I was a freshly-minted, albeit temporary, East Coaster. And one of my first assignments was in the NYC. I was excited as much as I was scared. Which makes sense considering my assignment was to do a story about crime in the Big Apple.
How serious was the crime rate? Forget statistics. One of my cab drivers showed me a small pipe that he had at the ready. It was designed to disabuse anyone who tried to rob him.
“It will hurt them, but not kill them,” he told me earnestly. Exactly how he calibrated that, I will never know. But his comments only added to my fear factor.
Cut to 1PP. Only then I only knew it as the NYPD cop shop. It would be awhile before I learned the nickname for 1 Police Plaza by watching “Law & Order.” So there I was rolling with my clique. A photog. A sound engineer. And a very kindly producer.
On the way in I spotted him casually chatting in front on the building with, well I don’t know. But I knew him. Yes, Mario Cuomo. I instantly recognized him. He smiled, benevolently. I smiled, Jimmy Olsenly. He kindly asked, “What are you doing?” “I am here to do a story about crime in New York City.” Of course I was angling to interview him. My answer was not what he expected. He seemed a bit annoyed. Maybe he expected a softer response because l was wearing pink that day. As for any illusion that I had about getting an impromptu interview, well the gov shut it down right quick. There was not a handler in sight and I knew it was a long shot.I returned to 1PP a few times after that. I couldn’t tell you about subsequent interviewees and I don’t remember the color I was wearing.
I will always remember almost getting an interview Mario Cuomo.
Rest in Peace.