Oscar Goodman famously had an office full of memorabilia, or, depending on the eye of the beholder, junk: a rubber horse head from the movie Casino; an glittery tricycle from Planet Hollywood, a silver flask and many bottles of gin; celebrity photos; movie posters with his head superimposed over the stars’ faces; a big red Ronald McDonald shoe; a rubber rat; dozens of Oscar bobbleheads; and most notably, an ornate wooden throne behind his desk.
Last week, some two months after his wife, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, moved into his erstwhile office on the 10th floor of City Hall, things looked a little different. It was spacious, welcoming and spare—but not without charm. On the wall across from her desk, a brightly colored painting by local artist Michael Wardle; on the credenza behind her desk, a pleasant assortment of framed family photos.
“I wanted the presence of him—we’re in our 50th year of marriage—and of our four children and six grandchildren,” she says, while signing photos of herself for local schools at the desk her husband occupied for 12 years. Her chair is not a throne—it’s a nice, normal office chair. “He wanted to bring [the throne] home, but I said, ‘We’ve spent 37 years in our home. And that’s not coming home.’” Some of his stuff was auctioned; some of it still sits in storage.
“I’m not Oscar,” she says, smiling. “But I love this city passionately.” This was clear when she asked me: “Are you born and raised here?” My general answer—No, but I love it—seemed to do the trick. In no time, she was up from her desk explaining what she saw in Wardle’s art (koi, mostly) and talking about the plant that’s stood in the corner for 10 years. Then, finally, the piéce de résistance—the prized picture still hanging above the commode in the executive bathroom: Oscar’s head photoshopped onto a baby’s body.
Indeed, it’s a newborn era, but you get the feeling there’s always going to be a little Oscar here.