Man Mails Dozens of Letters to Mayor Bill De Blasio, Who Replies 3 Years Later

The Tribeca resident wrote to the mayor asking him to rename a public building after the city's first black police commissioner

Wallace Cheatham had one request, so he got out his typewriter and fired off a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio. 

Eventually, he sent two dozen letters, all of which went without a single response — until the phone rang Wednesday night.

"The voice said 'This is Bill de Blasio'," he said. "I thought someone was playing a joke."

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After three years, de Blasio responded to Cheatham's request to name a public building for the city's first black police commissioner Benjamin Ward. The New York Times first ran a story about his one-sided correspondence Wednesday morning.

He says the mayor apologized and that his team let him down. If anything was let down, it's the notion of civic duty and a mayor's connection to the public he serves, the Tribeca resident said.

It's an old notion about how public service should work, expressed in an old fashioned way. In truth, he built his obsession with each stroke.

"It became a bigger deal than the reason I was writing," Cheatham said. "[The mayor] said he would look into it...I'll stay on it until I'm satisfied."

You can say he's not the "type" to let it go.

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