Gary Hart gets himself a Guinness at Donovan’s Pub in Woodside.
The year made famous by George Orwell began with a rise in the cost of getting places: subway and express bus fares went up, and toll bridges went to $1.50 from $1.25…. Residents were temporarily thrown into a panic by tap water containing the algae Synedra. Amid local complaints of musty-looking and bad-smelling water, the city declared the algae as harmful as “lettuce” and added copper sulfate and chlorine to the water to hamper the algae’s growth….
With little fanfare, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro was appointed to head the Democratic Party’s platform committee. The appointment to the highly visible position increased speculation that a woman, specifically Ferraro, might be nominated for the No. 2 spot on the Democratic National ticket. Ferraro told the Tribune, “You don’t run for vice president… You do your job, and you see what happens....”
In February, the phone company revealed that it had spent $12 million toward establishing a separate 718 area code for Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Several weeks later, the PSC approved the area code, slicing the Big Apple…. The Department of Environmental Conservation called the Edgemere landfill in the Rockaways “one of the worst” in the state.... March came in like the proverbial lion as the Supreme Court refused to hear the two-year-old case between New York City and the Federal Department of Transportation over the trucking of nuclear waste through the borough. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case opened the way for Brookhaven Laboratories to transport nuclear waste through the borough…
Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro of Queens joins Presidential candidate Walter Mondale and Queens dignitaries to discuss their ticket.
A staff member at Queens Borough Hall, Angelo Marano, was arrested and charged with the throat-slashing murder of his girlfriend in Valley Stream. It was reported that, when police arrived on the scene, Marano was dressed in a red dress and a woman’s wig. He was immediately suspended from his $17,900-a-year position at the borough president’s public information office....
As the New York State primary approached, Walter Mondale bowled a few frames at Whitestone Lanes, Gary Hart chug-a-lugged a Guinness at Donovan’s Pub in Woodside and Jesse Jackson delivered his ringing oratory from the pulpits of several local churches....
Queens Festival ‘84, replete with a mini Statue of Liberty, Miami’s Playboy Bunnies, Double Dutchers and Don McLean, was proclaimed a success by sponsors….The Hunters Point development plan, after countless delays because of political squabbling in Albany, finally was approved in June. The bill allowed commercial and retail development in the under-used waterfront that some had labeled the “Gold Coast.”…
As July began, the borough was still drying out from the rainstorm on June 30 that dumped six inches of water and caused extensive flooding. As a result, Borough President Donald Manes called for Queens to be declared a federal disaster area... Mid-July found Queens stepping prominently into the national political spotlight. Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro officially became the first woman to become a candidate for national office on a major party ticket. In addition, Queens native Mario Cuomo gave the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention, bringing the delegates to their feet....
In August, Democratic candidates Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro kicked off Campaign ’84 on the steps of Queens Borough Hall. Mondale, who must have been standing downwind, declared, “I smell victory in the air.” Ferraro said it was a “privilege” to represent the people of the 9th Congressional District and that she was “heartened by the warm flow of wishes and encouragement” she had received.... In October, the announcement that Queens was to be the site of a new stadium was hailed by local officials, but soon after the Sportsplex Corp. chose the borough, the plan was criticized by Mayor Ed Koch because it did not recommend a domed stadium.... The race for Geraldine Ferraro’s vacated seat was won by Democrat Thomas Manton.
The Mondale-Ferarro ticket was not strong enough to overcome the resounding cry for re-election of President Ronald Reagan.
Starting his career as news editor of the Queens Tribune, Gabe worked for the Hudson Dispatch, the Hartford Courant and the Philadelphia Daily News before moving to the Washington Post, where he now serves as city editor.
It was a good job, especially for someone desperate to plant a foot in journalism. The title was News Editor and the offices were on Kissena Boulevard, just two bus rides from my house in Jackson Heights.
I should have never gotten it.
Like all great tales from Queens, it wasn’t what you knew but who remembered you from PS 69 and IS 145. Howie Goodman knew I had a Master’s in Journalism (he didn’t know it was useless). He also knew Marty Lipp, who, with no experience in journalism and no Master’s, had still been named Managing Editor. Goodman proved true to his name and passed mine along as a job candidate. Lipp, perhaps viewing the Master’s degree with suspicion, gave me a test, which I must have passed because he then gave me the job.
Twenty years ago to the day, you would have found me sitting by the window, at a steel-gray desk, and working on a blue IBM. Next to me you would see Lipp, his agenda open and our day outlined in his incredibly microscopic handwriting. The large blue table next to him, a natural barrier between us and the ad people, was where we laid out the paper.
Ours was not memorable journalism, or at least not the kind that two decades later survives even in my own mind. But that was neither the aim nor the point. Our journalism was eminently practical and, given how green we were, ambitious. Oddly, given that this was a weekly, we almost always seemed to write on deadline. Ours was a routine defined by rituals. Mondays were generally for reporting, Tuesdays for deadline writing and layout, Wednesdays for opening the mail (and there was lots of it). The proof of our labor was delivered in bundles on Thursday mornings. The end of the week was the beginning of the following week.
The Queens Tribune ended up giving me the practical instruction the worthless Master’s never provided, and I have often told people that the weekly in my home borough is where I really went to journalism school.