year 2002 saw Mayor Michael Bloomberg take the helm of a broke and
brokenhearted Big Apple …Queens’ new City Councilmembers got down to the
business of keeping campaign promises, and the Tribune came home
again – back into the hands of its founders. Queens welcomed a new Borough
President and a Queens jury sent the man behind the Wendy’s massacre to
death row, and the sound of bagpipes continued to fill the air as Queens
laid to rest its heroes – victims of Sept. 11.
Tribune “went on the road” for a day with the new Borough Beep
Helen Marshall…a Steinway Street bridal shop went bust, leaving dozens of
brides in tatters…attorneys for the alleged mastermind in the Wendy’s
massacre challenged indictments charging John Taylor with the
crimes…transit activist Stephen Dobrow passed away. The Woodside resident
battled for and won better conditions for straphangers.
moved forward for a new elementary school at the Queens College site…and
crime was down in Queens neighborhoods, but assaults rose in the schools.
rain or snow – or a wildcat bus strike, kept Queensites from getting where
they had to go…controversy swirled around a move by the Queens Women’s
Center…Phoebe Su arrived 15 minutes after midnight on Jan. 1, making her
the borough’s first baby of 2002.
Astoria Theater turned down its lights for the last time on Jan. 1. The
Theater had opened in November 1920.
Maspeth’s Marine, First Lieutenant Charles Hermosa, landed in Kandahar, ready to battle the forces of terrorism.
mystery rash sent students at Richmond Hill’s P.S. 69 home for several
days…Mayor Mike announced plans to march in Queens at St. Patrick’s Day
groundhogs Flushing Phil and Corona Kate predicted six more weeks of
winter…Glendale’s Michael Voudouris headed for Salt Lake City to compete
in the Olympics…and Krispy Kreme began baking donuts in Astoria.
paved the way for a mayoral takeover of the Board of Education…Queens bus
drivers walked off the job again...and Sarah Hughes stole hearts and a gold
medal in figure skating at the Olympics and Trib Assistant Editor
Stephen McGuire featured the Jamaica business that made Sarah’s skates…
Tribune’s annual “Guide To Queens” hit the stands on March
7…Queens marked the six-month anniversary of the World Trade Center
attacks through a series of services and memorials, and we gazed into the
skies to view the “Towers of Light” memorial that rose from Ground
Zero…Queens Firefighter George Johnson was one of three of New York’s
Bravest depicted on a postage stamp unveiled in March…Johnson helped raise
the flag at Ground Zero following the attacks.
publisher Mike Schenkler kept us informed – and amused with his “Not For
Publication” column, and the Trib’s “QConfidential” page kept
tattlin’…the body of Police Officer Moira Smith was found amid the
rubble at Ground Zero on March 20. The Queens Village mom was the only
female police victim of Sept. 11.
Angela Montefinise interviewed Army Sgt. David Wurtz who came home to
College Point with a Purple Heart he earned in Afghanistan.
judge in the Wendy’s massacre trial decided jurors should stay away from
the fast food restaurants while they heard the case…and plans were drawn
for the redistricting of some Queens Assembly and State Senate districts.
faces and more powerful bats promised a winning season for Mets fans who
gathered at the team’s home opener on April 1, and the Trib pulled
another “April Fool’s” joke on readers.
got more cops, and the Trib told readers where and why…proposed
cutbacks at Queens firehouses steamed residents…and the Trib
learned that plans for a new skating rink at Flushing Meadows Park were
was upgraded to the tune of $5 million at JFK and LaGuardia Airports…Queensites
sat in the dark during sporadic power outages…and the Trib spoke
with the wives of firefighters from Maspeth’s HazMat and Squad 288 who
were lost on Sept. 11.
10 was marked for the opening of jury selection in the Wendy’s massacre
trial…former Flushing Councilmember
Julia Harrison tossed her hat into the State Senate race…Minnesota-born
Dr. James Muyskens was named the new president of Queens College…and the Trib
featured the opening of “Spiderman” on the silver screen. Spidey’s
alias is Peter Parker, hails from Forest Hills.
Trib celebrated motherhood with its annual “Mother of the Year”
contest…and Queensite Robert DeCanio headed to the South Pacific to
compete on CBS TV’s Survivor: Marquesas.”
facelift was in the works for Shea Stadium…a Jackson Heights man was
fingered as a Nazi concentration camp guard…Queens teachers took to the
picket line in an informal strike protest…and mother nature turned up the
heat, raising questions about the return of West Nile mosquitoes.
