Gabe Pressman Recalls His ‘Overrated’ Days

Setting "The Ten Most Overrated Men in New York" record straight.

NYMag_Jan31972We can’t really fault WNBC reporter Gabe Pressman’s 91-year-old memory for being a little hazy.

At the end of a wonderful profile by Wall Street Journal columnist Ralph Gardner Jr., Pressman states that when he and the others anointed by New York magazine in 1972 as “The Ten Most Overrated Men in New York” were invited to a party at the Towers of the Waldorf Astoria by then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. George H. Bush, also on the list, only one of the honored failed to show up – Senator Jacob Javits.

”He didn’t have a sense of humor,” Pressman recalled

But if you go back to the magazine’s “Between the Lines” editor’s notes that followed the publication of that list in the Jan. 3, 1972 “Power Issue,” it turns out Javits was out of the country at the time. And that two others on the list also couldn’t make the Bush tongue-in-cheek celebration: Terence Cardinal Cooke and Steve Smith.

Pressman was there, along with Arthur Sulzberger and several other very pertinent media colleagues – “Most Overrated” article author Dick Schaap and New York magazine publisher-editor Clay Felker. From Schaap’s post-mortem:

Felker and I were sort of the guests of dishonor. I got very nervous when I walked into the U.S. Embassy and the first three ambassadors I met were Arabs. Felker, who lacks nothing if not courage, explained to everyone that he was on vacation the week my story went to press…

Ambassador Bush, the perfect host, made a humorous speech, focusing upon my taste, my veracity and my integrity. The word that sticks in my mind is “scurrilous.”

Gardner certainly has a fun beat. A few days ao, he also got to play ping pong with Rafael Nadal.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
In Memory of Father Mychal Judge