Pete Hamill is someone I’ve revered forever as a journalist, New York historian, novelist and screenwriter, concerned about him since he’s been silent for much too long.
Knowing he’s the last of his breed, Jack Newfield (1938-2004), Norman Mailer (1923-2007), and Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017) all gone, I assumed he was the next to go.
But I’m happy to say I was wrong, after reading how at 84, he’s moved back to Brooklyn, the borough of his youth, to pen one last book.
They don’t make the likes of Pete anymore, that blue collar writer who was present for every triumph and tragedy the country has endured.
He stood next to his friend, Bobby Kennedy, in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel moments after he was fatally shot.
He covered Vietnam, Nicaragua and Northern Ireland.
His journalism career spans 40 years at the New York Post, Daily News, the Village Voice and New York Newsday earning him the name, the Tabloid Poet.
His memoir, A Drinking Life (1994), takes you on a drunk’s tour regaling a tale only Pete could so poignantly tell after quitting cold turkey in 1972.
My favorite could be,Why Sinatra Matters (1998), opening at the legendary P.J. Clarke’s Saloon, while Sinatra holds court as he croons from the jukebox, in the company of some of the best newspaper men of our time.
His prose, clean and clear, makes you hear the ice tinkling in their glasses amid the swell of cigarette smoke you can practically smell.
I was lucky enough to meet him once downtown after reading, for the second time, his book of the same name…Downtown: My Manhattan (2004).
It was like waking from a dream, after telling someone you’ve always admired how much they’ve meant to you.
He was kind and humble, patient with my girlish gush, feeling like a teenager meeting Elvis.
My heart is full writing this, very elated that my Elvis, my Lancelot of verse, has yet to leave the building.
This is a great piece called, Ain’t Done yet, I highly recommend.
I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves.
My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.