This day in 1969: August
Flash back to the tumultuous days of the Summer of 1969
AUG. 1, 1969
On LI: They’re forcing black families out of New Cassel — that’s the NAACP’s view of a house-to-house official crackdown on illegal multifamily housing.
In the state: Italian mobsters already control trucking into and out of Kennedy Airport. And the Genovese crime family wants to expand its trucking racket nationwide. Not so fast: the FBI nabs underboss Anthony DiLorenzo with $1 million in stolen IBM stock, the mob’s seed money for the expansion.
In the nation: “Come in, Ted, you’re right back where you belong now,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-Montana) tells Sen. Edward Kennedy, who enters the chamber for the first time since pleading guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal car accident on Chappaquiddick Island.
In the world: First Lady Pat Nixon has a bad day. In India with the president, en route to the village of Chattarpur, her irritation and impatience grows amid 100-degree heat and the crush of crowds — and the air conditioner in the official Rolls-Royce is broken.
On the Waterfront: Pink Champagne Dinner and Dancing is $7 per person on the Marine Deck at Guy Lombardo’s East Point House in Freeport — your choice, prime rib, veal Cordon Bleu or lobster tails.
AUG. 2, 1969
On LI: Fifteen days of rain causes avalanches of mud in the hilly terrain of a new Cold Spring Harbor housing development on Turkey Lane. The tons of oozing earth require emergency drainage pipes.
In the nation: Black children and white children will never share a classroom in Georgia, vows Gov. Lester Maddox, opposing federal mandates. The segregationist says, “We’ll win the war against these tyrants.”
In the Universe: Exactly how far away is the moon? Now that question can be answered with accuracy within six inches, by bouncing laser beams off a reflector (deposited by Neil Armstrong) on the lunar surface.
Hair on the Job: In Newsday’s “Teen Letters” column, Tony Grimaldi, 18, declares: “Must I conform to my employer’s wishes and wear my hair at a length he approves of? I contend the answer is no.”
AUG. 4, 1969
On LI: Grumman’s 1,500 black workers threaten a mass walkout, accusing the company of prejudice in promotions and layoffs.
In the nation: Nixon is “a very clever but intensely, ultimately stupid man,” says black activist Bayard Rustin, organizer of the 1963 March on Washington where Rev. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Rustin says the president is sabotaging blacks’ progress.
In the world: At 10:45 a.m. Bucharest time, President Nicolea Ceausescu grabs the elbow of the visiting American president and leads him toward the nearby Romanian Folk Dance Ensemble. Nixon and Ceausescu lock arms with the circle and perform the Hora.
I’ll Gladly Pay You Tuesday: The Wimpy hamburger chain’s new Melville location offers 50-cent burgers that are 2 1/2 times bigger than the competition’s.
AUG. 5, 1969
On LI: First he burned an American flag outside a Valley Stream church. Then the suspect, Victor Matos, 25, burgled and vandalized St. John’s Methodist Church where a trustee caught and held him for the police.
In the Nation: Hundreds of Puerto Rican teens riot in the streets of Passaic, N.J., after the police halted a march protesting the eviction of a family of 11 from a private home. A sniper fires at the police and the teens smash windows and loot shops.
In the World: Soviet defector Anatoly Kuznetsov is granted asylum in Great Britain. The novelist, author of “Babi Yar,” says he will not go back to the USSR “where everybody spies on everybody else and where hypocrisy prevails”, until the last Soviet soldier leaves Czechoslovakia.
AUG. 6, 1969
On LI: The Long Island Migrant Farm Service Center appeals for help from every church and synagogue on the Island. The Riverhead-based nonprofit ask congregations to come visit workers in the fields to “see how the other half lives.”
In the Nation: Thirty-nine pounds of moon dust and rocks are ready for analysis at the Houston Space Center. First impression, scientists say: it’s “quite different from anything we have on earth.”
In the World: Two more U.S. helicopters are shot down in Vietnam. That brings the total number of American copters lost in the war to 2,899.
