The punchiest Daily News headline ever

Okay, so it lacks the cadence of The Post‘s 1983 masterpiece “Headless Body in Topless Bar.” But this Daily News gem, from the October 30, 1975 edition of the paper, more than makes up for it in punch and bluntness.

FordtocityheadlineOf course, Ford didn’t actually tell the city to drop dead. New York City in the 1970s was broke, and city lawmakers were desperate for Federal funds to keep services going. On October 29, Ford gave a speech denying the city a bailout.

It was more of a tough-love move to get the city to stop its out-of-control spending than an outright no. And a few months later, Ford did sign off on loans to keep New York from going bankrupt. 

But the immortal headline cast Ford as a villian. In an interview years later, he said that he felt it cost him the presidency in 1976.

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8 Responses to “The punchiest Daily News headline ever”

  1. Force Tube Avenue Says:

    Those were rough days for the city. I was a NYC resident in exile at a college in Pa; I remember some of the suburban NJ students cut the headline out, putting it on their dorm room door.

    Even though NYC was a lot like what you’d see in Scorcese’s “Taxi Driver”, I could not imagine being anywhere else.

  2. Thomas Jefferson Says:

    LOL cost him the election? That’s rich! Pardoning Nixon is what cost him the election. Ah the evil in people’s minds and how the live with them.

  3. petey Says:

    this led to parodies; i remember one in the village voice, “gornick to men: drop dead” (feminist vivian gornick)

  4. Boris Suchkov Says:

    He did all the presidents after him a big favor- he said what they thought so they didn’t have to say it themselves. Federal government policy since the 1950’s has generally been “cities, drop dead.”

    It’s tough for me to imagine that there has been “out-of-control spending” in the 70’s. Maybe it just seemed that way, because population outflow made spending per resident go up. And I doubt the unions had the sweetheart deals they have today, or their members’ life expectancies were as long as today (so they could take advantage of their pensions). But I was born in 1983, so I could be wrong.

  5. oscar Says:

    i love how Dow down 12 = “Stocks Skid” 🙂

  6. Nabe News: November 2 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    […] look back at the famous Daily News headline from October 30, 1975 – Ford to City: Drop Dead [Ephemeral […]

  7. john Says:

    my favorite on the whole page: ‘stocks skid–dow down 12’.

    that’s twelve. twelve points was considered quite a lot back then.

    it’s been a weird 35 years…

  8. Braniff Says:

    President’s Ford initial refusal to grant New York a bailout should be a lesson for many of today’s political leaders. He had the courage to deny the bailout and force the city to make choices. So he lost the election, but Ford proved himself to be a courageous leader. We need more courageous leadership-more tough love–nowadays.

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