"His was the triumph of the local, and to get the local right, you have to get how people made a living, how they got paid, how they didn't get paid, and to be able to bring it to life," said Pete Hamill, another famed New York columnist who in the 1970s shared an office with Breslin at the Daily News.
It was the rumpled Breslin who mounted a quixotic political campaign for citywide office in the 1960s; who became the Son of Sam's regular correspondent in the 1970s; who exposed the city's worst corruption scandal in decades in the 1980s; who was pulled from a car and nearly stripped naked by Brooklyn rioters in the 1990s.
It was from Mazo Kawalchik, who is the foreman of the gravediggers at Arlington National Cemetery, which is where Pollard works for a living," Breslin wrote.
David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz sent Breslin several letters and impressed the columnist enough for him to observe: "He's the only killer I ever knew who knew how to use a semicolon." He jumped to New York Newsday in 1988, signing a contract for more than $500,000 a year.
During the Crown Heights riots in 1991, the then-61-year-old columnist commandeered a cab and ordered the driver to head directly into the action.