incumbent Fiorello LaGuardia for Mayor, but withdrew in favor of a stronger candidate. Eventually LaGuardia appointed him the city's Official Greeter. Through 1953, he welcomed celebrities and world leaders to New York City including Charles Lindbergh, Winston Churchill, General Douglas MacArthur and Charles de Gaulle. In 1935 he became president of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair Corporation and worked tirelessly to convince businesses and foreign governments to be represented at the Fair. Time magazine featured him on their May 1, 1939 cover with President Roosevelt declaring, "Grover is the best salesman in the world." But despite his best marketing efforts, the Fair cost $150,000,000, paying investors only 40 cents on the dollar and although he remained president of the Fair Corporation, he was replaced as Chairman of the Board and Business Manager at the Fair's conclusion. The man known as "Mister New York" lived the rest of his life in private business, while still making numerous public appearances, saying, "I'm in love with this city, but it needs promoting, always has." From his apartment balcony, less than 2 months before his death, he watched the motorcade take astronaut John Glenn to his official city ticker tape parade saying, "I thrill over every parade. All parades are wonderful!" He died of a stroke at age 75. (bio by: TomDuse) 
 
Burial:
Calvary Cemetery
Woodside
Queens County
New York, USA
Plot: Section 9
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: TomDuse
Record added: Jul 16, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39498064
Grover Aloysius Whalen
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Grover Aloysius Whalen
Added by: TomDuse
 
Grover Aloysius Whalen
Added by: TomDuse
 
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Official Greeter of the City of New YorkPresident of the 1939-40 New York World's Fair Corporation
-Anonymous
 Added: Sep. 8, 2013

- Tracey Reid
 Added: Apr. 20, 2012

- katzizkidz
 Added: Jul. 20, 2009
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