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The New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo recalls 50 years on the job



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Reward the Lord, the vacation season marked my fiftieth anniversary of working on the New York Publish.

It’s uncommon for a journalist to stay on the similar newspaper for even 10 years, a lot much less a half-century. It wasn’t even widespread in 1972 once I first set foot in The Publish’s smelly, ink- and ash-stained newsroom at 210 South Avenue.  

There’s a narrative behind my loyalty to “America’s Oldest Repeatedly Printed Each day Based by Alexander Hamilton in 1801” — and its loyalty to me. Nevertheless it’s a narrative inside a bigger story: The New York Publish’s equally inconceivable survival by way of 5 a long time of turmoil and at the least 4 near-death experiences.

The possession has modified 4 instances since my first day on the job. In the meantime, the Large Apple has modified so dramatically that the town of even 20 years in the past is tough for the younger and newly arrived to grasp  — a lot much less the peak-murder yr of 1990 that noticed 2,245 homicides (in contrast with 434 in 2022).

Ever attuned to the town’s altering fortunes, The Publish known as out corruption in Metropolis Corridor and within the corridors of company energy. It challenged the prevailing left-liberal orthodoxy. And it has defied loss of life repeatedly, mocking detractors who forecast our doom. 

Steve Cuozzo in 1993
Steve Cuozzo in 1993.
New York Publish

No episode in our tumultuous historical past rivaled the two-month “carnival” of winter 1993 when The Publish fell beneath the management of two maniacs: monetary fraudster Steven Hoffenberg and C-list actual property mogul Abe Hirschfeld.

Each males later went to jail. However first, we Posties endured abuse that climaxed within the well-known employees mutiny of March 13, 1993, and our entrance web page with a weeping Alexander Hamilton two days later. I stood with my colleagues within the writer’s workplace to face down Hirschfeld, who deliberate to consolidate all six flooring of our operations, from supply vehicles to newsroom, onto one ground.

A New York Occasions photograph confirmed me and my late colleague Marc Kalech pointing defiantly at Hirschfeld. The picture the subsequent day helped to solidify employees resolves — and pave the way in which for Rupert Murdoch’s return.

Cuozzo (right) and co-worker Marc Kalech standing up against The Post's then management in 1993.
Cuozzo (proper) and co-worker Marc Kalech standing up towards The Publish’s then administration in 1993.
Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Occasions/Redux

Murdoch, who first bought the paper in 1976 after which offered it in 1988 as a consequence of federal media laws, was nowhere on the horizon once I first got here to The Publish within the final icebound week of 1972. The paper was a liberal-to-a-fault, favourite learn that performed to the views of its overwhelmingly Democratic readership. Pages have been assembled in a dirty composing room the place the groan of Nineteenth-century linotype machines shared the din with the thud of picket mallets on metal web page frames.

The newsroom was a cloud chamber of cigar and cigarette smoke. We didn’t see our first newsroom computer systems till 1978 when mammoth, 18-inch-long “video show terminals” offered tales in four-by-five rectangles.

I used to be in government editor Roger Wooden’s workplace in April 1983 when newsroom editor Vincent Musetto strolled in with the thought for what would grow to be essentially the most well-known headline within the metropolis’s historical past, “Headless Physique in Topless Bar.” I advised mates that moments like that made the place an excessive amount of enjoyable to depart.

Visiting PS 46 in The Bronx. The Post got its first computers in 1978.
Cuozzo visited PS 46 in The Bronx. The Publish obtained its first computer systems in 1978.

I’ve accomplished so many alternative roles beneath so many alternative homeowners and editors, I obtained to alter jobs with out the nuisance of going for interviews.

My bosses and colleagues have been a colourful bunch. Wooden addressed all girls as “beautiful ones” and all males as “expensive boys.” (This was a very long time in the past.) To Frank Devine, our columnist Miranda Devine’s dad who labored for each Murdoch and Kalikow, every proprietor was merely “the proprietor.” Former TV government Jerry Nachman ran conferences as if he have been nonetheless at CBS Information. “Counterprogramming!” he yelled at his troops.