Anti-Communist Cinema: Omar Sharif has the title role, with Jack Palance as Fidel Castro in “Che!”, billed as “the true story of Che Guevara who followed a dream of justice and freedom... and created a nightmare of terror and violence!”
AUG. 7, 1969
On LI: Did crime boss “Joe Bananas” Bonanno poison him, or was it a heart attack? The FBI wants to know. So the feds have asked a Riverhead judge to exhume the body of former Long Island mob chief Joseph Magliocco.
In the Nation: Moondust accidentally bursts from a vacuum line at the Manned Space Center biological lab in Houston, spraying research assistant Heather Owens, 23. Immediately quarantined with the three returned Apollo 11 astronauts, she has her own antiseptic bedroom suite but shares a lounge with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin.
In the World: Twenty Viet Cong commandoes sneak past guards at a U.S. Army hospital at Cam Ranh Bay, then kill two patients and wound 53. The Army base had been considered the most secure in Vietnam. All 20 attackers escape.
Flying off the Shelves: The summer’s literary sensation is “Portnoy’s Complaint.” The Great Neck Public Library has a waiting list of 70 patrons eager to get one of its dozen copies of what Newsday called “Philip Roth’s tale of torture by mother love.” Just this week it is nudged aside as #1 national bestseller by Jaqueline Susann’s “The Love Machine.”
AUG. 8, 1969
On LI: Wounded three times in Vietnam, a soldier on leave is arrested on his Mineola homecoming. Seems he mailed himself a pound of marijuana from the combat zone. It cost him $8. “It’s easier to get than it is to get a Coke and just about as cheap,” says Spec. 4 Frederick Zarodkiewicz. (By one estimate 90 percent of U.S. combat troops in Vietnam smoke pot.)
In the Nation: Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers pressure the Pentagon to stop buying grapes. The military says it doubled grape purchases in recent years because troops in Vietnam favor the fruit.
Near Mars: Ammonia and methane detected near the red planet’s south polar cap could signal life on Mars, scientists say. The Mariner 7 spacecraft has just radioed back its findings after passing within 2,000 miles of the Martian surface.
Serious Funnies: In Brumsic Brandon Jr.’s comic strip “Luther” the young black protagonist sits on a stoop and ruminates: “I wear hand-me-down clothes. I eat leftover leftovers. Five of us kids sleep in one little bed.” In the final panel Luther kicks a can and says, “No wonder I’m an underachiever!”
AUG. 9, 1969
On LI: Dairy Barn opens its 50th store on the Island, in Freeport, another homey, barn-red drive-through with silo attached. Shoppers enjoy the comfort of the driver’s seat during quick exchanges of cash for milk, juice, butter, bread.
In the nation: No hot water, blocked toilets, roaches, peeling paint — sordid conditions in government-funded rental apartments in Mastic illustrate the failure of the nation’s anti-poverty policies. Meanwhile, President Nixon says he wants to abolish, then rebuild, the entire U.S. welfare system.
In the world: A banana peel, tossed by an anti-Vietnam War protester, hits Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as he arrives at a Vancouver, B.C., fundraiser. A large crowd chants, “Trudeau is a traitor.”
Gem Trends: Big, bold and chunky are in. Rings rise to mountain heights. What you thought was big last year is small this year. Outer space is also trendy — especially gems cut from tektites, which are (wrongly, it turns out) thought to be of prehistoric lunar origin.
AUG. 11, 1969
On LI: “More money now! More money now!” About 70 welfare recipients interrupt a Suffolk board of supervisors meeting demanding a benefits hike. Eight of the nine supervisors walk out.
In the nation: In a political breakthrough in segregated Greene County, Ala., six black candidates win election, giving blacks a 4-1 majority on the county commission and a 3-2 majority on the school board.
In the world: Sidney Poitier is fed up with New York City. Chaos and fear rule the city, and hatred between blacks and whites reminds him of Germany in the 1930s — so he’s moving to the Bahamas. In his newest film “The Lost Man” Poitier is a black revolutionary who masterminds a payroll robbery.
Tonight’s reruns: McHale’s Navy, My Favorite Martian, F Troop, Mod Squad, It Takes a Thief. And in a one-hour extravaganza, the bejeweled showman Liberace hosts singer Engelbert Humperdinck.
