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Rudy, Nixon, and the Toilets at Yankee Stadium


Traveling over the last few days, I’ve only just caught up with the Corner. May I add a note to the Giuliani versus Nixon thread?


Richard Nixon gave us a rich profusion of federal bureaucrats and regulations, creating, to note just one of innumerable items, OHSA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Below, Rudy Giuliani on such bureaucrats and regulations. (The passage, which is drawn from an interview I conducted with Rudy while he was still mayor of New York City, comes from It’s My Party, a book I published in 2000. Used copies, I burst with pride to note, now command a penny apiece.)


As I was about to leave his office, Mayor Giuliani said there was something he wanted me to see. He stood, walked to his desk, riffled among some papers for a moment, then found what he wanted and picked it up. He showed me a bound report. “This is hilarious,” Giuliani said. “You’ll love it.”


The federal government, he explained, had just conducted a study of Yankee Stadium, checking it for accessibility to the disabled. The inspectors had found some three thousand instances in which Yankee Stadium failed to meet federal standards.


“Listen to this stuff,” Giuliani said. He read one item after another.


The path of travel out of the Yankee dugout was accessible only by steps, not a ramp, making it impossible to get a wheelchair onto the field. The dressing bench in the Yankee locker room was forty-five inches long by sixteen inches deep instead of the required forty-eight inches long by twenty-four inches deep. The toilets in the locker room had a seat height of sixteen inches, one inch below the required seventeen inches. The spout of the drinking fountain in the weight room was forty-two inches off the floor instead of the required thirty-six inches.


“The urinals are too high,” Giuliani continued, laughing. “The toilet paper dispenser is incorrectly mounted on the back wall of the toilet. Do you believe anybody does this? I mean, people get paid to do this.”


Giuliani tossed the report back onto the desk.


“The federal government sent people here from Washington to do this. This is the stupidity they use. They are pointy-headed stupid morons. This is ridiculous! This is ridiculous!”


Rudy Giuliani, a second Richard Nixon? This is ridiculous.


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