On the far left is State Senator Emanuel Gold, a former assemblyman (1970-1971) and state senator (1972-1988). A native of Brooklyn, he eventually moved to Queens and represented Kew Gardens Hills, Forest Hills and the surrounding neighborhoods. He sadly passed away in 2013.
He was the author of the Son of Sam Act, which was first enacted in 1977 and prohibits criminals from exploiting their crime for profit.
It was targeted at serial killer David Berkowitz, who after his arrest and the intense media and public interest in his crimes, many feared would sell his story to an author or filmmaker.
It was also invoked against Mark David Chapman, who murdered John Lennon.
Next to Gold is Melinda Katz, who won her first political post in 1994 as a member of the Assembly. In 1998, she lost a bid for Congress to Anthony Weiner, but won a City Council seat after Karen Koslowtiz was term-limited out of office in 2001.
She remained in that position until 2013, then lost a bid for city comptroller, but eventually landed the job of Queens borough president. Today, she serves as Queens district attorney.
Coincidentally, the person partly obscured with her hand on Gold’s shoulder is Koslowitz. When Katz left office, she ran for her old City Council seat and won. Koslowitz will once again be term-limited out of office in 2022.
Next to Katz is Claire Shulman, the first woman to hold the post of borough president.
She took over the post from Donald Manes (whose sordid and eventful political career could fill a month’s worth of Pol Position columns), who resigned in scandal in 1986. The borough’s nine City Council members voted unanimously to give her the job.
But voters would re-elect her three more times, and she served until she was term-limited out of office in 2001.
We have more information on some of the other people in the photo that we will share, but in the meantime, one eagle-eyed reader noted the spade that Gold is holding says “Forest Hills Restoration Project Ground Breaking Ceremony May 1, 1997.”
If any of our readers know exactly what that project might have been, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.