AUG. 12, 1969
On LI: Underground filmmaker Andy Warhol’s coterie leases the 1,000-seat Southampton Cabaret Theater for showings of the artist’s “Oh! Bombay!” a spoof of “Oh! Calcutta!” Both films are shown simultaneously as drinks and food are served as the audience dances and chats.
In the nation: A former Roman Catholic bishop, Rev. James P. Shannon, publicly confirms that he got married but says he’s still a priest and won’t leave the church. But his former archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul disagrees, saying that by marrying he excommunicated himself.
In the world: In Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, a soldier is shot while standing guard. Spec. 4 Viestrus Reikmanis, 20, of Freeport, had been in Vietnam for a month. The Army sends a soldier to his family’s Pearsall Avenue home with the bad news.
TV for Women: “Shed your skin. Iron your wrinkles. Vacuum your pores. Wax your legs. Tease your hair. Build up your bust. Lift your face.” ABC-TV’s Wonderful World of Women presents a slightly bemused look at the multibillion dollar beauty industry.
AUG. 13, 1969
On LI: An Islandwide water district for Nassau and Suffolk counties is proposed in a new regional study. It would replace Long Island’s 74 private and government water providers. Also proposed: have each county create a garbage district to replace numerous local departments.
In the Nation: New Yorkers lavish attention — and confetti — on the Apollo 11 astronauts in a ticker-tape parade up Broadway to ceremonies at City Hall and the United Nations. Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin smile and wave as miniskirted girls scream “We love you!”
Tipping the Scale: Butchers are becoming increasingly unpopular nationwide as meat prices skyrocket. Steak-outs (meat boycotts) are planned. A Florida woman complains, “sirloin that cost me 99 cents a pound on special two weeks ago is now at $1.59 and it shakes me up.”
AUG. 14, 1969
On LI: Seventy black youths seize a vacant Gordon Heights supermarket that they plan to convert into a recreational and social center. They are angry and impatient with Brookhaven Town’s delay in deciding whether to spend $7,500 for repairs, plus $350 a month rent, to make the building into a youth center.
In the nation: The U.S. spends 50 times more on space exploration than it does on scientific research on disease — and it spends 1,000 times more on the military, Nobel laureate Linus Pauling says. The biochemist urges a change in national priorities.
Strip Ban: Josie, 25, a topless dancer at a Smithtown club, is unhappy with a new ban on strip joints. She likes to dance and she’s happy with her $350-$400 weekly income. She doesn’t see the harm in taking her clothes off, noting, “There’s stuff going on that’s a lot worse.”
AUG. 15, 1969
On LI: Parents must accompany their grade-school children to sex education films, the North Merrick school board decides. In after-school sessions, sex experts show films and answer questions for fifth-grade girls, and sixth-grade boys and girls.
In the nation: Phosgene, a World War I-era poison gas, is sold as Army surplus and shipped by rail cross-country from a Denver arsenal to plastics manufacturers in upstate New York and Louisiana. Railside communities are in an uproar.
In the world: A night of gunfire in Northern Ireland leaves five dead and 192 injured, including 58 police officers. British troops are called in as 15,000 Catholics prepare for battle, barricading their Belfast neighborhood with burning trucks and toppled lampposts.
Comics with a Conscience: Brenda Starr, star reporter, pursues an exposé of the fashion industry’s fascination with alligator skin. She declares, “poachers get very little cash for the raw hides” that end up as high-priced handbags and shoes.
AUG. 16, 1969
On LI: An accused car thief, held at the Suffolk County jail, shoots a deputy sheriff escorting him for treatment at a Riverhead hospital. Stanley Szczerbaty, 23, suspected of stealing cars in an organized crime scheme, forces the wounded deputy to unlock his cuffs and shackles, then escapes into the scrub pine woods.
In the Nation: Grim news in the war on organized crime: a new alliance between the Cosa Nostra families of Vito Genovese and Simon Rizzo (Sam the Plumber) DeCavalcante could tighten mob control over waterfront and building trades unions, Tom Renner reports in Newsday.