Former editor-in-chief Col Allan’s midnight e-mails scorched our onerous drives. However we cheered wildly when he entered native pub Langan’s in triumph the day in 2006 when The Publish lastly overtook the Each day Information in circulation.

Various New York Post covers
Cuozzo stated that then-newsroom editor Vincent Musetto had the thought for what would grow to be essentially the most well-known headline within the metropolis’s historical past, “Headless Physique in Topless Bar.”

Swashbuckling metro editor Steve Dunleavy used to cellphone in instructions from our “Langan’s bureau.” In the meantime, three feminine employees members proudly recognized as witches. I dated considered one of them and stay beneath a spell for years after her demise.

Employed as a city-room copy boy, I slid into the leisure division, a gig that didn’t pay a lot better however got here with free Broadway and film tickets. Again within the metropolis room as a duplicate editor, I cleaned up crime dispatches that reporters filed on five-editions-a-day deadlines.

However as soon as, once I was nonetheless in a trial run for the job, I did not catch that an vital phrase was lacking in a headline on the proof, so it stated {that a} Nineteen Seventies politician pleaded responsible relatively than not responsible. I anticipated it was my final day within the newspaper enterprise. However, “Hey,  all of us do it typically,” the boss reassured me.

Trying out a grasshopper sandwich as The Post's restaurant critic.
Attempting out a grasshopper sandwich as The Publish’s restaurant critic.
NY Publish Brian Zak

That I used to be the slowest and worst web page designer since Benjamin Franklin’s print store one way or the other escaped discover, and I miraculously discovered my method into high jobs within the leisure, options, and enterprise departments.

My assignments coincided with momentous instances. In leisure, for instance, when Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov introduced classical ballet to the lots within the Nineteen Seventies, a stroke of fortune put my very own identify to gentle. My very first byline story — a couple of Joffrey Ballet star who shaped a brand new firm — was briefly mounted above the sidewalk exterior Metropolis Heart on West fifty fifth Avenue. They put it there as a result of no precise ballet critic thought the information was vital sufficient to jot down about. I want we had digital camera telephones then, however I’ll carry the reminiscence into the subsequent life.

I ran the enterprise pages throughout Wall Avenue’s go-go Nineteen Eighties. Tipped off that an obscure junk-bond dealer named Michael Milken had successfully taken management of the funding financial institution Drexel Burnham Lambert — and Wall Avenue — I remade the part cowl on deadline. Yelling “sooner, sooner” to a terrified reporter, I precipitated our 750,000-copy press run to be an hour late. No person appeared to thoughts. The news got here first.

Airplane food was put to the taste test by Cuozzo and late coworker Braden Keil.
Airplane meals was put to the style check by Cuozzo and late coworker Braden Keil.
Victoria Will

I supervised our gossip columns within the age when larger-than-life figures resembling Donald Trump and Leona Helmsley strutted like colossi within the media. Pals thought my job was glamorous. Cindy Adams’ innumerable scoops made it enjoyable, just like the time she and Hillary Clinton have been thrown out of a membership in 1997. Nevertheless it was as typically harrowing.

Society columnist Suzy (actual identify Aileen Mehle) wrote a couple of gala get together she supposedly attended on the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork. Sadly, not one of the bold-faced attendees she stated have been there may truly be noticed. Suzy had filed the column from Anguilla, counting on a week-old record of invitees. “I’m certain it was a masked ball,” I gamely defended her.

Quickly after we moved uptown to Rockefeller Heart in 1995, Reneée Zellweger popped into our Sixth Avenue foyer to complain that an merchandise on Web page Six made her sound “slutty.” Web page Six chief Richard Johnson went down to listen to her out. He later cracked, “We’d like a  sales space within the foyer in order that they don’t have their legal professionals name.”

