NY1 is celebrating a milestone Saturday, as 20 years ago it launched on Time Warner Cable, becoming New York City's first ever 24-hour local news channel. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following report.
We were born on 42nd Street long before Disney moved in, when tourists stayed away and crime in the city was near its peak. In the past 20 years, New York City has seen a dramatic transformation.
The homicide rate dropped to an all-time low. Communities like Crown Heights, the South Bronx and Harlem underwent complete makeovers since the early 90’s when riots and urban blight put them on the map. From our current home in Chelsea, we watched as the rough and tumble Meatpacking District turned into the trendiest of neighborhoods.
To get there we needed tokens. And when they disappeared in 2003, you heard about it from our transit reporter -- the only one on TV. We had the first education beat as well.
When NY1 launched in 1992 with our newly trained band of young camera-toting VJ's, we had no Internet. The information superhighway was still years down the road and we were managing to live without all those gadgets we can’t seem to live without today.
Our first mayor, David Dinkins, was also the first African-American to move into Gracie Mansion. But ever since Rudy Giuliani took over in 1994, this overwhelmingly Democratic town would be run by non-Democrats.
State politics, plagued by scandal and corruption came to be synonymous with dysfunction.
NY1 covered it all. We were live and commercial free for two weeks straight during the horror of 9/11. But it was our exclusive reporting on the first WTC attack in '93 that first brought us widespread attention. We bore witness as society embraced new rules and protested the old. From the scourge of AIDS to weather at its worst, our cameras never stopped rolling.
What began as a single news channel, virtually under the radar, with 94 employees has grown to become a flagship now with a station group of 16 newsrooms across the country, nearly 1,200 people strong.
And, by the way, from that original group of 94, 13 of us remain in the NY1 family. In 20 years we’ve given our viewers a front row seat to the most compelling stories of the day and we promise to be there for the next 20 at least.