I was at the time a youngish reporter covering the police and crime beat for the New York Daily News, my favorite hometown paper, from the cluttered, small news shack at One PP – short for NYPD headquarters in lower Manhattan.
It was an in-your-face prose masterpiece, Dickensian-type literature on deadline, an astounding example of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, penned by a supreme master of his craft.
Of blue-collar Irish stock, Breslin was a New York City staple as much as the Empire State Building, the Statute of Liberty, as well as places like Louie’s, the watering hole near the paper where writers and sometimes the well-heeled hobnobbed with printers, delivery boys and the city’s working class on an equal bar-stool footing.
The Daily News was my paper and Breslin was the columnist I grew up reading the most.
It was like having Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, on the same team and I was the ball and bat boy.