Bishop Daily led protests outside this Rego Park abortion clinic.
In January, new Mayor David Dinkins swore in Claire Shulman to her first full four-year term as Borough President, who was generally praised for removing clouds of suspicion lingering over Borough Hall in the wake of the Donald Manes scandal and suicide….Dinkins and Shulman had also shared the spotlight at a ribbon cutting dedication of Citicorp’s 50-story office tower in Long Island City….
The City Council started off the year (in which it was supposed to come into its own as a “real” legislature) by doing what legislatures are wont to do: increase members’ income….WABC-TV aired Jeopardy quiz shows in which Transit police officer and former Catholic high school teacher Frank Spangenberg of Flushing won $102,597. He donated to Mother Theresa’s AIDS and homeless programs in the Bronx the balance over the $75,000 take-home limit Jeopardy imposed on winners...Forest Hills natives Simon and Garfunkel were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame….
Elected to her first full term as Borough President, Claire Shulman surveys her county from the top of the newly erected Citicorp tower in LIC.
In February, controversy over last-minute communications between Kennedy Airport traffic controllers and the crew of Avianca Flight 52 erupted in the wake of the crash of the airliner into Cover Neck, L.I., killing 75 people… The government’s third trial against mobster John Gotti found him innocent of conspiracy and assault charges. Gotti emerged as something of a folk hero in his Howard Beach and Ozone Park neighborhoods, as people hung “Gotti For President” signs outside their homes in celebration….
In March, the Community Bar and Grill in Flushing closed. It had been the subject of a series of articles in the Tribune about community concerns regarding drug and violence believed to be associated with some of its customers… Claire Shulman unveiled the “Discover Queens” publicity campaign. The first poster bore the slogan: “We’re more than airport.”…Queens State Senator Andre Jenkins was convicted of federal charges of participating in a money-laundering scheme. The FBI arrested the assistant Democratic whip after he accepted a briefcase in an agreement to launder $150,000 through a Zaire bank. Jenkins called the prosecution part of government “harassment of black elected officials.”…
State Senator Leonard Stavisky, standing on the steps of City Hall surrounded by union officials, announced his candidacy for the Eighth Congressional District seat held by Rep. James Scheuer… Flushing Democratic leader Brian McLaughlin thereafter announced his candidacy for the State Senate seat Stavisky was giving up to run for Congress…. In June, newly installed Bishop Daily led nearly 1,000 praying abortion protestors in a vigil outside a Rego Park clinic…Reconstruction of the Queensboro Bridge closed two lanes of traffic and created one of the worst traffic jams in memory…Marlene Manes, the widow of the former Borough President, reached a $116,000 settlement agreement with the IRS on back taxes and penalties for bribes taken by her husband….
The eleventh reported suicide of the year at Elmhurst’s Leben Home for Adults led to calls for an investigation of the largest privately-run residence in the City for former mental hospital patients…The landmark RKO Keith’s Theatre on Northern Boulevard was severely damaged in a case of arson… Congressman Floyd Flake and his wife were indicted on charges of embezzling $75,000 from a senior citizens project and evading taxes on $66,700 collected from the Allen A.M.E. Church in Jamaica…Queens attorney Michael Dowd, who turned informer against Donald Manes, with whom he had taken kickbacks, was barred from practicing law for five years.
Tom McCarthy, a former Tribune editor, wears his traditional editor’s green eyeshade and his Correction Department editorial director shield, at his desk before he retired as a spokesman for the Department of Corrections. He remains Webmaster of www.correctionhistory.org
Invited to celebrate the Tribune’s 35th anniversary, and Mike’s 25-year marriage to it, the first response is delight at an opportunity to reminisce about editorial colleagues who loom large in fondest memory:
Schenkler, gruff of manner, generous of heart, whose outer cynicism fails to hide how deeply he cares.
David Oats – brilliant, charming, energetic, elusive, ever enigmatic; a man both of the moment and of history but never his own in either.
Mike Vonderlieth – reticent, cryptic, a man of many skills, a stand-up guy ready to help regardless of inconvenience or hazard.
Craig Schaffer, reliable, easy-going, calming in crises, a thoroughbred doing even workhorse assignments with grit and grace.
Recollections of fun (well, sort of) stories surface: hiding a circus elephant, climbing airport fences to test security, buying killer guns just over the city line without any background check, stumbling in dark “adult” movie theatres to report on rampant off-screen random at-risk sex, and sundry Q&A-ing (Clinton, Vallone, Shulman, Weprin, Manton, Brown, D’Amico, Gresser, Van Arsdale, Rev. Harrington, et al).
Then from under basement stairs are retrieved dusty copies of 1990 -1992 issues where my byline regularly appeared. First masthead title: News Editor. Later: Associate Editor.
Soon, sadder stories that selective memory screened out stare back from mildewed pages: Despairing Taystee Bread workers facing their plant closing, departing DA Santucci’s bitter, albeit much justified, denunciation of news media, continuing pedestrian carnage on Queens Boulevard, Mackell’s passing, grieving families of Gulf War I dead.
So the memories mix — negatives as well as positives – and expand, though “good news” remains preferred, like the interfaith Thanksgiving service feature that concluded:
“Add to your store of stories about a priest, a minister and a rabbi this one – about their finding a bottle half empty and all three declaring it half full, thanking God, and by doing so, making it less empty.”
Secularly, the Tribune does something similar. The Queens it finds is made “fuller” by its coverage. It helps create the community it covers. Thanks for the memories.