Much has changed in the last quarter-century. In 1987, New York was beset by crime, often fueled by the crack epidemic. Ed Koch was in the third term of his mayoralty and plagued by a corruption scandal. The South Bronx was still a national symbol of urban decay.
Today, Times Square has left behind raunch and riot, a historic tide of immigration has remade neighborhoods, high-tech ventures are on the rise and the shadow of terrorism remains long. The stop-and-frisk controversy, not crime, dominates the public-safety agenda. Through it all, the city had the benefit of a constant journalistic force: Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News.
It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since Juan walked past the landmark globe in the landmark News Building on E. 42nd St. and took a desk in the seventh-floor city room, a newcomer from a Philadelphia newspaper.
Born in Puerto Rico, raised in East Harlem and Brooklyn and schooled at Columbia, where he helped lead anti-Vietnam War protests that shut the university, Juan came home to write a column.