____ To Look Forward
I grew up in Jackson Heights and I spent my days like any other kid in my neighborhood, going to the park at 77th Street, enjoying pick-up football games on the Bulova property, attending the spring carnival at St. Joan of Arc and going to PS 69 and IS 145. And all the while the Queens Tribune was there. We are both 35, hitting the latter half of our fourth decades in stride, looking toward the future.
The difference between us is that I was born with no knowledge of news, politics or how to write a story – the Tribune already had that from day one.
But I had an interest in the news by fifth grade, when the Trib turned 10 and when CBS anchor Jim Jenson came to my class to talk about television news. That same year an editor from The New York Times explained newspapers to me and every other kid in Mrs. Grossman’s class. I found myself watching the news every night and reading the paper every morning.
I was getting interested in politics, too, though at the time I didn’t really know how it worked – but I was learning.
By the time I was 16, I finally realized that in Queens, politics and news went hand-in-hand. Before Jan 10, 1986, I didn’t know what a borough president was, but when Donald Manes tried to kill himself on the Grand Central (and later succeeded in the privacy of his own home), I began to realize how much local news there was. I would go out of my way to pick up all the local papers, to find out all that I could.
And I learned then that the local papers – not the big city dailies – were what held my interest. I saw familiar names, places and neighborhoods.
I started to notice the differences from one neighborhood to the next.
And now, at age 35, I have come full circle. I have seen (and experienced first-hand) the rich history of the Queens Tribune, and I have set myself to help lead its future – for my neighbors in Maspeth, my friends in Bayside, my dentist in Forest Hills, my mother in Jackson Heights, my daughter at the School of Heroes.
Together, these two 35-year-olds look toward the future, to see what lies ahead. To inspire the next generation. To continue to leave a lasting impression on wide-eyed kids everywhere.
And in its simplest form, to tell the news.
Brian M. Rafferty