William Marcy Tweed: ‘Boss’ of New York
William Marcy Tweed was a big man at 300 pounds, a charming, garrulous man whose personality matched his girth. He could disarm the most disagreeable person; few could resist his charms. And like most big men, Tweed had a big appetite, but his craving was not just for food; it was for money and power. In a span of just five years, Tweed amassed both and became the "boss" of New York. Born in 1823 in the tough section of Manhattan's Lower East Side, Tweed learned the way of the streets -- brawling, joining a gang and developing a fascination for the volunteer firemen of the city.