By Dee Richard
The past year was a very eventful one. Two events in particular come to mind. One was my sadness in the passing of Tom Manton, who was always a larger than life personality whom everyone took for granted would always be there. His persona continues to cast a shadow over all Democratic events, where his presence was felt for so many years. This was the saddest event for me.Personally, the biggest surprise and my happiest event was to be singled out to be one of the over 8 million people in New York City to be written about in the Oct. 16 issue of New York magazine. There I was, squeezed in between former Bronx Borough President Freddie Ferrer and Madonna. I was also given a new title which was “The Gossip Queen of Queens.” The apparent windup of the holiday party scene was the Continental Regular Democratic Clubs Holiday party at the American Legion Hall in Forest Hills last Thursday. District Leaders Joyce Singerman and Howard Pollack were the dynamic duo who put the event together. It was, as usual, a fun time and a nice way to end the old year.The second event on Thursday was state Sen. Serphin R. Maltese taking his oath of office in the cafeteria of Christ the King High School in Middle Village. The oath was administered by New York State Justice of the Supreme Court Robert J. Hanophy. A reception followed. It was so well attended that the original plans to hold it in the library had to be changed to the cafeteria in order to accommodate all the well-wishers who came for the ceremony.The most prestigious event was saved for last. This year, the New York Press Club outdid itself both in location and high-caliber guests. The event was held at Gilt Restaurant in the New York Palace Hotel. When was the name changed? The last we knew it was called the Helmsley Palace. In any event, it is a very posh place for a party. Just to mention a few of the movers and shakers who attended the event with press club members were U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), New Jersey Gov. John Corzine, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Attorney General-elect Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor David Dinkins, City Comptroller William Thompson, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Press Club Chaplain Rev. Joseph O'Hare, past club presidents Gabe Pressman and Rich Lamb and current club president Stephannia Cleaton, an editor with the Staten Island Advance who is a terrific lady.There were many people from Queens. Those who readers would recognize were U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills), Queens Borough District Attorney “Judge” Richard Brown, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall's press secretary, Dan Andrews and NBC's Larry Seary of Whitestone.The list was so long and impressive that to name them all, would probably take up a page by itself.On Friday night while having dinner at Caffe on the Green with Debbie Markell, Myra Baird-Herce, Grace Barberi, Janet Malone, Joyce Shepard, and Joann DeMartino, Shepard told me that after being a lifelong Democrat, she is now seriously considering becoming a Republican and expects to join the North East Queens Republican Club. Shepard also said she is giving serious consideration to running for public office again. How is that for an interesting development? Hope you had a good holiday. We always look forward to hearing from you directly, with information on people, parties and politics or some plain old-fashioned gossip.That's it for this week. I look forward to receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, your faxes at 718-746-0066 and your e-mails at email@example.com. Don't forget to check out the “Focus on Queens Page.”Till next week, Dee.