The Newspaper Lady On the Record

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The ribbon cutting of the Glen Cove Record Pilot office at 15 Glen St. in Glen Cove, first floor. Karl Anton is in the photo with Angela Anton, then-Mayor Tom Suozzi, City Court Judge Richard J. McCord, BID executive director Francine Koehler and then-editor Zefy Christopoulos.

When I think about it, my career at Anton Community Newspapers as editor/reporter with the Glen Cove Record Pilot began during a Glen Cove City Council meeting held in the former City Hall/Court building on Bridge Street (currently the Glen Cove Police Department headquarters). I found myself seated next to Maggie Polk, who at the time was the editor of the Record Pilot; I was a reporter with the Record Pilot’s competitor. Both of us were covering a rather contentious, campaign-season city council meeting. Sure enough, we struck up a conversation when Maggie, pointing to my business card, asked me if I was Greek. I said yes, that’s my heritage. She responded, “My daughter married a Greek and is living on a Greek island.” A lasting friendship was founded based upon our respect for one another and the English language, lively political conversations and, most of all, the friendship lasted because of our love for Glen Cove. Upon her retirement in 1991, Maggie recommended me to Mr. Karl Anton, the publisher/owner of Anton Community Newspapers. I interviewed with him and he immediately hired me. Mr. Anton was emphatic that the Record Pilot cover only local news. I promised him I would and my 10-year career with the Record Pilot was launched.

The Record Pilot office was located within Glen Floors on Glen Street, which meant I became part of the Capobianco and Nelson extended family. My Glen Floors family offered me great history lessons about our city. And quite a few jokes…the head-shaking, corny kind. Now that I think about it, once you become active in any Glen Cove organization, school activity or local business, it’s practically certain that you will make friends. And those friends who are born and raised in Glen Cove are a treasure trove of our city’s history which I would include in many of my news stories. I learned from David Zatlin that the current building that is home to the First Baptist Church on Continental was originally the Congregation Tifereth Israel house of worship and I remember noting that in a story. I first learned about a football wedding from Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Troffa who came to me to announce their 50th wedding anniversary. The remarkable and heroic stories of Glen Cove’s men and women in uniform—those who came home and those who did not—were provided by Angelo “Cappy” Capobianco. He was the one who told me about Anthony and Rose Marangiello: his survival of the Bataan death march and her being a “Rosie the Riveter” in World War II. Cappy also told me the story of how two Glen Cove soldiers, both from the Orchard neighborhood, amazingly found each other when they were both in a POW camp and when they returned home to Glen Cove, they remained friends for life. It was Vincent “Jimmy” Suozzi who led the way in finding the deed to the Coles School back when parents and the Coles School neighborhood mobilized to keep the building as a school. The story I wrote was as much about keeping the building as a school as it was about Jimmy Suozzi finding the deed after an extensive search.

The cover of the Sept. 13, 2001 Glen Cove Record Pilot

Glen City Hall (and my drop box) was eventually relocated to temporary space at 15 Glen St., right across the street from my office, which made picking up press releases and photos (hard copy photos at the time—digital wasn’t available yet) quick and easy. As soon as copies of the latest edition of the Record Pilot were delivered to my office, I would bring a few to city hall, and during one of my drop-off runs, the building department administrator, Neil McNaughton, (now happily retired), named me “The Newspaper Lady.” I loved it.

I soon realized that to be designated the official newspaper of Glen Cove, which meant prestige and revenue for the Record Pilot, I had to find visible office space in downtown Glen Cove. City Hall again was being relocated to its current location, a transformed bank building, and prime space became available in 15 Glen St., ground floor, with a window facing the street. The window served me well. People would peak inside and I would tell them to come in for conversation, story ideas and sometimes just a friendly ear. I had many headline moments during my tenure with the Record Pilot. A fund raiser for the Glen Cove Youth Bureau was held at the Killenworth Mansion, the Russian Federation summer residence on Dosoris Lane. I had the privilege of attending as a reporter and meeting Russia’s current Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, who at the time was the Russian Ambassador at the United Nations. Dennis Tito, who funded his own trip into space, came to Glen Cove and wow, did he have a story to tell. Dennis, by the way, is Rose and Anthony Marangiello’s nephew. Meeting Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Hilary Clinton was interesting. They each separately visited Glen Cove for press events focused on the environment and cleanup of the waterfront. I remember meeting New York Times photographer Vic Delucia when we were both perched and ready to take pictures of the Wah Chang (LiTungsten) smokestack demolition. It was wonderful to learn he lived in Glen Cove. We were able to share quite a few stories whenever we ran into each other at the supermarket.

