Magazine article The New Yorker

Fred and Friends

Magazine article The New Yorker

Fred and Friends

Article excerpt

Day One of the David Paterson administration, in Albany, was dominated by exhalations of good will, not least from the Post's Fredric U. Dicker, who had been one of Eliot Spitzer's most persistent, then triumphant, critics (headline of a recent column: "I KNEW HE WAS A FRAUD & A HYPOCRITE"). Dicker, an upstate fixture for thirty years, began his morning radio showbroadcast weekdays from the former Western Union office that is now the Post's Albany bureau, on the third floor of the State Capitol Buildingby playing "Happy Days Are Here Again" and tapping his right foot along with the beat. "A lot of people are singing this today," he said. "What a thrill, what an excitement, what a historical event." In honor of the new governor's swearing-in, Dicker's show was going to run for three hours, instead of one, on Albany's WGDJ. The legislative chamber"the nicest legislative chamber in the country," according to Dickerwas just down the hall, and he hoped to lure in as many passing dignitaries as possible for a chat before the ceremony.

The first to stop by was Senator Chuck Schumer, an occasional call-in guest to the show, who complimented Dicker on his St. Patrick's Day outfitolive suit, green tieand then apologized for not having read Dicker's column that morning. (Dicker had argued that Paterson, also a regular on the show, could be the greatest New York governor since Al Smith.) They both agreed that one of Paterson's strengths is that he "likes people"an implied contrast to Spitzer's coldness. "Nice to see you, Freddy," Schumer said, standing to leave. "Great to do it in person."

The State Senate minority leader, Malcolm Smith, visited Dicker soon after, with his wife, Michele. "I don't know if you saw my column in the New York Post today," Dicker said.

"Yes, I did!" Smith said. "Fred, I couldn't agree with your assessment more."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver came and went ("I looked at it and said, 'Hey, it's not April Fools' yet,' " Silver said of his reaction to news of the Spitzer scandal), followed by the State Senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno. "In their own way, they're all terrific people," Dicker said. Before long Senator Pothole, Alfonse D'Amato, was leaning in the old telegraph-exchange window. "Is that the king?" D'Amato squawked, pointing at Dicker.

"Come back later!" Dicker said. James Tedisco, the Assembly minority leader, was next in line, and while he talked with Dicker about how David Paterson is a "hugger," D'Amato wandered in and began pointing at a photograph on the wall that showed Dicker and him togetherboth bald, and each wearing the other's glasses. …

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