Brothers Alan and Stuart Suna inherited the aging Silvercup Bread factory and converted it into a film studio.
The New Year started with death and controversy. Queens mourned the death of Congressman Benjamin Rosenthal, who had represented Queens in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years. Rosenthal died at the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. after suffering from cancer for several years. His death left much speculation as to who would replace him. After several weeks, Borough President Donald Manes and the County Committee named State Senator Gary Ackerman as the Democratic nominee to run in the special election for the congressional seat....
Assemblyman John Duane was accused of having forged letters supporting himself and using other “dirty tricks” to win his assembly seat in the election several months earlier. The charges came from Duane’s Republican opponent and other North Shore residents. Queens District Attorney John Santucci cleared Duane of charges....
Manes announced the formation of an advisory group to help improve and upgrade the services at the Flushing Armory, which housed homeless men and women. Merchants had previously complained about the problems caused by shelter residents....
Congressman Ben Rosenthal died.
In February, a month-long race for the 7th Congressional seat in Queens started, with Gary Ackerman getting the governor’s and mayor’s support. Ackerman also received support from many top Queens legislators and officials.... Con Edison’s request to continue to burn oil containing five times the amount of sulfur allowed by city clean air standards at its Ravenswood plant continued to be controversial, with local legislators opposed to the request....
Agreements were reached between the Fort Totten Preservation Council and the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, which would allow the EPVA to take over three buildings at the fort, with the rest of the land going to the city for recreational use. The federal government could still decide to sell the property to private owners, rather than to non-profit or public groups….
Nude sunbathers in the Rockaways protest an order to cover up.
Various environmental and civic groups in Queens got together to protest the use of Flushing Meadows Corona Park as one off the two sites most used for the fall’s New York Grand Prix automobile race…. Gary Ackerman won Benjamin Rosenthal’s Congressional seat by a landslide special election, and another campaign started – this time for Ackerman’s state senate seat… Plans for a new $20 million motion picture studio complex in Long Island City were announced by Borough President Donald Manes.….
In May, it was the third special election of the year; Julia Harrison won the Assembly seat that was vacated by Leonard Stavisky.... Public hearings were held on the proposed 718 area code for Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.... Three cable companies were awarded contracts by the Board of Estimate to provide cable service to Queens. The Board of Estimate approved the 400-page contract after arguments about financing, minority hiring and public access....
In 1983, Gary Ackerman was elected to Congress, Donald Manes led the borough’s tricentennial and Julia Harrison was elected to the Assembly.
Nude sunbathers protested a new state law that prohibited them from exposing “private or intimate parts” in public. The protest took place at Riis Park, where nude sunbathing had gone on for the past several years...A twin-engine plane came within a few feet of crashing into the Grand Central Parkway when a braking device failed during the plane’s landing....
Con Ed got permission to burn coal at the Ravenswood plant in Long Island City, but only if pollution control devices were installed.... In October, after months of negotiations with the city, the Jets announced they would move to New Jersey. The city had offered Jets owner Leon Hess a $43 million package of improvements to make Shea Stadium more attractive and profitable to Hess, but he refused....
The Board of Estimate announced that the proposed 718 area code for the outer boroughs should be put on hold.... On Nov. 1, Queens County celebrated its tricentennial....Brothers Alan and Stuart Suna decided to turn the bakery they inherited into desperately needed film and studio space. Silvercup Bakery was transformed into Silvercup Studios, rivaling Empire Stages and 212 Studios for Long Island City cinematic supremacy.
A political insider before stepping foot into the Tribune, David was a key player in the management team of the Trib in the 1980s. Dave is now publisher of the Bronx TimesReporter and the Manhattan Times.
It was February 1983 when I officially joined the Tribune family. As the 25-year-old Director of Government Operations to the New York State Senate Minority Leader I was certainly in a job beyond my years. The bigwigs thought I was smart. I knew I was just a political junkie who didn’t know what else to do with my life. I worked for the Legislature and ran political campaigns seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 52 weeks a year. I never complained. I loved it.
So when state Sen. Gary Ackerman ran for Congress, in a special election against pollster Doug Schoen for the seat left vacant by past congressman Ben Rosenthal, Gary’s minority leader Fred Orenstein asked, “What can I do for you?” Ackerman replied, “Give me Keisman for a month to help work on my campaign”. (Okay, yes, he first hit him up for money).
And so it began – in the largest political headquarters known to man, an old furniture showroom next to the Stratton Restaurant on Queens Boulevard – I walked into the world of Gary Ackerman and Mike Schenkler, partners in politics and partners at the Queens Tribune. The first, second, and third publisher were standing in the same room. Life is funny that way.
The senator left for Washington and Mike was finally left to run the Queens Tribune largely unencumbered by Gary. I walked into the world of community newspapers.
I became the advertising director for what was already the largest community newspaper in Queens. Sounds glamorous. It wasn’t. Our office was located in a small strip mall on Kissena Boulevard. In retrospect, it can only be described as a nicotine-filled, smoke-infested dump. It was, though, charming.
And out of this dump Mike Schenkler taught me the newspaper business; and for a while we made history in our little world.
My timeline at the Tribune is actually a little complicated. I came and went more than once. Two tours of duty. But so did many people who have worked for Mike.
But history we made. We were the first community newspaper in New York City to circulate borough wide. We were the first newspaper to publish using a four-color format. I sold the ad that paid for that first color front page, Norman Rockwell’s, The Golden Rule. The ad was for a schlock store flea market on Main Street, called Busy Bee. I watched the paper come off press at a vintage, grimy print plant in the New York City meat market at 2 a.m. standing next to Mike Schenkler. I know, some of you have never seen his legs nor believe he has them. Most have only viewed him from behind his desk, sitting there before they arrived and still there when they left at whatever time. Many thought he might be a centaur. The memories and stories could fill volumes. Most are better off told at the bar and left out of print.
But what we really showed them was that you could publish a quality community newspaper, advocate politically, maintain your integrity, have an impact on your community and make a handsome profit while laughing your ass off.
By-the-way, Mike Schenkler and I didn’t always laugh. As a matter of fact there where years we didn’t even speak, but age, births, deaths, a heart attack and good fortune have a way of cleaning your glasses and clearing your mind.
And so, as the third publisher of the Queens Tribune (1991- 1993), said so on my business card), and now as the publisher of the largest community newspaper in the Bronx, The Bronx Times, and The Manhattan Times, I congratulate Mike Schenkler. If they didn’t make guys like him, you wouldn’t have anyone to talk about and you wouldn’t have newspapers like the Queens Tribune. I am a beneficiary of his hard work and accomplishments.
Hey Mike, on this 35th anniversary of your newspaper you, and all of us who have come, gone, come again and stayed, have a lot to be proud of. Congratulations to you and the staff.