Mayor Jimmy Walker Can’t Get To Switzerland – So The Swiss Cheese Comes To Him – 1927
Mayor Walker Gets The Cheese
New York City – Although Mayor Walker was unable to visit Switzerland during his recent rip abroad, the greeting of the Swiss people was brought to him today, along with a 168 pound loaf of Switzerland cheese, the gift of H. Lindt, Staat-Presidente of the city of Berne. The gigantic loaf of cheese, which measures three feet in diameter and is larger than the wheel of a motor truck, was presented by Robert J.F. Schwarzenbach, the Swiss General Consul here. It is the first loaf to bear the imprint of Switzerland, the new name recently decided upon to distinguish the Swiss product from the holed type of cheese now being made in many countries.
Photo shows the presentation – Charles Koch and Paul Zulling, in native Swiss costume and left to right – Consul-General Schwarzenbach, Mayor Walker and James Byrne, Borough President of Brooklyn. Photo: Wide World Photos, 10-24-27
A Swiss Surprise
The cheese was originally to be given to the mayor at a banquet in Berne, Switzerland during Walker’s European trip. The gift was for the high regard the Swiss felt for the mayor and the people of New York. As the news slug mentions, Walker never got to visit Switzerland.
Upon seeing the gigantic cheese Mayor Walker half joked to his bodyguards Lieutenants Thomas O’Connor and John Howard, “Hurry up and get me a cracker.” They scattered to search for a cracker.
Walker was not expecting the gift and hastily called in newsmen to snap impromptu photographs.
The man not identified in the photograph standing behind Walker is Isaac J. Curwen, Mayor of Lancaster, England. Curwen was on a tight schedule, waiting anxiously in a corridor to meet Mayor Walker before departing by rail to visit Lancaster, PA.. Walker insisted that Curwen come in the room immediately to meet him and pose with the cheese.
Before snapping this photo Walker also spotted Brooklyn Borough President James Byrne in a corner watching the ceremony. Displaying his offbeat sense of humor, Walker called to Byrne, “You too Jim. Get into the picture. This cheese is from your home town, you know – Berne Switzerland.”
The mayor’s bodyguards returned to report the bad news. There was not a cracker to be found in all of City Hall.
What to do with the cheese? Mayor Walker decided it should be cut up and sent to a city hospital or another charitable institution.