It was the snowiest, coldest winter in recent history. Mother Nature dumped a
record 24 inches of snow on us during the Blizzard of ’96. The 36-hour
storm blew snowdrifts up to four-feet high in Fresh Meadows and Long
The battle to keep a 73-year-old shoe
shine shop in Flushing was
featured in the Tribune.
Fire marshals arrested a 36-year-old
homeless drifter, charged in the arson death of Fire Lt. John
Clancy. Edwin Smith lit a candle in the basement of an abandoned house
in Jamaica, which set off the blaze that claimed Clancy’s life.
Clancy’s widow, Dawn, was six months pregnant with the couples first
child when John Clancy died, minutes into the new year….
Queens narcotics cops got caught in a
traffic jam in Flushing. Before the gridlock cleared, they had arrested
two men who were hauling around 220
pounds of cocaine in their double-parked car. The cops later
turned up another 250 pounds of cocaine, found stashed in a closet in
one suspect’s Flushing apartment….
Queens cops slammed the brakes on a
major car theft ring in
Flushing. A dozen car thieves were bagged in the bust…Homeless men
returned to a makeshift shelter
in the Flushing Armory, despite a municipal promise that they would
never be housed there again….
The crash landing at LaGuardia Airport
of Flight 800 left Queens families shattered and looking for answer.
Borough historians made a last ditch
effort to save the crumbling Aquacade.
The last remaining piece of the 1939 World’s Fair was set for
demolition in the spring….NY
Mets management unveiled plans for a new Shea Stadium…Parolee Benito Olivar walked into a Queens car dealership on Feb. 12,where
he shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, then took his own life….
Former Queens Chief Administrative Judge
Francis X. Smith won his nine-year battle and was reinstated to
the Bar. Smith, one of the borough’s most liked and likable judges,
was disbarred amid a backlash of accusations stemming from the 1987
Queens cable scandal. Smith vowed then to prove his innocence, and he
did just that….
for City politicians dominated a Trib front page feature…The Queens
Marriage License Bureau was robbed by a masked gunman in March
– talk about shotgun weddings….
Councilwoman Julia Harrison set off a furor with remarks she made about Asian
immigrants in a front-page N.Y. Times article. Local pols joined
forces to decry the comments. Harrison fought back, describing her
colleagues actions as “Gang Rape.”…
Rudy Giuliani tapped Queens native Rudy
Washington for his Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.
Washington, who hails from Laurelton, got his feet wet by working with
borough civic and community groups….
The Queens community and the NYPD
mourned the deaths of Rockaway residents, Dep. Insp. John Fahy and his six-year-old son, James
– the pair that perished in an inferno at the family’s home. John
Fahy, Jr., 13, and Meaghan Fahy, 9,escaped the blaze; the youngsters’
police captain mother, Margaret, passed away just two months before the
A Queens Village elementary school
principal was stabbed to death during a struggle with three teens
who broke into his home. Ironically, one of the teens was a former
student at P.S. 33, where Edward Funk worked….
Bill Cosby brought his namesake show
Kaufman Astoria Studio, adding
to Queens claim as the Hollywood
A State appeals process granted the
killer of Kitty Genovese
a second chance to ask for a new trial. The Genovese murder rocked New
York City in March 1964 and became a national symbol of urban shame,
when 38 neighbors told police they saw the murder on Austin Street, but
did nothing to help….
Acting Queens Parks Commissioner
Richard Murphy went out on a limb to rescue a stranded cat in
Fresh Meadows. The family feline had been stuck in a tree for 15 days,
despite the efforts of local residents to free the kitty. The “Super
Commish” saved the cat’s life by “talking it down” from the
A 14-year-old boy was convicted of
murdering “Granpa,” the six-year-old Siberian Husky who captured our
hearts when he was torched while on a leash in his owner’s back
yard... Plans were unveiled for a new $1.1 billion International
Arrivals Building at JFK Airport…A
Trib feature looked into a Port Authority plan to install a rail-link connecting the Jamaica Long Island Rail Road Station with
JFK and LaGuardia airports....
rocked fans at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium…Former presidential
press secretary James Brady
came to queen7 to dedicate a new wing at Jamaica Hospital…Queens lost
one of its best-liked activists in May – Aldo
Viscovich, a business and civic leader, died in an auto accident,
leaving a void in the heart of a grieving community….
