On New Year’s Day, Edward Koch was installed as the city’s new mayor. His first stop after his inaugural ceremony at City Hall was at P.S. 1 in Long Island City for a Queens reception that was open to the public – one of five stops in each of the boroughs of New York City....
In January, the Tribune profiled the amazing rebirth of the old Paramount-Astoria Studios. Director Sidney Lumet took over the huge refurbished sound stage to film his multimillion-dollar production of “The Wiz,” starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Scenes for that film were also shot at the old New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park....
A Tribune report on a rash of bank robberies throughout Queens showed photos taken during actual robberies. A sidebar to the article entitled “Wave of the Future?” showed an amazing new concept in banking that would soon be seen in Queens: automated teller machines....
Ed Koch sat down with the Trib on his Fourth Day in Office.
Mud slides and pot holes became a major problem after a severe snowstorm in January....At the beginning of February, the second major snowstorm hit the metropolitan area. It began on a Sunday night, and by mid-Monday, the storm had reached blizzard proportions. Recalling the famous blizzard of 1888, the storm of 1978 shut down most of the city – with mass transit halted and schools closed for most of the week. Most offices and stores were closed through Thursday. And, for the first time in the paper’s eight years of publishing, the Tribune was unable to print because access to the printing plant in Long Island City was blocked by snow. The issue came out three days later than usual. Mayor Ed Koch got high marks from borough residents, who remembered Mayor John Lindsay’s disastrous handling of Queens’ snow removal during a 1969 blizzard. Despite the severity of the storm, sanitation workers were seen around the borough, around the clock, attempting to remove the snow....
A massive blizzard shut down Queens and the rest of the city for nearly a week.
Some heartless vandals ripped through a Flushing nursery school in February…A mountain of snow grew in Kissena Park – thanks to City and private trucks who dumped on the park while trying to clear the streets…The Tribune reported that an “Angel of Mercy” was walking around the corridors of Elmhurst Hospital and quietly putting elderly woman patients to sleep. The patients were all clinging to the last hours of their lives, the Tribune reported….
A roller skating rink opened at the former World’s Fair Post Office building in Flushing Meadows Corona Park…The Tribune exposed that Queens College and York College had not been funded as well as City schools in other boroughs….
Schools Chancellor Irving Anker staged a bloodless coup and suspended School Board 26 in April after members refused to give him the racial makeup of the Board. The Board members said the request was unconstitutional, and was similar to what the Nazis did. Anker reinstated the Board the following week…Civic associations protested delays in the reconstruction of the Queensborough Hill branch of the Queens Borough Public Library…
Flushing Airport, the city’s only general aviation airfield, reopened in October, 14 months after Mayor Abe Beam shut it down…Gary Ackerman stepped down as Tribune publisher and was sworn in as State Senator.
Fresh out of college, Jedd came to work for the Tribune in 1973 as a reporter and is currently still attached to founder Gary Ackerman – he serves as the Congressman’s Chief of Staff.
My first job out of college was a reporter for the Trib. This was in 1973, just a few years after the Trib was born. As the new guy on staff, I got the most exciting assignments – covering interminable Community Board meetings, chronicling out-of-sync traffic lights, counting the crowd of last-minute filers at the Main Street Flushing Post Office at midnight on April 15. (The latter was a favorite story of Trib founder and Congressman-to-be Gary Ackerman, who personally recorded the event in detail each year. Nevertheless, the charm of photographing angry people mailing bulky envelopes at the stroke of midnight escapes me to this day.)
The one story I remember with some clarity, though with few of the details, centered on newly-installed Criminal Court Judge Richard Brown, who had the poor judgment one day to be presiding when some confused defendant thought it would be a good idea to whip out a gun and take a few shots at His Honor.
The future Queens District Attorney was unharmed, finding quick protection by ducking down behind the bench. (“I didn’t have far to go,” I seem to recall Judge Brown quipped.)
Indeed, it was my phone interview with the Judge – my first conversation as a “real” reporter with anyone of some distinction – that is fixed in my mind. Judge Brown was charming, friendly, and patient with a raw journalist trying to figure out which way to hold the pencil. (This was many years before MS Word.) He made light of his personal predicament, without dismissing the severity – and real personal danger – of what had occurred.
It’s no surprise to me that Dick Brown has remained a fixture our judicial system, and I smile a little inside whenever I read an account in the Trib of the Judge’s work.Jedd Moskowitz