By Hayden R. Celestin
News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Mon. June 26, 2017: Watching NBC news and hearing of the passing of pioneer and broadcasting icon, Gabe Pressman at age 93, caused me to immediately get out of bed and race to my archives.
My mind immediately flashed back to my last assignment with Pressman on June 6, 2001. It was the day then Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg went on a five borough tour that began with a breakfast in Harlem and ended in Staten Island.
Before that I had done a lot of assigments as a freelance photojournalist along side Gabe in the Tri-State area of New York but that faithful June morning was different.
At the Ridgewood Seniors Center, in Ridgewood, Queens, New York, Bloomberg held his first press conference. I was sitting next to Gabe to get my images and he turned to me and said quietly: “We’ll see what kind of mayor he’s going to be today.”
When Bloomberg, entered the small room and made his opening remarks, everyone turned to Gabe expecting him to get the first question. As Gabe, raised his hand to asked his question Bloomberg, calmly said to him: ‘I’ll come back to you Gabe,’ and pointed to someone else in the back of us.
There was a hush but only for a moment. In that second I quietlyturned to Gabe and said: “I think we see what kind of mayor he’s going to be Gabe.”
At that press conference Bloomberg left the man who was credited for being the first television reporter in New York for last. But Gabe, shrugged it off and continued the tour even as Bloomberg did a walk through on Arthur Ave, in the Bronx, New York and stopped to chat with Joe Liberatore, of Joe Liberatore’s, market place, Gabe was right there to capture the moment.
I will always remember this distinguished journalist. Journalism has lost a giant. May his soul rest in peace.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Pressman, whose career spanned more than 60 years, died on June 23, 2017. He was credited for being the first television reporter in New York, working for NBC.