Donald Manes became the longest-serving Borough President in Queens History.
As 1981 began, the Tribune noted that Donald Manes had completed one decade as the borough’s chief executive – serving longer than any previous borough president of Queens.... The issue of co-op conversions heated up throughout the borough, as more and more tenants were faced with the prospect of their landlord’s desire to convert from rental to cooperative..... Tribune reporter Mike Siconolfi conducted an extensive and ongoing investigation of the charges of mismanagement and overcrowding at Queens General Hospital…
The Tribune also conducted a series of investigative reports on the issue of who would run the shorefront property known as Fort Totten. Its future use became clouded when State Senator Gary Ackerman and Assemblyman Leonard Stavisky charged that the federal government was engaged in a potential “land grab” by giving the site over to a private veterans group, which many had raised questions about concerning its fundraising and programs. A coalition of 70 community and historical groups eventually worked out an alternative use for the site that would keep the grounds under public ownership and give a wider variety of use to the site. At year’s end, however, the Army requested back some of the land, again clouding the issue....
Shea Stadium was silent during the early days of spring and summer as the strike silenced the Mets, but the Tribune reported on the other ballgame in town – the Little League, the almost forgotten organization that is the breeding ground for future star ballplayers and that was flourishing in Queens. It turned what could have been a dreary summer into a happy one for thousands of kids and their parents....
According to all the studies, Queens had the best subway service in New York. But in October, the Tribune double-checked the statistics – and simply asked the riders – and found that the borough’s subways became just another bad apple in the city’s already rotten barrel. The Tribune’s report revealed that the “E” line from Queens to Brooklyn and Manhattan was the best of the routes, with the fewest breakdowns and delays. The “F” train came up as a slightly poor cousin to the “E,” and the figures on the IRT No.7 line might astonish commuters who insisted it was the slowest, most beat-up way to get from Queens to Manhattan. It had one of the best records in the city.....
The smell of Russian golubtsi and pirogi baking in ovens seeped tantalizingly into the summer air, perking up the noses of children playing outside. On the corner, a bearded man sat waiting for a bus, engrossed in the latest issue of Novaya Gazeta [the New Newspaper]. It was a Saturday morning, not in Kiev, but in Forest Hills – where a massive absorption of USSR emigrés had established it as the second-largest Soviet population center in the U.S., certainly casting a distinct Russian accent on the future tenor of this Queens neighborhood. The Tribune examined the phenomenon with a series of articles in August.…
In August, Tribune editor David Oats gave a personal look at Robert Moses, the man whose vision changed the shape of Queens. From his removal of the old Corona dumps to make way for the 1939 World’s Fair and then later, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, to the roads, parks, bridges, tunnels, parkways and playgrounds, Moses literally created the landscape we call Queens today. He died in August at the age of 92....
The Officer’s Club and the rest of Fort Totten in Bayside were mired in controversy over a federal “ land grab.”
In July, Tribune Associate Editor Mitch Albom examined the topic, “What’s Happening to Teenagers?” His report showed that the adolescent heirs apparent to Woodstock, Vietnam and Disco have their own ideas about growing up. Parents and youth workers, sociologists and cops, and the kids themselves, talked about Queens youths, many in urban areas – for whom the apparent yardstick for “success” is toughness.
Robin Gorman Newman
After leaving the Tribune, Robin went into a career in public relations, started the Independent Business Women’s Circle, created a networking group for mothers over 35 and is a “Love Coach” and founder of www.lovecoach.com.
When I graduated college, it was my desire to be the next theater critic for The New York Times, but since that job was already taken, I reached out to the Queens Tribune.
I was living in Fresh Meadows and wrote theater reviews and personality profiles as a freelancer for the paper. Not only did I cover local productions at such venues as Queens College, Queensborough and Queens Theatre in the Park, but also I’d venture into the city if there was a Broadway show with a cast member from Queens who I might interview. I met the likes of Ben Vereen, Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Vilella, and Georgia Engel, and it was a real thrill.
I’m grateful to the Queens Tribune for the opportunity I had to nourish both my love of theater and writing. I have since become a published author, and a year ago, I launched The Playwrights Circle of Womanspace in Great Neck (where I now live), and am writing my first play. We gather twice a month to share our works in progress with attendees from both Queens and Long Island.
The Queens Tribune will always hold a fond place in my heart. David Oats and Mitch Albom were two of the editors I had the opportunity to work under at the Trib, and Mitch would go on pen the classic “Tuesdays with Morrie.” I can say “I knew him when.” Here’s to the next 35 years.