Neighbors of Queens power plants expressed their concern about terrorist strikes and other catastrophes at the sites…a compromise paved the way for the Queens Women’s Center to remain at Fort Totten…officials prepared for terrorist alerts over the Memorial Day holiday…and the Trib told the story of a Beechhurst iron worker who cut down the last beam at Ground Zero.
Tribune welcomed its newest addition on June 6...Alyssa Rose Procanyn
came into the world, the daughter of Trib Production Manager Lianne
Procanyn and husband, Walter...The City’s top cop spoke in Long Island
City about crime and terrorism…the Trib examined 40 years of
“Lets Go Mets,” and a Bayside chef turned in his apron for Army
Engineer Andrew Follender headed for Afghanistan…The Trib reported
on crooked tow operations in its feature, “Tow Truck Drivers From
Hell…and we examined the City’s blueprint for fighting “2002” West
city’s former top cop, Ben Ward, died. Ward, a Whitestone resident,
“loved” the borough…residents packed the streets of Howard Beach to
bid farewell to their beloved “Johnny” after John Gotti died on June 10
in a federal lockup…control of the Board of Education went to the mayor,
and the Trib featured Queens “10 Most Wanted.”
Firefighters and officials gathered to remember three of New York’s Bravest, killed in the June 17, 2001 fire at an Astoria hardware store, and Queensites went to the exhibits instead of firing-up their own fireworks on July 4.
Tribune’s annual “Best of Queens” issue hit the streets on July
11...College Point residents said they were to resort to baseball bats to
keep their streets safe, and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown mourned
the passing of his mother, Betty.
A building under construction in Corona collapsed under the weight of materials stored at the site…later on the same day, a crane collapsed into the State Supreme Court building in Jamaica – shutting the courthouse for more than 36 hours.
boat crash on Little Neck Bay left one man dead...
Nile virus returned to Queens, in a College Point mosquito pool...and
borough residents were introduced to a “cyber” system of tracking local
Queens bus strike that began on June 17 continued, stranding borough
straphangers who were forced to find alternate means of transportation…
controversy surrounded planned renovations at the Queens Museum of Art…and
transformers at two Queens power plants went up in smoke in the midst of a
horrendous heat wave.
Bryant High School alumni Joel Klein stepped up to the plate as the City’s new Schools Chancellor…a couple charged with kidnapping a Queens boy in 1979 went to prison.
Queens bus strike came to a screeching halt on Aug. 7…a strict new dress
code rattled employees at Queens libraries, and investigators continued to
probe a July 4 airplane incident in the Rockaways.
officials announced plans to establish borough commands – much like those
operated by the NYPD…trucks hit the streets to spray Queens against West
Nile mosquitoes…and two men were arrested in the 1999 murder of a
Quinnepac College student Samiya Haqiqai disappeared on her way home to
stats were in – and they said, very clearly, that Queens stinks…area
power plants were called the culprits…Whitestone Firefighter Thomas
Casoria was laid to rest, 11 months after he perished at the World Trade
Center…and former Queens prosecutor Norman Jay Rosen passed away.
at New York Hospital of Queens accepted kudos for their work to help develop
breakthrough vaccine that may aid victims of West Nile disease…the Skyway
Motel became a homeless shelter, and the Trib broke the story of
former City Councilmember Julia Harrison who moved campaign funds into her
An Egyptian native was nabbed at JFK Airport for selling fake IDs to two of the Sept. 11 terrorists…it was official – the WIZ WUZ – all three of the chain’s Queens stores shut down to save money...inmates moved out of the Men’s House of Detention in Kew Gardens, as the prison was closed...and Schools Chancellor Joel Klien came to Queens.
came a little closer to hosting athletes and some of the 2012 Olympic
Games…Queens voters didn’t know where to go to vote in primary
elections, after new polling places were assigned by the Board of Election.
officials declared that P.S. 65 in Ozone Park was safe from contaminants –
and the school would be open to students in September, despite a finding of
toxic water underneath the building, and Queens – along with the rest of
the Big Apple – suffered through one of the City‘s worst droughts ever.
selection began on Sept. 11 in the Wendy’s massacre case. Suspect John
Taylor was facing capital murder charges. Community activists met to discuss
proposals for development at the former site of the Elmhurst Gas Tanks…a
Queens electrician peddled his way to Washington, D.C. from Ground Zero –
in memory of 17 members of Local 3 who were killed in the terrorist
attack...and Queens Middle School 137 was renamed “America’s School of
Heroes” in honor of those lost on Sept. 11.
massacre defendant John Taylor grabbed headlines when his attorney told
prospective jurors, “He did it,” admitting Taylor was guilty…Mayor
Mike announced that city schools would start utilizing the NYPD’s
“Compstat” system to track school crime...reporter Shams Tarek uncovered
the story of a display at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning that
would create a media frenzy – and public outrage ”Falling” depicted
people jumping from the World Trade Center.
exhibit lasted about one week before it was removed.
