View Full Version : "City That Works" and Frank Maier

Thomas Lee
09-05-2009, 11:00 PM
Thanks for giving Frank Maier the credit he deserves for coining the term "city that works."

Frank was the Chicago bureau chief of Newsweek magazine, and he was a wonderful person. He was one of the first liver transplants, and he managed to survive five years or so with his new liver. He died of a virus on December 31, 1990, with his family at his home in Arlington Heights, Illinois. His story is told in "Sweet Reprieve," (Crown, 1991) which he wrote with his wife, Ginny.

I knew Frank, and in a lunch conversation in the mid-1980s he told me all about the Newsweek cover story for which he coined the term "city that works." He was a humble gentleman, but not so humble he didn't want people to know he came up with that classic phrase.

One other anecdote about Frank: Ever the prankster, he used to invite guests to his Newsweek office overlooking Grant Park on a high floor of the Amoco (now Aon) Building in downtown Chicago. He would always suggest they arrive in mid-morning, unbeknownst to them an hour or so before the Buckingham Fountain was turned on. As his guests enjoyed the view from his window, Frank would suddenly "notice" with alarm that the fountain still wasn't on. He would pick up the telephone, pretend to dial the parks superintendent, and yell into the phone demanding that the fountain be turned on immediately. Presto, a few minutes later, albeit precisely on the hour, the fountain would magically come alive.

Frank was a terrific guy. Anyone who knew him still misses him.

09-05-2009, 11:31 PM

Hi Thomas, and on behalf of The Perfect Master, thanks for the comment.

Since the column in question (http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc20090903.php) was in Straight Dope Chicago, I'm moving this over to Questions, Comments for SD Chicago Columns.

No problem at all. Thanks for enjoying the new section and please pass along our new site to your friends.

Rico, SDMB Moderator


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