New York Named America’s Most Corrupt City, Again

In the intricate maze of American urban landscapes, one name resonates with a particular aura—a name whispered in clandestine tones, a name synonymous with political machinations and clandestine dealings. That name? New York. For six out of the past seven years, it has worn the ignominious crown of America’s Most Corrupt City. But how did the Big Apple earn this dubious distinction?

The Corrupt Tapestry

New York’s corruption tapestry is woven from threads of ambition, power, and secrecy. Here’s a glimpse into its dark folds:

  1. The Unholy Nexus

Albany, the state capital, lies distant from the bustling streets of Manhattan but harbors a culture steeped in self-interest. Private gains intertwine seamlessly with public policy, fostering a fertile ground for corruption.

Leaders in Chains: New York’s political elite has courted controversy. Senate majority leaders, assembly speakers—they’ve all faced criminal charges. Dean Skelos, Sheldon Silver, Thomas Libous—their names reverberate through courtrooms and headlines.

  1. The Fish in the Waters

Low Dealings: Recall Lincoln’s characters who resorted to low dealings to pass the anti-slavery amendment? They hailed from Albany. The same waters that nourished their schemes now churn with corruption.

Insularity Breeds Contempt: Albany’s insularity fuels its corruption. Sheltered from the media spotlight, it incubates a toxic brew of self-interest and clandestine dealings.

  1. The Unyielding Tide

Indictments Galore: Give any U.S. attorney a year and a handful of FBI agents, and they’ll return from Albany with a passel of indictments. More than two dozen legislators have fallen—indicted or resigned in disgrace.

Legacy of Big Fish: Dan Walker, one of four Illinois governors to end up in prison, was cut from the same cloth as Albany’s schemers. New York’s waters have long teemed with potentially big fish.

Some Examples of Corruption in New York City

New York City, a bustling metropolis of ambition and intrigue, has a storied history of corruption. Let’s delve into some notorious examples that have left an indelible mark on the city’s reputation:

  1. The Knapp Commission (1970s)

The Knapp Commission exposed the underbelly of the NYPD. Officers divided into two categories: “meat-eaters” (those aggressively misusing their powers for personal gain) and “grass-eaters” (those accepting payoffs opportunistically). Frank Serpico, the “hippie cop,” blew the whistle on widespread corruption, leading to reforms and a tarnished legacy.

  1. The 77th Precinct “Buddy Boys” (1986)

Brooklyn’s 77th Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant resembled the Wild West. Officers stole from the dead, pocketed drug bust cash, and even created their own crime scenes. The radio signal “Buddy Bob” signaled raids—sometimes just to steal cash. Henry Winter’s mysterious death added to the precinct’s infamy.

  1. Public Housing Corruption Scandal (2018)

Federal prosecutors charged 70 current and former employees of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in a single-day record for the Department of Justice. Bribery and corruption ran rampant, affecting more than a third of the city’s public housing buildings.

  1. Political Scandals and Pay-to-Play

Throughout history, New York’s political landscape has seen its share of scandals. From Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall in the 19th century to more recent cases involving Carmine DeSapio, Henry Fried, and Mafia figures, corruption has woven itself into the fabric of city politics.


As the sun sets over the Hudson River, New York’s skyline glimmers with both promise and shadow. Corruption, like ivy, clings to its pillars of power. Yet, perhaps redemption lies in acknowledging the rot, in seeking transparency, and in the collective will to cleanse the tarnished legacy. For now, New York remains the city where ambition and avarice dance a dangerous tango.

Leave a Comment