She’s No Angel
in the newsroom is always exciting. Everyone gets to refocus on the task
of uncovering and disseminating the news of Queens. A rebirth of spirit
and desire seems to be brewing amongst a very talented newroom which
combines some pretty new reporters with a couple of not-so-old pros.
catalyst for our reportorial renaissance is our very newly minted managing
editor, who took over the newsroom with last week’s issue. A daughter of
Queens, Angela Montefinise received her education on the streets and in
the classrooms of our borough.
journalistic training came from Queens College, including coursework with
professor Tamara Hartman, our outgoing managing editor. That connection
brought Angela to the Trib
some two plus years ago, where she honed her skills in our newsroom. She
demonstrated her intellect, skill, tenacity and critical thinking skills
and quickly became our lead reporter and then news editor.
week she took on the awesome responsibility of directing the news
operation of the borough’s leading community newspaper.
follows in the footsteps of accomplished journalists like Mitch Albom,
author of Tuesday’s With Morrie,
the current city editor of the Washington Post, and a long line of
professional journalists presently reporting at the leading dailies of our
City and nation including the New
York Times, the Philadephia
and the Daily News.
known them all.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan:
By HENRY STERN
Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) was
eulogized last week at Hunter College. Several hundred former
colleagues, employees and admirers of the late Senator heard about 90
minutes of tributes and watched video clips of the Senator on “Meet the
Press,” where he appeared 24 times in 31 years. (Tim Russert
started as a Moynihan staff member.)
Moynihan was a remarkable man who had an
extraordinary career in academia and public service. One can reflect
that there are no Moynihans in public life today, in either party. No one
His election was something of a fluke; in
the Democratic Senate primary in 1976 there were three radical candidates,
Bella Abzug, Ramsey Clark and Paul O’Dwyer.
Then there was Moynihan, a moderate,
possibly pre-neo-conservative but slowly moving left, who was to the right
of the other three. The fifth candidate was Abe Hirschfeld, whom I
will desist from describing in detail.
Moynihan had just served as the United
States representative to the United Nations, where he had vigorously
defended Israel from the “Zionism is racism” resolution, adopted in
1975 and repealed in 1991. The Abzug-Moynihan race, in which the two
were only 10,000 votes apart, was probably decided by the New
York Times endorsement of Moynihan, when Punch Sulzberger, then the
publisher, became convinced to overrule the editorial board, which had
supported Abzug. The choice of Moynihan in 1976 was Arthur Ochs
Sulzberger, Sr.’s great gift to the United States and the world.
My minor role in the 1976 election was as
the Liberal Party’s Senate candidate (stalking horse) until the
Democratic primary in September. After Moynihan won the five-way race, I
was nominated for a judgeship in order to vacate the line for Moynihan to
help defeat James Buckley (Bill’s brother), the Conservative-Republican
In New York State there are only three
ways for a candidate to get off the ballot: die, move out of the state, or
receive a judicial nomination. At that time I had just been married
and wanted to live and raise a family. I was an elected City
Councilmember, and I couldn’t even move out of Manhattan. Since I
was a lawyer, however, I could try to become a judge.
Few people today know that Pat Moynihan had been defeated in
his first candidacy for public office. He ran for president of the
New York City Council in 1965 on a ticket headed by Paul Screvane.
At that time in New York politics, the three citywide positions were
contested by slates, consisting of an Italian, Irish and Jewish
candidates. The man who defeated Moynihan, Queens District Attorney
Frank O’Connor, was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 1966 who lost
to Nelson Rockefeller.
A unique aspect of Moynihan’s career is
that he served Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, two Democrats
and two Republicans. All four respected his high intelligence, his
remarkable abilities, and his loyalty to his country.
While a Senator, among many other
interests, he, along with his Republican colleague for 18 years, Al
D’Amato, was an ardent advocate of funding for New York State.
As Parks Commissioner, I corresponded
with the Senator, who whimsically addressed me in his letters as Lord High
He was the person most responsible for
the development of Foley Square and Thomas Paine Park, which is located
between the state and federal courthouses and the Javits federal office
building. As part of his interest in urban design Moynihan committed
federal funds to the project, which otherwise would not have been
This column is not a biography of this
great man. It simply deals with some of his adventures in New York
politics, and his interface with Parks and Liberals. It is not even
a complete account of the memorial, which deserves to be transcribed and
Richard Ravitch, Stephen Mann and Maura Moynihan organized the
tribute, which was co-sponsored by Hunter College, the host, and the
Jewish Community Relations Council.
Former Senators Bob Kerrey, Bill Bradley
and D’Amato spoke warmly about their experiences with Senator Moynihan.
An unusual aspect of the event was that Governor Pataki and Mayor
Koch both attended, but did not speak. Leonard Garment, a brilliant
colleague in the Nixon White House and a friend of Pat and Liz for
thirty-five years, was compelling. Joel Motley spoke for the staff.
The Senator’s daughter, Maura, the
closing speaker, was magnificent as she described his argument before the
United Nations, possibly his finest hour. Her son, Michael, the
Senator’s grandson, was introduced as helping to teach his grandfather
about sports. Afterward, the Senator’s staff and friends adjourned to a
Henry Stern can be reached at:
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@QueensTribune.com