Workers clean up in the aftermath of the LaGuardia bombing.
A blast ripped apart the main terminal building at LaGuardia Airport, killing 11 people and injuring 58. The airport was a target of a bomb inside the baggage area of TWA’s lower concourse. The tragedy left a large portion of the terminal in rubble and, because anyone could have been in the building at the time of the blast, passenger lists were of no help in identifying the dead. After years of intensive investigations, it was never discovered whether the bomb was intended to go off in flight or if the terminal was the target. Although police investigators suspected a Croatian terrorist group, the culprits were never found....
Calling it a sell-out and a blow to the bicentennial revolutionary spirit, local politicians blasted the secretary of transportation for giving the okay for the French-British SST Concorde supersonic jet plane to begin landing at JFK Airport....The Tribune publicly blasted Congressman Ben Rosenthal for quietly permitting $530,000 in demolition funds to be allocated to tear down the U.S. Pavilion in Flushing Meadows. While Rosenthal had always said he was in favor of saving the $14 million structure for community and cultural use, Congress awarded the funds without public hearings....
Over 1,000 automobiles jammed the roadways of Kennedy Airport, slowing traffic for two hours, in a protest against trial landing rights granted to the Concorde supersonic jetliner.... The Flushing Remonstrance, Queens’ own Declaration of Independence, returned to the county of its origin in April in a prelude to the upcoming bicentennial celebration. The Remonstrance, exhibited at the Queens Museum’s exhibition on Queens History, was signed in 1657 by the leading citizens of Flushing, calling for religious freedom. Normally housed at the state capitol in Albany, its return gave Queens residents their first opportunity to see a significant forerunner to our nation’s Bill of Rights....
A giant bicentennial festival was held at Flushing Meadows in June. A highlight of the event was a full-scale mock Revolutionary War battle, witnessed by 30,000 spectators… Flushing Town Hall officially re-opened as a restaurant with a theater. Stephen Phillips, the proprietor, granted a lease on the Civil War-era landmark, restored the once-abandoned building to its original look and built a theater upstairs in the old courtroom.... Prior to the annual U.S. Open at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the RFK Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament was held, pitting teams of professional tennis players against celebrities. Arnold Schwarzenegger was introduced during lunch at the stadium’s terrace to the daughter of one of the Kennedys – Maria Shriver....
Senatorial candidate Daniel Patrick Moynihan got together with Tribune editors for a September discussion about his upcoming race against incumbent Senator James Buckley...Under new citywide redistricting, local Community Board 7 lost Bay Terrace, which was placed into Board 11… Three men, including one Queens resident, were arrested in October at Kennedy Airport for allegedly planning the biggest heist in history… Robert Groh, former deputy borough president and sanitation commissioner, who was recently elected a Queens civil court judge, was indicted on charges of engineering an alleged bribe scheme, in order to obtain campaign contributions from ITT in exchange for a zoning variance for a Queens hotel at LaGuardia Airport. Groh pleaded “not guilty” to the charge of selling tickets to a Donald Manes fundraiser in exchange for the variance. Groh was later exonerated, but rumors were rampant throughout Queens’ political circles that the real target of the investigation had been Manes, but that authorities could not completely prove their case....
Fire marshals were investigating whether or not a massive explosion at the American Chicle Company in Long Island City, which killed one worker, was an accident. Forty-eight other workers were injured in the early Sunday morning blast....Federal and city officials met in December and gave their support to a plan to save the abandoned old Paramount-Astoria Studio....
The Tribune presented a major exposé offering a new angle on the famous Alice Crimmins case, in which a Kew Gardens Hills mother was accused of murdering her two children in 1964. A Tribune investigation uncovered evidence that the murders may have been revenge killings.
After six years in newspapers, including the Trib, Matt spent the last 22 years as a government public information officer for former Governor Mario Cuomo, the Battery Park City Authority and since 1996 as assistant commissioner for public affairs of the New York City Department of Design and Construction.
While the summer of 1976 was not pivotal in the life of the Queens Tribune, it was in mine. It was the spell between my junior and senior years at Duquesne University, where I majored in journalism. I was back home, less interested in making money than gaining real world experience in newspaper journalism.
I achieved my objective. The Trib’s office on Kissena Boulevard had phones, those old things called typewriters and a great deal of energy from people looking to change Queens, if not the world. The editors were demanding and held us to high standards of accuracy and fairness. Founder and publisher Gary Ackerman was a whirlwind, always on the go and always looking to make Queens a better place.
The paper did then what it does now: inform, agitate, inspire and aggravate. Burned in memory was being sent to a news conference held in a public school classroom. A photo appeared in the next day’s Long Island Press that unbeknownst to readers included the reporter from the Queens Tribune and one from The New York Times. We belonged in that school with the bigger papers because we had something to tell our readers they could not find somewhere else.
Though young with modest circulation, the Tribune garnered credentials to the 1976 Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden. I’m eternally grateful to those who allowed me to cover one night of that gigantic event and help give people a reason to pick up our paper that week. I learned early on that the Tribune’s brand of community journalism has enormous value since the paper was made of the same fabric as the community. We weren’t visiting neighborhoods, we lived in the communities we covered.
I’ve been reading the Tribune for more than half of my life and it keeps getting better. Now I work “on the other side of the notebook,” responding to questions from reporters, Trib writers among them. Public service is the underpinning of what we do. I thank the Trib for giving a kid from Forest Hills a chance to learn so much in so short a period of time.