The Ronzoni factory in Long Island City closed its doors in 1993.
City officials seized control of the Queens Botanical Gardens in January, following allegations of financial misconduct and mismanagement by the garden society’s board of directors…Local school board members geared up for a distasteful campaign to keep their seats. More and more boards jumped on the bandwagon led by District 24 School Board President Mary Cummins, voting for stricter control of lessons taught under the “Children of the Rainbow” curriculum….Mayor David Dinkins announced his re-election campaign at PS 164, to what Tribune writer Vincent S. Castellano described as a “politely attentive crowd.” He was not re-elected to another term....
Citing the spiraling cost of doing business in New York City, operators of the Ronzoni pasta factory in Long Island City announced their decision to shut down the 43-year-old plant on July 1….On Feb. 26, nearly 40 second-graders from PS 191 in Floral Park were on the 107th floor observation deck when a bomb ripped through the basement garage of the World Trade Center. The eight-hour ordeal left the kids exhausted, but another group of youngsters weren’t as lucky. The doors had just closed on an elevator packed with 46 third- and fourth-graders from PS 91 in Glendale, when the bomb tore through the basement of the Twin Towers. For over four hours, the kids and their teachers had no communication with rescuers as they waited in the dark, crowded elevator….
Strippers at Runway 69 in Forest Hills counter-protested those aiming to shut down the club.
In March, the Tribune exposed shenanigans inside Runway 69, a nude bar which opened for a brief time on Austin Street in Forest Hills. The paper’s front-page headline covered “Sex on Austin Street,” and became the focus of controversy. Faced by a barrage of nightly protests by community activist, club owners were forced to move the club just weeks later…. Queens straphangers faced another series of setbacks in service on the No. 7 line, after transit officials announced their decision to suspend express service in western Queens to allow for renovations at the Main Street station in Flushing….
In March, city council members and activists came out in droves to criticize the mayor for not fulfilling his promises in the “Safe Streets/Safe City” program. Civic leader Tony Avella said, “We just haven’t seen the extra cops.” ….
Also in May, the Borough Board approved a USTA Stadium expansion after officials for the US Open called the stadium “woefully inadequate.”....
Queens Assemblyman Alan Hevesi threw his hat into the City’s political arena, announcing his candidacy for City Comptroller…Queens got very colorful in May, when members of the New York City gay and lesbian community paraded through Jackson Heights in May, in the first annual Queens Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade….
At least six Chinese nationals died on June 6, when a rusted freighter, carrying 328 travelers from the Fujan Province, ran aground some 200 yards off the Rockaway peninsula. About 120 of the passengers – believed to be human contraband in a $30,000 per-person smuggling operation – jumped from the Golden Venture into the 54-degree choppy waters.
At least 30 people were inured and taken to area hospitals in serious condition. The captain of the Golden Venture, Amir Hummuntal Lumban Tobing, and 10 crewmembers were charged with smuggling the immigrants into the United States…. In September, school bells didn’t ring in classes on time for City youngsters, a delay caused by mounting asbestos crisis.
George Andreassi: George moved on from his reporter job at the Tribune to write for many local newspapers, and has now followed his heart to the Port St. Lucie News, where he gets to write about his beloved New York Mets every spring.
I had been unemployed for about 11 months during the early 1990s, and feared my reporting career might be over when Mike Schenkler and The Queens Tribune were kind enough to give me a chance to make a comeback. In my time with the Tribune, I had the privilege of covering a wide variety of immensely interesting issues and people. A big highlight was the holy war by Mary Cummings, then president of School Board 24, against the Children of the Rainbow curriculum, which was designed to foster tolerance of gay people.
Following on that controversy were the hotly contested 1993 school board elections in which the Children of the Rainbow curriculum was a hot button issue. I was also fortunate enough to break stories on the record number of murders in Queens in 1992 and the latest efforts to clean up vice in the neighborhoods north of downtown Flushing. A favorite part of the job was compiling the police blotter, complete with snappy headlines. A reader thought my headlines were so over-the-top that I needed psychological help. The best part of the job was covering Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
I did a separate story on each attraction - such as the zoo, the carousel, Terrace on the Park, etc. - then tied them all together in a round-up. It was hard work hanging out at the park all day, especially in springtime. But it was worth it because it brought back a lot of good memories.
I was 5 years old back in the summer of 1964 when my parents started taking me to the World’s Fair just about every weekend. I have indelible memories of taking that boat ride around the world while listening to that never-ending song, “It’s a Small World After All.” Which brings me to the wonderful Borough of Queens and The Queens Tribune.
Working as a reporter in Queens is great training for anyone with aspirations of becoming a foreign correspondent because Queens is the home of people from every country and every walk of life. The Queens Tribune covers this incredibly diverse borough in all its glory. Working at The Queens Tribune really opened my eyes to the importance of world events and the plight of people in other countries.
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to continue working as a reporter. My time in Queens helped me land a job with The Port St. Lucie News, where I had the pleasure of covering the Spring Training home of our beloved Mets.
Every spring, including this year, when the Mets come down to Florida, I’m reminded of my glory days in Queens. And I also remember how grateful I am to Mike Schenkler and the Queens Tribune for helping me resuscitate my career.