Construction began on the decade-old Queens
West project….Queens lost a popular and well-respected top cop
in May. Assistant Chief Robert Burke bid farewell to the borough. Dep.
Chief Jules Martin succeeded Burke as Commander of Patrol Boro Queens
North Task Force settled into a new home at the Flushing Armory. Capt.
Michael Doherty became the only NYPD commander to lead his troops out of
a castle…The MTA’s infamous E-Z
Pass was introduced to irate Queens motorists….
The infamous “Zodiac Killer” was arraigned in Queens. Heriberto Seda is
charged with killing three Queens people and injuring a fourth during
his four-year reign of terror in the early 1990s…City and borough
officials sued the State in June, to prevent the creation of a High
Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on the Long Island Expressway in
A crew of 500 movie-makers blew up the Unisphere
in July. The computer-generated explosion was part of a scene in the
Tommy Lee Jones movie, “Men In Black.”….
Board of Ed
President Carol Gresser was ousted in what was called a “mayoral coup” in
July…Queens Community Boards were
open for business on July 5, but borough lawmakers closed-up shop –
and services – to catch some rays over a long weekend…Queens City
Council Member Thomas Ognibene
proposed a curfew for the under-18 crowd….
A Paris-bound TWA Boeing 747 left JFK
International Airport at about 8:15 p.m. on July 17 with 230 people on
board. At 8:45 p.m., they were gone – blown from the skies over
Moriches, Long Island, in an aircraft
disaster that would rewrite the history of airline crash rescue
Claims of a scandal continued to plague the
Flushing RKO Keith’s Theater. A
developer and a contractor faced a probe into charges that they lied
about cleaning-up a major oil spill at the site...An explosion
ripped through the door of a Flushing synagogue….
A Trib feature examined 81-year-old
Tony Avena’s battle with MTA
officials who wanted to boot Avena’s shoeshine business out of a
storefront in Flushing where he had operated for 73 years….
Mayor Rudy Giuliani blasted officials from the
United States Tennis Association
for their insistence that planes from area airports be re-routed during
the U.S. Open….
Magic Johnson unleashed plans to
build a $5 million movie complex in Jamaica….
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Queens to pay his respects at the gravesite of Grand Rebbe
A plaque bearing a poem written by Queens-based
spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy ruffled
feathers when it was placed at the base of the Statue of
An explosion at a Queens Korean church devastated a Flushing
neighborhood where it had stood. The blast brought the community
together in efforts to help stranded parishioners and local residents
with property damage….
Fourteen-thousand police officers filled
the streets of Corona on Oct. 23. They came to honor and bury slain
police Lieutenant Federico
Narvaez, who was gunned-down while trying to quell a domestic
dispute. It was the largest police funeral in New York City
history…And the owners of “XXX”
rated shops lost their bid to overturn a City Council ruling that
would force them to shut-down in certain areas citywide….
A Delta jetliner crash-landed
during a fierce rainstorm on Oct. 19, sliding down to LaGuardia
Airport’s infamous Runway 13-31...The first of many anticipated
lawsuits was filed by relatives of the victims of Flight
800 as probers continued…and Eva
Ackerman, 79, passed away in October…Ackerman was the mother of
Tribune founder, Gary Ackerman.
Comptroller Alan Hevesi exposed
an $8 million bookkeeping snafu at the Queens Library…New Yorkers
approved Term Limits for
City politicos, virtually guaranteeing a new City government by the year
Al Gore came to Woodside in December, to taste a local specialty
– cheesecake, and meet with Queens politicians and the public…The
Flushing Jewish Center was destroyed in late-night fire in
December. Probers blamed the blaze on a cigarette carelessly tossed by a
year closed on a sad note. In one week, a Woodside civic leader was
murdered, and an off-duty New York City cop was slain.