One reason the columnist Mary McGrory confessed that she “always felt a little sorry for people who didn’t work for newspapers” was that they had never been exposed to the dynamism of a big-city newsroom. “Newsrooms are large places, full of messy desks and lippy people who hang around gossiping and making cheeky remarks about their betters,” she later wrote. Her first glimpse of one was The Washington Star’s in 1947. “It was heaven,” she remembered.
Mine was of the Daily News’s. For nearly 65 years, two-thirds of its existence, the tabloid newspaper was written and edited in the Art Deco skyscraper on East 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, which I first entered as an intern home from college in the summer of 1966. I would return after graduation and remain for 15 years, as a reporter, columnist, and city editor during a glorious Götterdämmerung of a circulation war in the last American city where two tabloids had survived to do battle.