In the World: The Israeli military says it found an Arab cache of mines, grenades and ammunition near Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea, southeast of Jerusalem. The weapons — all manufactured in Communist China — are one of the biggest arms caches found since the end of the Six-Day War of 1967.
Max Yazgur’s Farm: Long-haired, blue-jeaned and bell-bottomed, hundreds of thousands of rock music fans stream into the village of Bethel in the Catskill Mountains for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Four hours before the music is set to start, traffic is stalled for 10 miles around Bethel.
AUG. 18, 1969
On LI: Prisoner Stanley Sczerbaty remains at large after shooting and wounding a deputy and escaping from the Suffolk County Jail. Sczerbaty, 23, of Baldwin, is accused of being involved with the Cosa Nostra.
In the state: Woodstock revelers head home after the last band finishes playing at 10 a.m. Three deaths and two births are reported during the festival.
In the nation: Hurricane Camille, the strongest hurricane ever recorded with winds topping 150 mph, slams across central Mississippi. The initial death toll is 14.
Detailed service: Fabric Garden advertises a sale on custom chair reupholstery — $134.50 for a $250 value, promising to “return all the loose change we find behind the cushion.”
AUG. 19, 1969
On LI: The Central Islip Youth Council, with support from the black community, wants to form its own patrol group, arguing that the Suffolk police fail to provide them protection against attacks from whites.
In the nation: The death toll from Hurricane Camille, which destroyed three communities along the Gulf Coast, rises to 128.
In the world: In Prague, riot troops tear-gassed and clubbed downtown crowds before they could demonstrate on the anniversary eve of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, injuring three.
‘Owly Birds’ specials: Flights from John F. Kennedy or Newark airports to Birmingham, Ala., are $43 on Delta.
AUG. 20, 1969
On LI: Two Long Island state lawmakers say they will propose allowing rent control in Nassau County if local governments want it.
In the state: New York Gov. Rockefeller clarifies his previous pledge that service on the Long Island Rail Road would be the “finest” in the country within two months. Aides say he meant that “normal” service — trains running as scheduled — would be achieved by then, and the railway would be “on its way” to being the finest.
In the nation: The death toll from Hurricane Camille reaches 240 in Mississippi and Louisiana.
In the world: Varahagiri Venkata Giri, 75, supported by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi against the wishes of her ruling Congress party, is elected president of India.
Quote of the day: “Watch where you’re going, you creep.” — Heckler to a Newsday reporter roller-skating from Times Square to the Midtown Tunnel, as part of a series looking at alternatives to the LIRR commute.
AUG. 21, 1969
On LI: Sixteen Long Island mobsters are on a U.S. Department of Justice list of “Who’s Who” in the Cosa Nostra crime family.
In the city: Customers complain about the New York Telephone Co.’s service after the agency requests a rate increase at a hearing.art ran
In the nation: U.S. Defense Secretary Melvin Laird announces a $3-billion spending cut that would reduce the armed forces by 100,000 and 100 ships.
In the world: Army tanks and soldiers hold Prague under virtual martial law on the first anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.
On the water: Accompanied by his terrier Seadog and sporting a yachting cap, Newsday reporter Dave Behrens commutes via motorboat as part of a series of alternatives to the problem-plagued Long Island Rail Road. “Beautiful but expensive,” he concludes.
AUG. 22, 1969
On LI: A police squad trained in crowd control begins a night watch following tensions between black and white residents in Central Islip.
In the U.S.: The U.S. Navy announces it plans to retire two of its six anti-submarine aircraft carriers.
In the world: Muslims demonstrate after midday prayers at the Dome of Rock in Jerusalem, near Al Aksa Mosque, which has been partly destroyed by a fire.
At the Vatican: People wearing Bermuda shorts and miniskirts that are deemed to be not of a “tolerable” length are banned from entering St. Peter’s Basilica.
AUG. 23, 1969
On LI: A 16-year-old boy injures himself after mixing three chemicals in a blender in his kitchen in Old Bethpage, suffering a collapsed lung and cuts.
