The Transit Workers Union contract expired and an 11-day strike began at 2:01 AM. All subway and bus lines in the city ground to a halt. It was estimated that the city lost $2 million a day in taxes and another $1 million a day in overtime expenses for city employees. Companies in the private sector lost approximately $100 million per day, The TWU accepted a new contract on April 11. The TWU did not strike again until December 20-22, 2005. Also during the month, Long Island Railroad workers staged a 31-hour strike, which also began on April 1.
Street clocks on Steinway Street and Jamaica Avenue are declared New
York City Landmarks.
April 26, 1984
Former St. Albans resident Count Basie died in Hollywood, Florida. William Basie, born in Red Bank, New Jersey, in 1904, originally wanted to play the drums. In the 1920's, Basie moved to Harlem where he met Thomas "Fats" Waller who had a great influence in his style. Waller, who played the pipe organ at the Lincoln Theatre on 125th Street, got to know Basie who was eventually asked to sit along side him at the console. About 1935, the Count Basie Band began to form. At a broadcast of one of their shows, the announcer dubbed him, Count Basie, to compete with other bandleaders such as Duke Ellington. Count Basie's record contract called for no royalties, a deal typical of the record industry's exploitation of jazz musicians. He never got any royalties for such hits as One O'clock Jump, Swingin' the Blues or Jumpin' at the Woodside. The band's lightness and precision set the tone for modern jazz accompanying style. Basie himself perfected a piano style called ‘comping,’ a syncopated and precise style of playing cords. The band also served to launch many careers.
May 6, 1985
The Noguchi Museum opens when Isamu Noguchi Foundation decided
to create a permanent display space for the work of Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988).
He moved to Long Island City in the early sixties to be close to his marble
suppliers and purchased the brick building (that forms the nucleus of the museum)
in 1975 to use as a studio and storage.
March 12, 1986
Borough President Donald Manes, plunged a knife into his heart
committing suicide. He was the kingpin, of what one newspaper at the time called,
"a bribery, corruption, and patronage network." Manes faced a racketeering probe
that not only threatened to pull down his administration, but send him to jail
(which turned out to be the fate for a number of his associates). Lurid details of
cash filled brown paper bags filled the press for weeks afterward.
December 20, 1986
A gang of teenagers attack Michael Griffith, Cedric
Sandiford and Timothy Grimes. The three men stopped in New Park Pizza at 156-71
Cross Bay Blvd. to use a phone after their car broke down. Upon leaving the
pizzeria, they are jumped by a mob. Although Grimes escapes, Sandiford is beaten
and Griffith is killed. The subsequent arrest and trial of the gang leads to
further racial polarization in the city. After conviction, the thugs are given
long prison sentences.
The American Museum of the Moving Image opened in Long
Island City / Astoria. Located at 35th Avenue at 36th Street, AMMI's mission
is to educate the public about the art, history, and technology of film, TV,
and digital media, and how they've impacted society. The Astoria Studio, built
1920, was the premier site for independent film production on the East Coast
through the 1930s into the 1940s. The U.S. Army Signal Corps owned the studio
and site from 1942 to 1971, where they produced military training films. The
studio grew from a state of disrepair in the 1970s into a functional, state-of-the-art
movie and television production facility with a $20 million renovation. The
location was placed on the Register of National Historic Sites in 1978.
Citicorp Chairman John Reed snips a red ribbon opening the $250 million
Citicorp Tower at Court Square in Long Island City. The 48 story tower, the
largest structure between New York and Boston when built, is a harbinger of
the future for Queens. Long heralded as New York's fourth business district,
the area around the tower will soon boast millions of square feet available
to businesses and apartments for New Yorkers fleeing Manhattan's congestion
Jay "Stoney" Harrison 25, was being escorted back from the
DA's office to his Riker's Island jail cell on the morning of November 13 by
Detectives Keith Williams and Richard Guerzon. He was alone in the back seat
of the vehicle. Unknown to the two detectives, Harrison had stolen a gun at
the Kew Gardens courthouse. While on the Grand Central Parkway near the 94th
Street exit, Harrison opened fire. The two detectives died instantly. The car
careened off the road. Harrison, who escaped, was soon apprehended at his girlfriend's
apartment in East New York.