The Forest Hills Action League rallied for pedestrian improvements to the “Boulevard of Death.”
Rookie firefighter and Whitestone native Thomas Wylie died on Jan. 3, a victim of smoke he inhaled while battling a blaze in Chinatown. Thousands of firefighters and cops lined the streets outside a Whitestone church to mourn Wylie…. Mayor Giuliani proposed changing community board lines so parts of Flushing near Queens College got moved from Community Board 7 to Community Board 8….
A simple tribute to one of Queens’ best-loved politicos turned into a muddy brouhaha, when more than 100 angry residents of Fresh Meadows turned up to protest community board approval of renaming 188th Street to “Saul Weprin Boulevard.” Residents were reacting to a “mysterious” flyer distributed the night before the meeting, warning that a change in the name from “street” to “boulevard” would adversely affect the neighborhood…. Queens detectives, working around the clock, arrested two suspects charged in the bloody massacre of a College Point family on Jan. 7. Six people – including teenagers who were having a sleep over — were stabbed, shot and tortured in what police believe was a drug-related “hit.” One surviving teen, whose throat had been slashed and who had been left for dead, made her way to a neighbor’s door and was rushed the hospital. It wasn’t until she was strong enough to write a note that police knew where she had been and went back to find the other victims….
The notorious Earle Theatre, a Jackson Heights porn palace, was shut down.
Shoppers mourned the impending loss of another department store: A&S would soon hit the dust, joining a host of “favorite” but defunct department stores….Police discovered nuclear materials in a Woodside garage… The Tribune reported that Levco Properties in Astoria – an industrial property right near the studio where “Sesame Street” is taped – was one of nine toxic sites in Queens….
State Senator Serphin Maltese drew kudos – and raised a few eyebrows – in February by proposing “paddling” for graffiti vandals caught in the act….
A pair of vagabond dolphins appeared in Flushing Bay in February. City cops and Coast Guard emergency crews, dubbed the “Flipper Flotilla,” led the mama dolphin and her calf to safer seas… A Tribune exclusive exposed that in a time of budget crisis, the City was still about to spend $186,000 for art installation in a Douglaston Parkway Sanitation garage….
York College President Josephine Davis resigned, following a flurry of charges of mismanagement and financial improprieties at the college…The Parks Department put out a request for proposals to turn the deserted boathouse on Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows Corona Park into a “white tablecloth, sit-down restaurant.”…
The City Health Department closed down the Earle Theatre in Jackson Heights, a porn theatre that the City said allowed unsafe sexual practices and numerous health code violations….After years of deadlock the City promised to add traffic lights to Queens Boulevard, a street that has been dubbed the “Boulevard of Death” for being dangerous to pedestrians…. Fort Totten in Bayside was decommissioned as an Army base, but unknown levels of dangerous chemicals were found in the waters of Little Bay next to it, causing a wave of civic anger. It was believed that the chemicals leaked into the water from a broken drain in one of the Army’s buildings….
The Trib outlined plans for a two-way split in the command center of Queens policing. The borough’s 16 precincts were divided into two patrol boroughs of eight precincts each – Patrol Borough Queens North and Patrol Borough Queens South – to accommodate the growing needs of a growing borough….
After working as a reporter in Maryland and editor in Nassau County, Sarina came to the Trib to lead the newsroom. She now leads in a different capacity, as the national director of communications and government relations for the Jewish National Fund.
My time with the Trib was exciting and always filled with a sense that the borough’s politics were over my head. Yet, my job there launched me on a career path where politics is deeply entrenched in everything I do. When I joined the Queens Tribune as Managing Editor, I was in the initial years of a career change. I was an idealistic reporter with good investigative skills and a track record as an award winning journalist. I had a good community newspaper background but felt overwhelmed with the learning curve of the Queens beat.
I had moved back to New York only a year before with three children, and New York politics was new to me, much less Queens. Yet I felt invigorated when I met with people like Eliot Spitzer, who sought me out in his first unsuccessful bid for Attorney General, and then-Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who arrived at the Trib offices with a security detail. I still have a photo of then-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and myself hanging proudly in my office.
I think my biggest challenges at the Trib were keeping up with Mike Schenkler’s political savvy, writing editorials, and coming up with new and innovative cover designs – tasks I never really mastered. We had great reporters and I hated having to cut their excellent cutting-edge stories to fit the available editorial space. We covered everything from Queens cemeteries and Harry Houdini, to the history of street names and crime stories.
After leaving the Trib, I began a new adventure, switching to the other side of the editorial desk to work in public relations for then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. I became extremely active in Democratic Party politics, both in Brooklyn and New York State. Spitzer became Attorney General and my home became a place where New York’s Congressional delegation, Assemblymen, State Senators and even U.S. Senators came for Party functions.
Today I work at the Jewish National Fund as national Director of Communications, handling both public relations and government relations. I love the feeling I have when I walk the halls of Congress and interact each day with those who collectively hold the nation’s power in the palm of their hands. And much of it started at the Trib.