You know that old line, if you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, come sit next to me.
Hey, I’d like to hear some juicy trash, too, but I’ve gotta be careful who I ask to sit down, they might want to talk shit about me.
People talking shit reminds me, The Rockaway Times turns seven on Saturday. Way back, they told me newspapers were dead and lots of other newspapers had tried only to last as long as Lime Bikes. They told me some people might say mean things (i.e. talk shit) and try to sabotage you. They were right. Quick thought: I understand the temptation, but is there ever a case where you make yourself look better by trashing someone else? Ever?
You know who didn’t trash me? Mike Schramm of the Breezy paper, The Pointer. He helped me off the ground and pointed me in the right direction. If Karma is real, he’s got good stuff coming.
But what Mike and nobody else told me was that when things seemed pretty good, a pandemic would strike. Seriously, a pandemic? That was some bullshit.
Disclaimer: I don’t like to curse but some of my girls in The Golden Age Club like a little blue language every once in a blue. And once I get going, forget it, I’m fighting back f-bombs right now.
Anyway, an anniversary edition wouldn’t be an anniversary edition without tripping down memory lane. And tripping out of the starting gate was what we did. The big sign on top of our little office had a typo. It read Rockway Times– not Rockaway– Rockway.
Oh, and an early advertiser wanted to add a coupon: $4 off a dozen cupcakes. We ran an ad that said $4 for a dozen (which equals about 33 cents a cupcake). It was awesomely dumb of me. But soon, I proved even dumber. I ran the wrong ad again the following week. I think that was the low point. I wanted to anxiety eat and was dying for a cupcake but no way was I going in that store.
I felt like quitting, but my salesman, Fred Marino, sold me on staying with it and reminded me that readers were generally happy with the new paper in town. (Fred’s as eager as ever and since he’s only 81, there’s still time for him to reach his potential). Pat McVeigh became my right hand and I got my sea legs. How important was Pat? She tried to retire and I refused.
Katie McFadden started writing for us in August 2014. And now she’s writing the whole paper.
Of course, I couldn’t have done it without unwavering support on the home front. I worked crazy hours, always bordering on going insane but my wife, Kathy, was a rock and helped in direct and subtle ways. I got help from my mother, too. She talked up the paper to friends (The Golden Age girls and Sea Breeze beauties) and businesses and helped with proofreading—which is kind of funny because her obituary in The Rockaway Times had a typo. It was the first sign she’d be missed. And still is.
Honestly, no one had the cold heart to tell me about that typo. But I’ve heard plenty about some others. We meant to report that there was a crab boil but somehow it showed up in the paper as crap boil. We got some shit for that. (Sorry, Mom – but that’s an appropriate use).
Yeah, mistakes, we’ve made a few (ok, too many to count) but the paper has won awards every year at The New York Press Association convention. Pretty good for a free paper. You know what they say, the best things in Rockaway are free. The Rockaway Times is still free and, we say, worth every penny.
I recently flipped through the first few issues and saw that The Wharf, Rockaway Properties, World Champion Karate, Rockaway WISH, Currans, Boarders, Kimball Construction, McManus Mechanical, Walsh Properties, Nicole Frontera, Hot Yoga, and Blue Bungalow Spa (now Spa Rockaway), and Neponsit Realty, Bungalow Bar, UMA’s, Zwerling, and Amstel Auto, Casino Towing, and Nancy Brady Law have stayed with us through 350 weeks or so. And there are many others who’ve been with us for 200 weeks or more. That’s some serious loyalty!
And I’m happy to say we get newcomers all the time. Our Real Estate section is downright robust now.
Plenty of others, businesses and friends, took out ads in the first few weeks, just to be nice, just to give a new business a boost. And I remember who you are!
Oh, we can’t say Happy Anniversary to ourselves without giving a big shout out to the Be Well, Be Happy women (Helen and Paulette) who have written from week one. Sharon Feldman has been sending in recipes since 2014. And Ask The Doc by Pete Galvin arrived in September, 2014 and he’s been with us every week since. For better or worse, sometimes he shows up in the We Get Email section! Mary Ellen Olsen is my new right hand and has my back and that covers a lot.
In that inaugural issue of seven years ago, I said hello to Rockaway and wrote: As for mistakes and growing pains, I’m only making one guarantee. We’ll have this right before the jetties get here. Uh, oh, the pressure’s on now. Those jetties are looking real.
Man, seven years. They say the first six years and eleven months and twenty-nine days are the hardest. I hope so!
By Kevin Boyle