Mike came to Queens to turndown the volume on noise Bloomberg chose Astoria
to kick-off the City’s “Silent Night” campaign.
Queens City Councilmem-ber Sheldon Leffler vowed to fight charges that he
violated campaign finance laws during his 2001 bid for Queens Borough
President…investigators continued to probe the Sept. 30 derailment of the
AirTrain, as the lone victim, Kevin DeBourgh Jr., was laid to rest…Bobby
Valentine was fired by the NY Mets…
checked out the best Queens motels for a “short stay” as part of our
feature on “Sex And The Borough”…there seemed to be a light at the end
of the tunnel for the embattled RKO Keith’s Theatre as development plans
were announced for the site…crime was down in Queens high schools, but we
still topped the citywide list of school-site felonies…renovations
continued at the NY Hall of Science, and Queens started sending its military
men and women to the Gulf to prepare for another possible war with Iraq.
Bowne High School teacher was dismissed after she admitted a former student
fathered her child…we featured Queens funniest firefighters. The hilarious
heroes took their act on the road to raise funds for Sept.11 families…
City agencies gathered in Long Island City on Oct. 17, to participate in
“war games” – a designed response to terrorist attacks.
Bici was found dead in Mexico. The Queens man skipped town to beat a murder
charge in the 1990 beating death of a gay man in Jackson Heights...the Klein
Farm was taken off the market...and we searched through the borough’s
haunted history for spooky Halloween sightings.
trekked through Long Island City in the annual race…John Taylor went on
trial for his life, as opening arguments were presented in the Wendy’s
massacre case…families of the victims of Flight 587 went to Washington,
D.C. to protest the location of hearings in the October 2001 crash…and Art
Howe came to Queens, to take over as manager of the Mets…
Tribune announced its endorsements of candidates in the November
election, and we remembered Avery Mendez – a homeless man who left an
indelible mark on the borough when he froze to death in Flushing in 1987.
of the largest weekly newspaper group in Queens changed hands as the Queens
Tribune was acquired by an investment group headed by its publisher for
24 years Michael Schenkler and Congressman Gary Ackerman.
sentenced John Taylor to death, the first Queens man to head to death row
since the death penalty was reinstated in 1995…food pantries citywide
appealed for donations to feed the needy...and the Tribune published
its anniversary issue dedicated to the borough’s diversity.
bid farewell to Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay, the hip-hop pioneer who
was murdered at a Jamaica recording studio…officials announced a bleak
future for employees at the School Construction Authority.
a City transit strike looming, the Trib featured alternative methods
of getting around the City while reporter Suzan Lee stayed on top of the
daily strike news...Mike Bloomberg came to Queens to shop on “Black
Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, and the busiest shopping day of the
year…we watched the white stuff fall on Dec. 5 – the first snow Queens
had seen in a year…officials announced a proposed Auxiliary Police Booth
in downtown Flushing so civilian volunteers can keep an eye on activities in
offered Queensites help in finding cold weather assistance... and Trib
shutterbug Dee Richard made the rounds of holiday parties to catch
Queensites for her TribPix page.
Mike came to Queens on Dec. 18 to talk about his first year and to to
highlight his efforts to advance City government efficiency through new
technology...the Richmond Hill Republican Club was landmarked...friends and
families of 77 people killed in traffic accidents on Queens Boulevard
dedicated a memorial in their honor...and straphangers sighed with relief
when the transit strike was averted.
Santa on his way, the Tribune hit the streets in search of sidewalk
Christmas trees...and Mike Bloomberg was back in Queens again...this time to
read Christmas stories and pass along cheer to kids at the Queens Hospital
nabbed five homeless men, charged in the brutal rape and robbery of a Queens
mother in Flushing Meadows Park, and the robbery of her male companion...we
told the story of a Queens woman’s struggle to immigrate to the U.S....
and we bundled up when Mother nature drenched us with rain – then dumped
five inches of the white stuff on us to give the borough its first White
Christmas since 1969.
at the Tribune, have done our best and tried our hardest to bring you
the world of Queens...we hope our efforts help make your home a better,
safer and happier place as you start in New Year.