Year In Review
Mother Nature wasn’t kind to us – nor were the "powers" that be.
Winter 2003 was bone-chilling, nose-frozen frigid, with more than 50 inches of the white stuff dumped on Queens. A major malfunction pulled the plug on us on Aug. 14, leaving Queens – and most of the northeast – in the dark for up to 24 hours as we sweated it out.
We mourned two of our bravest, and welcomed a new Trib baby. We dealt with budget cuts that closed one borough firehouse, and almost cut library hours and garbage pickups.
We watched with the rest of
the world as the United States captured the "Butcher of Baghdad,"
and kept close watch on our Queens neighbors sent overseas to fight in the
A 79-year-old Douglaston man faced deportation after the feds fingered him as a Nazi…Neighbors of the NYPD Queens South Task Force rallied to keep the cops at their 73rd Avenue headquarters…Express bus service for eastern Queens residents was saved from Bloomberg’s budget ax, thanks to a fare hike…
The stage was set to transform the RKO Richmond Hill Theater into a branch of the Museum of Sound Recording… Former City Councilmember and borough President candidate Sheldon Leffler pleaded not guilty in January to charges that he accepted illegal campaign contributions…It was "Blue Lights Out" at Kmart, as the retailer filed for bankruptcy and shuttered its Glen Oaks store…A proposal for a catering hall at Fort Totten gave local residents agata…
Queens’ new Borough President, Helen Marshall, outlined her plans for 2003…A Queens jury sent Wendy’s massacre mastermind John Taylor to New York State’s Death Row…
Queens flew its flags at half-mast to mourn the shuttle crew….City Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr., said it was time for New York City to secede from New York State…State environmental officials moved forward with their plan to have Phelps-Dodge shell-out $19 million to clean its former Maspeth plant…
More than 30 Queens schools were added to the list of "most improved"… Queens residents and straphangers did their best to adopt to counterterrorism enforcement…
It began with a few flakes and buried us on Feb. 17. The big blizzard dumped 28 inches of the white stuff on Queens, shutting us down for a day…Firefighters at Engine Co. 261 in Dutch Kills battled a five-alarm blaze, a roof collapse and a blast at a Con Ed facility on the day of the blizzard. Ironically, 261 was later shut down by the City’s budget ax...
Queens got flu shots and $37 million for our West Nile "battle of the bugs."…
The NBC series "Third Watch" filmed a segment in Dutch Kills…Con Ed removed a utility pole from the middle of a Kew Gardens street…The Trib followed-up on sinking homes in Jamaica Hills...
Queens was a big winner when school officials annouced 20,000 new seats in the borough...the Steinway Piano company turned 150 years old...
Queens went to war, and the Tribune kept readers informed on security and our neighbors who went to Iraq to fight…
Actor Adrien Brody cast the Queens family of Army Reservist Tommy Zarobinski into the spotlight at the Academy Award ceremonies in April…Gary Anthony Ramsay, a columnist for the Trib’s sister publication, The Southeast Queens PRESS, began reporting for Tribune readers from Kuwait…
Tribune account executive Evelyn Gillen gave birth to a son, Nicholas.
Maspeth Marine Robert Marcus Rodriguez, 21, died in combat in Iraq...A pep rally supporting troops overseas was held in Kew Gardens Hills...Flushing man Nat Broizman held a yellow ribbon rally in New Jersey in protest of the town’s policy to confiscate yellow ribbons...The City kicked butt in April, making smokers take themselves to the street to take a drag…
Budget cuts threatened to slice deep into Queens libraries, and communities in two parts of Queens rallied to try to convince Mayor Bloomberg to keep their firehouses open. Bloomberg threatened to shut two Queens houses – in Woodhaven and in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City…The Tribune profiled a heavy metal musician from Fresh Meadows who fought overseas... Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel speaks at Queens College...
Eleven men were arrested and charged on April 23 with stealing $1.6 million worth of mini-liquor bottles from a LaGuardia Airport storage facility – and reselling them to area merchants…A dozen trees in Forest Park were killed by the Asian Longhorned Beetle....
Queens Navy Corpsman Ted Bittle returned home from Iraq with a Purple Heart…A four-foot long alligator was found roaming around Alley Pond Park....