In the city: City Council President Francis X. Smith charges that Mayor Lindsay is offering judicial nominations in exchange for political support.
In the nation: Federal officials say they believe the era of sustained, destructive urban riots such as the Harlem disturbances of 1964 are over.
In step: The Miraculous Medal Orbits from Ridgewood, Queens, wins first place and a bugling trophy in a band competition held in Oceanside.
AUG. 25, 1969
In Suffolk: The Suffolk County Board of Supervisors votes to remove Richard D. Zeidler as chairman of the Suffolk County Water Authority for failing to testify at hearings, using inside information related to a land purchase and failing to disclose his interest in a corporation that obtained a zoning change.
In Nassau: The Nassau Board of Supervisors unanimously approves an open-housing law that establishes fines and jail sentences for discrimination in the sale or rental of housing in the county. It is believed to be the first such county law in the nation.
In the city: Cosa Nostra boss Carlo Gambino’s attorney says Gambino’s heart could not stand the “exertion” of appearing before a grand jury under subpoena.
In the nation: A group of black delegates break up an election meeting of the National Student Association at the University of Texas at El Paso, as one sought to be recognized to call for the association to pay reparations to black members.
Elizabeth Arden: Beauty classes at B. Altman & Co., in Manhasset, are advertised for September. “You can be lovelier after just one session,” the ad promises. The cost for the 2 1/2-hour makeup technique course is $5, with a $2 dividend toward Elizabeth Arden products.
AUG. 26, 1969
On LI: The Nassau County Human Rights Commission receives its first request seeking information about filing under the new county open-housing law.
In the state: New York Gov. Rockefeller stands by his original pledge that service on the Long Island Rail Road would be the “finest” in the country within two months. Aides had later qualified the deadline, saying he meant the railway would be “on its way” to being the best by then. But the governor says he stands by his first statement.
In the nation: Hundreds of demonstrators in Pittsburgh demand more hiring of blacks in the construction industry.
In the world: In the wake of the fire at Al Aksah Mosque in Jerusalem, Islamic nations agree to convene a summit and hold a joint defense council.
Back-to-school: Harwyn Shoes advertises $23 brown boots “handcrafted” in Great Britain.
AUG. 27, 1969
On LI: Hundreds of white Central Islip residents rally to support the closing of Soul Village, a community center used mostly by black youths. An organizer of the white group, called Whites In Number, says it is changing its name to Freedom For All.
In the nation: District Attorney Edmund S. Dinis says he will proceed with an inquest into the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned in a car in Chappaquiddick driven by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
In the world: Thailand’s foreign minister says his nation isn’t trying to “kick out” U.S. troops, a day after both sides announced negotiations would begin on a graduated reduction of 49,000 U.S. GIs in Thailand.
“Luxury broadloom”: S. Klein advertises velvet and polyester for $5.99 a square yard in “scintillating” new colors including Citron green, Monaco lime, burnished gold and triton blue.
AUG. 28, 1969
On LI: Long Island MacArthur Airport officials meet for the first time with homeowners opposed to a plan to allow medium-sized jets to land at the airport.
In the nation: Joan Kennedy, wife of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who had been expecting the couple’s fourth child, suffers a miscarriage.
In the world: French President Pompidou announces a program to save the franc.
Summer cocktails: Bar-Tender’s provides a recipe for Sparkling Sours that features whiskey “or rum or gin or vodka” and Bar-Tender’s Whisky Sour mix. “Brrr.”
AUG. 29, 1969
On LI: Five American students — including two from Long Island — who were convicted of insulting the Spanish flag, are released from a Spanish jail after their sentence is suspended.
In the nation: A gunman hijacks a National Airlines jet, saying he is bringing his family to Cuba to see a son.
In the world: North Korea says three American crewmen whose helicopter was shot down over North Korea on Aug. 17 are alive. North Korea offers to exchange them for a confession and apologies from Washington.
Click now: The deadline is tonight for Newsday’s second annual amateur snapshot contest. Grand prize winners (one for color, one for black-and-white photos), are to receive $200 each and will go on to compete in an international contest.