Somehow, Mayor LaGuardia had returned from the dead, and the public was ecstatic. A holiday was declared, the streets overflowed with parades, and city officials canceled all appointments in order to escort the beloved personage on a tour of contemporary New York.

The group of dignitaries first descended on Museum Row. As the diminutive ex-mayor and his entourage crossed Fifth Avenue, they were met by a large delegation of museum directors and curators, all ceremoniously dressed in their designer suits. Their spokesperson, representing the Metropolitan Museum of Art, welcomed LaGuardia back and explained that a special, gargantuan exhibition had been set up in his honor to showcase the finest specimens of artistic magnificence that had been collected in Manhattan’s museums in the decades since his death.

At midday the tour passed through the Theater District. As the beaming little man gazed up at dazzling marquees celebrating his own return, he was greeted by a small party of theater owners in gala attire. Their leader presented LaGuardia with a thick, full-color book which catalogued all the Broadway hits of the past fifty years. “Pick anything you’d like to see, Mayor, and we’ll assemble a cast and revive it for you tonight,” he offered eagerly.

By late afternoon LaGuardia and his companions found themselves on the Lower East Side. As they briskly turned a corner into the Garment District, they were approached by a lone, wizened tailor in rolled-up shirt sleeves. “Ah yes,” murmured an alderman, “this must be the president of the Garment District Chamber of Commerce, here to make a presentation to Mayor LaGuardia.”

The tailor hastened to intercept the dignitaries as they crossed the street, waving his measuring tape excitedly and pointing at LaGuardia with his chalk.

Soon the tailor was close enough to speak to the mayor, and he appeared to be trembling with excitement at the prospect. He coughed, wiped his brow, and then finally addressed the local hero:

“I can’t possibly fit you.”

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Copyright © Jonathan Caws-Elwitt. This page revised February 13, 2009.