Summer of 1977

Son Of Sam: This Summer In 1977, An NYC Serial Killer Is Taken Down By A Parking Ticket
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Sign up here to receive free newsletters and alerts from the New York City Patch. In spring , police connected the dots and alerted the public: A serial killer known only as the "Son of Sam" — a name he gave himself in letters sent to the NYPD — had, for upward of a year by then, been stalking and killing beautiful young women and their lovers with his. By July, the killer, later identified as year-old postal worker and Bronx native David Berkowitz, had struck eight times.


Six people were dead and another seven wounded, some of them maimed for life. Berkowitz had a type, police said. His targets were mostly young, white, middle-class women — the youngest just 16 years old — who wore their hair long and dark. The killer was also playful, in the sickest sense — taunting police and the public with notes and other tokens of his crimes.

The wemon of Queens are z prettyist of all [stet]. I must be the water they drink. I live for the hunt — my life. Blood for papa. Nights were blazing hot, and AC wasn't cheap; still, many opted to stay indoors. Young women reportedly took to the salon en masse, asking their stylists to chop their hair short or dye it blonde. Spending a night on the town with a lover or taking a stroll home after dark were no longer carefree acts of summer living — they were acts of defiance. Sam's reign of terror was given all the more reach by its bombastic coverage in the New York Post and the New York Daily News, the city's two leading tabloids.

The Post and the Daily News were at the height of their rivalry that summer, media folks often recall, and were constantly trying to out-dramatize each other. And when Daily News staffer Jimmy Breslin began receiving letters from the killer himself, the newspaper ran them in full.

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She was a very sweet girl, but Sam's thirsty lad and he won't let me stop killing until he gets his fill of blood. Berkowitz would later clarify what, exactly, his "fill" would have been: A mass shooting he planned to carry out at a Hamptons nightclub, leaving scores of "pretty girls" dead on the dance floor.

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From the blackout to the caliber killer, these photos of New York City in the summer of reveal a city on the brink of collapse. The New York City blackout of was an electricity blackout that affected most of New York . depicted among a series of tumultuous events that grip the panic- stricken characters of a tight-knit Bronx community during the summer of

He wanted to go down in a "blaze of glory," he reportedly told police, and commit suicide by cop. Fortunately for a city in turmoil, it never came to that — thanks to a single parking ticket. According to a story on his capture in Time Magazine , the tip that would end the NYPD's epic manhunt for Sam — the largest the city had ever seen — came from a middle-aged woman in South Brooklyn who had been walking her dog, Snowball, on the night of his final attack.

So, on the fated evening of Aug. Camilo J. Wikimedia Commons. A woman sits along the streets. Residents of Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood sit in folding chairs, July 21, A child passes a blazing can in Harlem. National Archives and Records Administration. Yankees manager Billy Martin, and the team's strutting superstar, Reggie Jackson, nearly come to blows. A group dancing at Studio Curtis Mayfield poses inside Studio Richard E. Front page of the Daily News following the blackout. NY Daily News. At dawn on July 14, the Manhattan skyline shows no lights due to the blackout.

What the French did not know was that the Howard Beach protests were part of a broader middle-class rebellion. Eight years of Mayor John V. Lindsay had taken their toll. His attempts to empower the underclass had served to disfranchise the working class. Fast on his heels came Mayor Beame and a city financial crisis that decimated job rolls and services.

The narrow rivers that separated the other boroughs from Manhattan had never felt so vast. Ultimately, the Concorde won. But even in midbattle the residents of Queens had something more pressing on their minds. Madman With a Gun.

Jimmy Breslin is stretched out on the couch in his Upper West Side home. It is late afternoon some weeks ago, and he has been working on a column since a. He is drowsy, but when he hears the name David Berkowitz he perks up. In , Mr. Breslin was writing for The Daily News.

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On March 9, he went to Forest Hills, where an Armenian exchange student, Virginia Voskerichian, had been killed the night before. The body was found within yards of the site of another murder a few months earlier. The slugs, from a. Several other unsolved murders dating to the previous summer, all involving young women with shoulder-length brown hair, were soon linked to the case as well. In April, the killer struck again, this time in the Bronx. He left a note between the two bloody bodies: ''I am the Son of Sam.

I love to hunt. Prowling the streets looking for fair game -- tasty meat. The women of Queens are the prettyest. The next letter, in June, was to Mr. Breslin himself. Don't think that because you haven't heard from me in a while that I went to sleep. The News teased at the letter's contents all week, running headlines like ''.

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Son of Sam was now The News's story, and the paper intended to wring it dry. Breslin said. But Son of Sam soon struck again in Queens, and then in Brooklyn. He was not captured until Aug. Mario M. Cuomo, the Queens lawyer who unsuccessfully ran for mayor that year against a low-profile congressman, Edward I.

New York 1977 archive footage

Koch, recently recalled campaigning that summer. A woman in Brighton Beach spat on me. Even the Yankees, once a psychic oasis for New Yorkers, were being torn apart. The team's two biggest personalities, Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin, could not get along, and it was hard not to see race, class and a tug-of-war between the past and the future at the root of their dispute.

View all New York Times newsletters. Jackson was a new breed of ballplayer.

What Events Happened in 1977

Part P. He was a regular at a new nightspot, Studio He'd often show up in Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and a polo shirt with his pal Ralph Destino, the chairman of Cartier, after dining at Jim McMullen's, a favorite haunt for Eileen Ford models. Jackson loved his time in New York. The big exception was the summer of ' ''I almost cracked up,'' he said. Jackson's nemesis, Billy Martin, represented everything the swaggering slugger wasn't. He was hard-nosed, scrappy, unglamorous, a perfect emblem for the fed-up, underappreciated working class.

For the first few months of the '77 season, the two collided over Jackson's spot in the lineup, among other things. In the sixth inning, Martin pulled Jackson off the field; a punishment, ostensibly for not hustling after a pop fly. The next image would be seared on the city's consciousness: the scrawny white manager and the beefy black slugger, his glasses removed and set aside, standing chest-to-chest in the dugout.

Yogi Berra came between them before any punches could fly, but the cold war was now hot. Resented by his manager, rejected by New York, the superstar pleaded with George Steinbrenner to trade him. A larger-than-life local ballplayer was traded that month, but it wasn't Jackson.