In the “Odd Adventures in Life” department…
Subway Vigilante Bernie Goetz
Many of you will remember the “Subway Vigilante Bernie Goetz” case in NYC back in ’84. Bernard Goetz had just been released on bail after shooting several attackers on the subway. I had a meeting with my NY partners at Broadcast News Service. They said, “let’s go take Bernie out to dinner.” We arrived at BG’s Manhattan apartment and noticed several newspaper photographers staking out the building. Bernie was a Ham Radio buddy of my partners and had been helping him stay safe while awaiting the trial. We entered his apartment, which looked like a museum for old radio gear, all of which was in perfect condition, and working order. Bernie was a quiet, meek man.
When we left the apartment we quickly jumped into the news car, a former NYPD squad car with a beefy suspension. Harry and Peter were in front, Bernie and me in the back. We were spotted by the paparazzi who instantly gave chase. NYC traffic was totally jammed and Harry threw the rotating red light onto the roof and hit the siren. The chase was a scene right out of the movie “Bullit.” In order to escape the photographers in pursuit, we ventured onto the sidewalk, speeding in an insane (and frightening for us in the rear seat) attempt to lose the cameras.
We eventually lost the Nightcrawlers (movie available on Amazon) and headed for Peter Luger’s steak house in New Jersey, which cooks up the best steaks you could ever hope to taste! Upon entering the restaurant, the owners and many of the patrons recognized Bernie and came over to thank him for being so bold. Dinner was awesome, and the evening finished with no further drama on the mean streets of New York City.
And that’s the way it was, a little over 33 years ago. Just another wild and crazy adventure in the life of a TV News cameraman.