Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #54

Boss Tweed (1823 – 1878)

54 Boss Tweed

One of the most monumental personalities in the history of American politics, William Magear Tweed was also one of the most corrupt. Over the course of his career running the Tammany Hall Democratic political machine, Tweed is believed to have bilked the taxpayers of New York for over $200 million (and that’s in 1870 dollars!). Seen by some as a defender of immigrant rights and helper of the needy, Tweed and his “ring” were very popular among the voters, but had a finger in every pie in town, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the courthouse building that still bears his name. He was eventually tried and convicted for larceny and forgery in 1873. He fled to Spain where a local policeman recognized him from a scathing political cartoon. Extradited back to New York, Tweed died in Ludlow Street Jail… which he had built.



  1. The courthouse that “still bears his name” is actually the New York County Courthouse. The Tweed Courthouse is technically just a nickname, although everyone and their mother calls it that.

  2. Marc

    Buried in brooklyn’s greenwood cemetery.

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