It’s just not often enough we get to celebrate accomplishing a major goal we strived for our entire lives. Some want to change the world, others want to rule the world.
Me? I would simply state that I planned to retire to some Caribbean island before I reached 40.
No one believed I would do that. Heck, I didn’t believe I would do that. But on Aug. 9, 2015 — just a few months after my 39th birthday — I packed my bags, grabbed my passport, and boarded a plane for the small island of Grenada.
It was an amazing two years, and after a lifetime of working so hard, it was a break I really needed.
No, I had no plans to actually call it quits at 40. But this “retirement” had symbolic meaning — after more than two decades as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Pennsylvania, upstate and Florida, I was ready to move on to something new. Maybe real estate, or something solid like that. It seemed like a great next chapter in my life.
But then I met Richard Stein. Well, not really met — more like, he popped onto my computer screen through a Skype video call.
I was 12 years old when The Riverdale Press was firebombed on Broadway. But I absolutely remember the news reports about it. When I would rediscover The Press nearly 30 years later, it took me some research before I realized that I had been introduced to this publication so long before.
And Richie barely had to sell me on sitting in the editor’s chair. I had discovered Riverdale. I had discovered Kingsbridge. I had discovered Spuyten Duyvil — and even learned how to pronounce it. I pored through the digital archives of The Press, and with each story shared, I fell more and more in love with what I knew was a fantastic Bronx community.
Now, this is my 52nd issue of The Press. Compared to what Richie and his amazing brother Buddy Stein have put into this paper — not to mention their parents, David and Celia — that might not sound like a major milestone. But it is for me, because I find myself just as excited to come into our Riverdale Avenue office each day now as I did when I first walked through the doors a year ago.
What truly motivates me, however, is you. Your passion for this community. Your love for this community. The fight you have for this community.
For decades, The Riverdale Press has been respected and admired, whether you agree with what you find in these pages or not. I hear it every day. I see it every day. And I’m proud to be a part of it, tasked with continuing the legacy the Stein family created and nurtured through this newspaper.
We’re no longer on Broadway, and I feel sad many times that I never got the chance to visit that location. But we are very much in this community. A few detractors might talk about how we’re a “Long Island newspaper” now, but we aren’t. Our reporters are in this community. I am in this community.
And Clifford and Stuart Richner aren’t some faceless publishers from a far off land who never heard of Riverdale. Like Richie and Buddy, they are building on a family publishing legacy that has shaped their part of Long Island in so many ways. They’re committed to doing that here in Riverdale as well. They know and love this community, and they own this newspaper not because it’s some trophy, but because they know what it means to you, and they ensure it’s treated with the love and respect it deserves.
This is a moment of personal privilege, and it’s not one that I take very often within these pages. But I just wanted to share how tireless the work of our team is here in Riverdale. We’re not a big staff, but each and every one of us work long hours, go that extra mile — and then go another mile — to bring you a newspaper each week you can be proud of.
From our editorial team, to our sales staff, to the people who actually print our paper, and deliver it to your doorstep — we do all of this for you. And I thank you for allowing us into your home each week.
I’m very happy about this year I’ve spent with The Riverdale Press, the year I’ve spent with you. And I hope you’ll allow me to spend another year with you. And another. And another. Because together, we have so many more goals to accomplish.