A group of Queens lawyers and realtors were charged with stealing customers’ identities to collect on phony mortgages…A State
Supreme Court Judge ruled that the MTA would have to roll-back transit fares... A good Samaritan found and returned Jackie Russell – the 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier/companion of NY1 News entertainment reporter George Whipple…
After 31 years of delivering lunch to the Tribune, Good Food Deli in Flushing — the place across the street from the Trib’s former office — planned on closing its doors...
Engine 291 in Woodhaven was saved from the budget axe...
The Tribune turned
33 1/3 -years-old and prepared for many more years of covering the news...
A court decision kept Queens school district office open, as reconstruction of the school system moved forward . . . Queens Library supporters pleaded with Mayor Mike Bloomberg to restore cuts to the budget . . . And the city awning law kept changing signs in Queens . . .
Trib newshound Angela Montefinise raised the curtain on plans for a 14-story tower on the site of the RKO Keith’s Theater in Flushing . . . Spraying began in Queens’ annual battle with West Nile mosquitoes as Trib founder, Representative Gary Ackerman, walked his daughter down the aisle at Shea Stadium, and the Mets muddled on . . .
Queens cops kept an eye on the July 4 "bang" . . . A pilot program brought yellow cabs to Queens . . . A strike was averted at a Keyspan plant in Astoria, and a last-minute budget agreement saved the Queens Zoo and lightene the burden on libraries and sanitation cuts . . .
Mayor Mike came to Ridgewood to remind us that the city can help wuth graffiti removal . . . Queens came one step closer to hosting the 2012 Summer Olympic Games . . . We took a peek inside a local group home for adults, and an appeals court said we would have to fork over more bucks to get from here to there on city transit . . .
Astoria resident Fabrizio Rinaldi ate his way to pasta fame on July 5, when he slurped down more than two pounds of pasta – in eight minutes . . . A Queens cop became the hero of City Hall when he shot and killed a man who murdered City Councilmember James Davis on July 22. Police Officer Richard Burt was honored and promoted for his actions, which officials said "saved hundreds of city lives" . . .
New questions came up about West Nile virus in Queens, and the feds decided not to open a homeless shelter at Fort Totten . . .
A Ridgewood soldier lost his life in Iraq. Army Spec. Willfredo Perez, Jr. was killed while guarding a children’s hospital in Ba’quabah . . . Funny lady Whoopie Goldberg began shooting her new sitcom at the Astoria Studios . . . And Victims’ relatives held a vigil on Queens Boulevard . . .
They pulled the plug on us on Aug. 14. With a blip on a grid, we blacked out for almost 24 hours. It was a too-familiar site – Queens residents walking home along bridges and boulevards . . .
A new child abuse prevention center opened in Forest Hills, and Flushing activists took their first step towards creating a Business Improvement District in the area . . .
Queens’ kids hit the books as school bells rang in the new school year . . . There were few surprises on primary night in Queens, with incumbent Councilman Allan Jennings surviving the only real challenge – a candidate run by the Queens Democratic Party . . . Angela Montefinise reported on Queens’ continuing diversity, and the family of a Little Neck hero battled for honors for his Sept. 11 bravery . . .
Queens marked the second anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks with memorials, prayers and quiet remembrance . . . The Trib featured a series of street name changes memorializing the borough’s fallen heroes . . . Firefighters at the Queens HazMat Unit recalled their 19 fallen comrades . . .
A Supreme Court decision allowed XXX-clubs to wiggle in Queens . . . Talks continued on the use of the former Elmhurst Gas Tank site . . . We waited and watched for Hurricane Isabel and the Trib featured the plight of an animal shelter in need of a new home for its homeless pets . . .
Private bus companies threatened service cutbacks in Queens . . . Subway crime plummeted . . . We examined cyberchanges in the postal service, and exposed issues on the RKO Keith’s Theater redevelopment . . .
Bishop Daily bid farewell in a Trib interview . . . Mayor Mike announced "big" changes in traffic on the Grand Central Parkway – part of it opened to trucks . . . Bruce Springsteen rocked Shea Stadium, and the Trib broke the new of a new skycraper planned for Queens Plaza . . .
