Far, The Best Day At Shea This Year
Photos By Emanuel Gold
I first started writing a weekly column, sometime back in the early 80s,
it has, under various names, been a varied mix of politics, publishing and
personal topics. Election season, politics dominated; special editions or
unique stories caused the column to take on a publishing slant; and those
occasions or events, which moved me were the subject of personal
now, I don’t believe that one subject merged all three — the politics,
publishing and personal.
was tempted to try to scalp my seating card but this oldtime NY
Giants fan was thrilled to be there and seated at the Polo Grounds
past weekend, I had the very ticket to the event that touched all three
and I attended the wedding of Lauren Ackerman at Shea Stadium — I’m
sure you heard about it. But it wasn’t the pre-wedding news that
mattered to me, it was an event that was filled with political stories,
intertwined with the very existence of this paper and of great personal
significance to me and of course my longtime friend and business associate
Gary Ackerman, the bride’s father.
I may spin a tale or two, let me first state it was a wonderful event —
a warm and loving wedding — with a novel, creative twist.
the event by singing
the National Anthem.
The clear tent shelter allowed the assembled crowd to witness the
vows at home plate at Shea Stadium.
Mom Rita and brother Corey check out Mike Piazza’s locker.
The guests arrive: Lillian and Michael Schenkler.
Ivan Lafayette and Nettie Mayerson with Gary.
The bride and dad.
The memorable wedding ceremony of Lauren Ackerman and Paul Forte,
Shea Stadium, June 14, 2003.
not news — because just about everyone has heard about it — but it was
held at Shea Stadium. The ceremony took place at home plate, sadly the
weather forced Gary to provide a huge see through tent to shelter us from
the continuation of weekend downpours. It didn’t dampen a thing. As a
matter of fact during most of the outdoor inside the tent ceremony, the
rain was not to be seen.
guests were seated, before the festivities began, the Ackerman’s
youngest kid — a very talented 26-year old-Ari — was announced, walked
toward the pitchers mound and sang a beautiful accapella rendition of the
see Lauren and husband Paul Forte are fanatic Met fans and even during
this awful season, they wanted to celebrate their vows at the Stadium of
their team and dreams.
so friends and family assembled, walked through the long tunnels to the
field, champagne glasses in hand as I thought back to my first experience
the victim was Lauren Ackerman . . . but she was just a couple of months
old. My friend Gary was a candidate for local school board (Dist. #25) and
it was the first evening of counting votes in a very convoluted
proportional representation system and Gary wanted to be there with Rita.
I wanted to be there too, but I got Lauren instead.
had the pleasure of watch her grow since then into a beautiful young
children’s book editor who argues with me about capitalization and style
books — she’s probably right.
Lil and I have been to other weddings of friends ‘ kids, this is the
first where I was present from conception on. Well, sort of. I wasn’t
there at the moment of conception, but as Gary told the story to the Trib
just two weeks ago for our 33 1/3 Anniversary Special Edition:
“he conceived of the idea of a community newspaper for Queens, even as
his wife Rita conceived of their daughter Lauren.”
guess it’s true; Lauren and the Trib began simultaneously.
And they both grew up pretty darn good. Gary produces good stock.
not the sentimental type and probably couldn’t do justice to the
ceremony jointly conducted by the Rabbi that married Lil and me —
Charles Agin formerly the spiritual leader of the Flushing Free Synagogue
— and Paul’s uncle, Reverend Joseph Modica. I’ll let the photos tell
political side, I’ll try to spin, briefly.
photographer for the event was Emanuel Gold.
Manny, whom I’ve known for 36 years, is the attorney to hire if
you need smart legal help. He’s the former Deputy Minority Leader of the
New York State Senate representing Forest Hills for some 20 years. But in
addition to being at the top of the legal game, Manny is a superb
photographer. If you run into him, tell him you saw his pictures in the Trib
and he should shoot for the paper more often.
was not a big political convention. It was a personal affair for the
Ackermans and the Fortes. Only a very few of Gary’s longtime political
chums were present — most of them are pictured on this page.
it wasn’t a political event for the Fortes either, but Paul’s dad,
Dominick, has an interesting political background of his own, as I
discovered when Morty Povman came running over to me.
ran against me for Council in 1973,” Povman exclaimed excitedly. “I
just discovered it.”
seems that after Morty replaced a Councilman by the name of Donald Manes
— who had become Borough President — the Republicans tested him the
next time out with Dominick Forte. Dominick, who I didn’t interview —
it was his son’s wedding — has apparently been active in Republican
and Conservative politics in Queens for more than three decades.
Long, the Conservative Party chair, was his guest at the wedding. Gary
also informed me that Dominick was a contributor to Grant Lally,
Ackerman’s Republican opponent a couple of years back — talk about
and Dominick seem to have become close friends — but it wasn’t
election time. Seriously,
watching the two interact demonstrated that families can unite and
celebrate mutualities even when there are differences.
are a time of celebration.
me this one was very special.
and Lauren — both born and raised in Queens, married at Shea and kids of
families well grounded in the principles of community — are one of
Queens’ newest family and represent the goodness and future of our
by Dom Nunziato
Michael Schenkler can be reached at: MSchenkler@queenspress.com