Speaking of supermarket…I am so proud that, to this day, it takes me at least two hours to finish grocery shopping. It’s because I had the unique opportunity to meet so many of my neighbors while I was with the Record Pilot. My byline was on stories about school board meetings, board of zoning appeals meetings, planning board meetings and city council meetings. Feature stories on our local veterans, children succeeding, philanthropic events and individual outstanding achievements always made the paper. Needless to say, I was quite pleased when the New York Press Association awarded me second place for my coverage of educational matters in Glen Cove.

I was humbled when my story and photo were included in the New York Press Association’s book published in tribute to all who perished on Sept. 11, 2001. That day was a beautiful Tuesday morning, puffy clouds in the sky. It was Primary Day and I was on deadline. This meant I was in my office at 7:30 a.m. getting all last minute copy ready for delivery to Mineola and then I had to be back in Glen Cove for a “hold the presses” story on the election. I had the radio on, tuned to 1010 WINS. As I was packing up to leave Glen Cove, I heard the words “a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center.” I remember thinking that it must have been a small plane and please God, let’s hope for the best. Another thought that crossed my mind is that the Glen Cove High School Class of 2001 (my son’s class) had their prom at Windows on the World just two months ago.

Former editor Zefy Christopoulos covered local news for a decade.

As the day’s tragic events unfolded, I first located my family and made sure they were safe. I then drove to Mineola and entered the Anton Community Newspapers production offices. It was around 10 a.m. One of our page designers was being comforted by our colleagues. Her sister-in- law was a flight attendant in the first plane that hit the World Trade Center. The Great Neck editor was frantic because her daughter was on a plane out of Washington, D.C. The advertising executive just got word that her daughter just gave birth to her first child. My fellow editors and I were trying to get as much information about the World Trade Center/Pentagon/Pennsylvania situation as possible while making every attempt to help each other understand what was happening.

I was notified that city hall was going to be a help/comfort center for evacuees transported by high speed ferry from downtown Manhattan. The first ferry would leave Glen Cove with doctors, first responders, nurses and our EMS volunteers and then return with survivors who would be transported by bus to City Hall to contact their loved ones and somehow get help arranging a way to get home. I left Mineola and drove to the Glen Cove ferry terminal, reporter’s notebook in hand and ready to assist.

As soon as I arrived at the terminal, I put down the notebook and got to work helping in any way I could. I knew I would not have to take notes or remember names to write the story that I was now living and experiencing first hand. At one point, I noticed Carmine Anzalone, a city hall employee I would talk to on my newspaper delivery rounds, sitting on a bench. He was distraught, sobbing. I asked him if I could somehow help him. Carmine told me his son worked in downtown Manhattan and he hadn’t heard from him. Carmine was convinced that his son wasn’t coming home to Glen Cove. The best I could do was to sit with my friend, hold his hand and try to comfort him and urge him to have faith. The first ferry came with evacuees and the news was disheartening. The second ferry arrived a bit later with more people bringing catastrophic updates. And it brought Carmine Anzalone’s son, covered with dust, frightened, but home safe and sound.

There is so much more to tell but I think that would take up too much space and many gallons of ink. My experience as the Record Pilot editor and reporter, the friends I made at work and in my hometown and the new career path that was presented to me because of my Newspaper Lady decade are priceless. I am truly indebted to the late Maggie Polk and to the late Karl V. Anton, Jr. for having confidence in me and allowing me to add my byline to the Glen Cove Record Pilot.

Happy Anniversary, Glen Cove Record Pilot. Here’s to the next 100 years of headlines.

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