Magazine article The New Yorker

ON THE TRIB; REUNION; REUNION Series: 2/5

Magazine article The New Yorker

ON THE TRIB; REUNION; REUNION Series: 2/5

Article excerpt

When a hundred or so veterans of the New York Herald Tribune showed up the other night at their former headquarters to mark the fortieth anniversary of the newspaper's demise, the most conspicuously absent fixtures (other than, say, the peerless Red Smith or the elegantly wry Charles Portis or the legendary city editor Stanley Walker) were the printing presses. From 1924 to 1966, the Trib occupied eight floors at 230 West Forty-first Street. The publisher John Hay Whitney's private dining room was on eight, business offices were on six and seven, the city room was on five, makeup on four, presses on three and two, delivery trucks on one--the whole news enterprise laced with pneumatic tubes and animated by the conviction that, in a town teeming with dailies, the Trib was the best written and best edited and, except on lousy days, the most fun.

Guests emerged from elevators on the third floor and, instead of pulsating noise and the aromas of ink, oil, and solvent, found a pleasantly humming, mostly white-haired crowd, polishing well-travelled anecdotes in freshly renovated space now occupied by the new graduate school of journalism of the City University of New York. In other words, the setting was unrecognizable. To avoid the same problem with each other, everyone wore a nametag--the indispensable at any reunion, along with medicinal refreshments.

For more than a decade after the paper closed--the final final edition was printed April 24, 1966--annual gatherings were held at Bleeck's, the conveniently situated refuge once described by a feature writer as "a stein's throw from the Herald Trib."After a fire at Bleeck's, the venue shifted to Sardi's. The thirtieth was held at the incongruously sedate Century Association, and at that point everyone decided that it was time to stop being sentimental.

The coincidence of the fortieth anniversary and the opening of the new journalism school, however, seemed irresistible. The school's dean, Stephen Shepard, delivered welcoming remarks, in which he noted that CUNY offers the only publicly funded graduate school of journalism in the Northeast. Another speaker was Richard Wald, the Trib's last managing editor, who observed that the school "will try to do a lot of things that you can't do anymore. …

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