Of a plant-based chopped cheese sandwich Cuozzo wrote: "Its mushy-here, crunchy-there mouthfeel evoked genuine 1 a.m. bodega desperation."
Of a plant-based chopped cheese sandwich Cuozzo wrote: “Its mushy-here, crunchy-there mouthfeel evoked real 1 a.m. bodega desperation.”
Tamara Beckwith/New York Publish

In 1998, I used to be forged into the position of a restaurant critic. The town’s sclerotic meals institution hardly seen me till, in 2000, I annihilated French megastar chef Alain Ducasse’s new restaurant ADNY, the place friends got a selection of fifty pens to signal astronomical payments. It was, I wrote, “essentially the most arrogantly launched restaurant  within the historical past of the world.”

My brash assault on essentially the most celebrated chef on Earth drew reward and rage, from the New York Occasions to TV exhibits in Paris.

A detractor as soon as known as me a “jack of all tirades,” a diss I regard as an honor.

Around 1995, Renée Zellweger showed up at The Post to protest being referred to as "slutty" in print.
Round 1995, Renée Zellweger confirmed up at The Publish to protest being known as “slutty” in print.
Ron Galella Assortment through Getty

I took essentially the most satisfaction from my protection of the town’s restoration after 9/11. I known as for swift World Commerce Heart reconstruction even whereas many “specialists” have been insisting the 16 acres be used for reasonably priced housing. Even former 9/11 hero Rudy Giuliani needed the positioning left empty as a memorial. Scores of my tales and columns have been later displayed on the partitions of the AIA Heart for Structure on La Guardia Place.

Steve Cuozzo
Cuozzo checks out the World Commerce Heart development scenario in 2004 as the brand new towers are began to rise.

Three World Commerce Heart obtained an important help from me when it desperately wanted it. The 80-story skyscraper was stalled on the seventh ground over a financing dispute when the Port Authority balked over a mortgage settlement for the remainder of the tower’s development.

The piece I wrote on March 17, 2014 — “Blocking 3 World Commerce Heart Deal a Unhealthy Concept” — obtained the eye of former Gov. George Pataki. Larry Silverstein obtained his mortgage assure. The story is mounted in a personal show the developer retains of his Commerce Heart historical past on the tower’s high ground.

Citi Bikes, wacky food, Pokémon Go — Cuozzo is willing to try anything.
Cuozzo is keen to strive something, together with Citi Bikes, wacky meals, and Pokémon Go.
Helayne Seidman

Like a lot of my era, I seethe once I go a Occasions Sq. “newsstand” that sells no newspapers. However nothing from the print period compares with the immediacy of response and wider publicity that digital transmission makes attainable.

A satirical column I wrote final summer season about New Yorkers silly sufficient to maneuver to Florida drew practically 400,000 on-line web page clicks. Almost 500 readers posted feedback on our web site. A whole lot of emails to me confirmed that I’d struck a nerve. Dozens of different media retailers linked to the column incalculably amplifying its attain. All these, along with our every day 160,000 print circulation.

Thirty years in the past, such a column might need drawn a dozen letters to the editor and some cranky cellphone calls.

An automat revival did not escape Cuozzo's notice.
An automat revival didn’t escape Cuozzo’s discover.
Astrid Stawiarz

Librarians as soon as pored by way of microfilm to dig up outdated tales. At the moment, anybody can use the search field on to dig up each phrase I, or every other Publish author has filed since December 1998.

At a current dinner with my buddy and former Publish editorial web page editor Bob McManus, I wanted to change a narrative I had filed that afternoon. It took me a minute to do it on my iPhone.

“Rather a lot simpler than after we went into the composing room,” I remarked. Bob agreed.

However in a profound method, nothing had modified. We nonetheless have been reporters and editors doing our greatest to “diffuse among the many individuals appropriate data on all attention-grabbing topics,” as Alexander Hamilton wrote in his founding manifesto.

At the moment we name it “telling reality to energy.” It’s been an journey doing that for a half century and I’m privileged to be a part of it.

Fifty years extra, please.