Pete Hamill passed yesterday.
As a writer, a newspaper guy and a human being … he seemed to have a good run. Myself, I liked his magazine work. The ones I have kept, have mostly been Esquire. Many reprinted in my favorite Hamill book PIECEWORK… The Esquire piece ENDGAME (1994) about journalism as it bleeds to death from fame, fortune, opportunism, meaningless educations … is there with my favorite Hamill quote: “ Good taste lies up the block with an ax in its back.”
So an epitaph in another epitaph. In a alley, blowing in the twilight, a tabloid sheet, looking for a puddle.
It’s the raison d’être … for a journalist, newspaper folks, for their “papers” to be quoted for meaning… these quotes are from The New York Daily News notice… where once upon a time, Pete Hamill was the editor.
“One of the best days in my life is when I got my first press pass,” he once recalled fondly. “To be a newspaperman is one of the best educations in the world.”
“There’s no one New York,” Hamill said in 2007. “There’s multiple New York’s. Anybody who sits and says ‘I know New York’ is from out of town.”
Hamill, in his book “Downtown: My Manhattan,” recounted the day his mother walked him onto the Brooklyn Bridge as the city skyline shimmered in the morning sun.“Sure, you remember Peter,” his mom told the awestruck lad. “You’ve seen it before. It’s Oz.”
“And so it was, no matter how hard I tried to escape,” he wrote …
He finally received his Regis High School diploma in 2010, 60 years after he dropped out.
“Anybody who sits and says ‘I know New York’ is from out of town.” Pete Hamill
Pete Hamill writing in ENDGAME:
“In the end , history should be history, not an alibi.”.
Vaclav Havel:”Lying can never save us from another lie.”
“Otherwise, its black hat & white hats. Us against Them. Me against you.
Pete Hamill concluding ENDGAME
Now I can add: Since this began in Facebook.
Feeling rotten … head full asthma’s singing a humid summer song … left my cottage – Drove to Quakertown …managed to get a Daily News … last one yesterday nite … times have changed … don’t think the change is doing me good. Fractured from a bar song remembered from the INQUIRER .. an OK bar, I never liked. Not the same as the old News Agency I’d buy a dozen Inquirer Mags or first delivery News Stands … usually off Times Square for the Sunday Times. I worked features … stuff would come out about every 2 weeks. ….This was a corporate Giant Grocery … in time of plague.
There: New Yorks Hometown Paper … Pete Hamill and a cover headline THINKING MANS LIFE … a play at his old shop on his book Drinking Man’s Life. Smile beneath my mask. Feel like I lost a friend… all the folks on the train reading the News & the Post. (also tabloids had a better racing section which supported the bookies) … always worked broadsheets myself.
There it was on the seat om my truck: NY Daily News New York’s Hometown Paper best yet … a last beau geste FINAL METRO EDITION. Tip of the Dodger’s hat to afternoon deadline folks. “Fuckin’ bastard moved the bums to LA. ” ) Old Brooklyn curse.
Guy was sure elegant without the lace… got My Manhattan (Hamill’) copy in the salvation army in Kansas city … read it in the airport along with the Kansas City Star. Whole mess of smiling wiseguys. Makes me laugh, even the ones I couldn’t stand. And surely do miss ’em. (Did I send it to Evelyn?)
Miss old New York. These days, only feels like that when it rains.
copyright on my portions HSH. Quote belong to the folks that wrote them … how smart do you have to be to get that one?
Note … first photographs are from Easton Pa. Reminds me of old NYC when I was a kid. Bottom …. Village when it rains … after a memeorial for Edith & Phil Leonian … at their last studio on 13th street. Done with my old Epson Ranger finder that took the lenses for my Leicas when didgital arrive. Just began replacing them … my Leica’s care for by Marty Forcher’s crew at Professional Camera Repair in the Diamond district… 47th street. Gone like my process lab Professional Color in old Philadelphia. Some of the Lenses been with me since I was a kid at the Phila Inquirer Magazine. Work on the new cameras also. Do like these results. Shall see …
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