Angela Montefinise brought her Phi Beta Kappa to a key position at the Trib. beacme the paper’s youngest-ever managing editor brought new energy to the newsroom in October . . . The families of the victims of Flight 587 fought for a permanent memorial at the Belle Harbor crash site . . .
The Trib featured the opening of the Louis Armstrong House in Corona . . . We gave readers an update on the sale of the Klein Farm in Fresh Meadows, and examined controversy over a school book banned in Queens classes . . .
Another crash plagued the AirTrain, and the city reached an agreement to extend leases on LaGuardia and JFK Airports . . . The Concorde took off for the last time over Queens’ skies . . .
Legislation extended private bus service in Queens, as a Woodside man lost his life in the Staten Island Ferry crash . . . Jury selection began in the fraud trial of former Councilman Sheldon Leffler, and the Trib announced endorsements in the upcoming election . . .
The Redbird subway cars were retired, as the Trib called for a permanent Queens memorial for the screeching symbol of borough transit . . . marathoners hit the pavement in the New York City race through Queens, and incumbents won big in the City Council elections . . .
The Trib featured what’s happening in the "rebuilding" of city schools . . . Civics called for a park at the Elmhurst Gas Tanks site, and a Glen Oaks teen was mowed-down by a motorist on a rainy night . . .
Renovations neared completion at Queens Borough Hall, and the Trib broke the news that former City Councilmember Sheldon Leffler was convicted of finance fraud, examining the issues of the case . . .
The Trib explosed "Elevated Surveillance" by the NYPD Counter terrorism cops along Queens subway lines . . .The paper’s bid for a Redbird memorial was put on track by Borough President Helen Marshall . . .
Mets fan "Doris From Rego Park" passed away, and we offered tops on holiday "dos" . . .
The Trib offered an inside look at the behind-the-bars life of Wendy’s massacre mastermind John Taylor, one year after a Queens jury sent him to death row . . . Private bus lines kept rolling along the streets of Queens . . .
Kids ‘R Us stores joined the ranks of retailers gone bust, and a temporary memorial was removed from the crash site of Flight 587 . . .
Officials broke ground for the new automotive training center in College Point, and the Trib Action Desk continued to break through red tape for answers to readers’ questions . . .
"Blessing or Boondoggle" examined the pros and cons of the AirTrain . . . the state issued a pink slip for a Queens Plaza unemployment office . . . Borough President Helen Marshall continued work on her pledge to return a Redbird subway car to a Queens memorial . . .
Students at P.S. 144 in Forest Hills decorated Gracie Mansion for the holidays, and Queens’ rock legend Joey Ramone was honored with a street renaming in Manhattan . . .
The Trib examined violent video games available to youngsters and local support for presidential candidate Howard Dean . . . The Mets signed shortstop Kazuo Matsui, and sparks flew over the possible landmarking of Douglaston Hill . . .
The Queens Historical Society marked its 35th anniversary with a public exhibit of "35 Treasures" of Queens, and the city gave Queens some bucks to battle Asian Longhorned Beetles . . .
The AirTrain took off for its first ride over Queens on Dec. 17 . . . A controversial plan by the city to open an asphalt plant in Willets Point drew sparks from local competitors . . . Convicted ex-councilman Sheldon Leffler showed up at a Community Board 5 meeting on Dec. 10 to act as a spokesperson in a local land use issue. Leffler will be disbarred after his Jan. 9 sentencing on his fraud conviction . . .
The Trib examined proposed rezoning in Northeast Queens, and we buried hero Flushing Firefighter Thomas Brick . . .
A Trib holiday feature took readers on the Fantasy Flight to the North Pole taken by young patients at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park. Santa and Mrs. Claus were at LaGuardia Airport on Dec. 13 to bring Christmas to the kids . . .
Yankee heartthrob Derek Jeter’s organization the Turn Two Foundation gave Queens teens the chance to wrap gifts for underprivledged youngsters . . . A Queens contractor was forced to stop work on the College Point sports complex after the city fired him for doing "shoddy work" . . .
The Trib published its first-ever Immigrant’s Guide to Queens, a how-to listing of municipal and other programs, and the borough braced itself with beefed-up anti-terror measures as Christmas and Hanukah arrived with a terrorist threat . . . We rang in the New Year with anticipation, thanks and traffic checkpoints . . .