Jim Dwyer Wiki – Biography
Jim Dwyer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, columnist and author who made New York City his beat, writing about terrorist attacks, police corruption and the everyday frustrations and comic encounters of the city’s workers, commuters and dreamers has died.
Mr. Dwyer, a native New Yorker and the son of Irish immigrants, followed in a long tradition of newsprint bards who walked the city’s streets, chatted with strangers and reveled in the city’s grit and glamour. While working successively at New York Newsday, the Daily News and the New York Times, he also wrote six books, on subjects as varied as the city’s subway system, terrorist attacks and a group of college students creating an Internet company — and was featured as a character in a Broadway play by Nora Ephron.
In 1995, when Mr. Dwyer won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at New York Newsday, a now-defunct edition of the Long Island-based Newsday, his editor, Donald Forst, called him “quintessential New York. He is smart and wise, tough and compassionate. And he has a touch of the poet in him which shows in his writing.”
Mr. Dwyer was a beat reporter before finding wider acclaim in the late 1980s with a column in Newsday about New York’s subway system. In one column, he wrote about a snake that got loose on a train.
“Is it a live snake?” a subway official asked the driver over a radio.
“Very much so.”
“All right,” the official said. “Make an announcement that the train is going out of service. Evacuate the passengers.”
“The snake already did that,” the driver replied.
Mr. Dwyer’s tales about the city’s vibrant underground world led to his first book, “Subway Lives,” in 1991.
“The subways have become the great public commons of the city,” he wrote, “where acts of the heart and warped adventures are played out every day. Every rank of New Yorker is indentured to the subway. Nobody rides first class. Only in the dim warrens of the subway, cursed accomplice of daily existence, can the full spectrum of city life — with all the bewildering diversity of its pathologies and its glories — be glimpsed, felt, and at times even understood.”
In his review for The Washington Post, critic Jonathan Yardley said Mr. Dwyer “has transcended mere standard-issue vox-populi sentimentality and written just about as good a book about New York as you could hope to find.”
After almost four years, Mr. Dwyer climbed out of the subways to become a city columnist, writing three times a week about the ever-changing daily parade of New York City. He joined a storied group of New York tabloid columnists whose names and faces were familiar to millions, including Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill and Murray Kempton, who had inspired Mr. Dwyer during his youth.
Jim Dwyer Age
Jim Dwyer has died at the age of 63-years-old.
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Mr. Dwyer attended Catholic schools and began publishing a mimeographed newspaper with friends while in high school. He attended Fordham University in the Bronx, aiming for a career in medicine but was drawn to journalism. After he tried to help a man having a seizure on a street, he wrote about it for the school paper, showing the hallmarks of his later work:
“Charlie Martinez, whoever he was, lay on the cold sidewalk in front of Dick Gidron’s used Cadillac place on Fordham Road. He had picked a fine afternoon to go into convulsions: the sky was sharp and cool, a fall day that made even Fordham Road look good.”
After graduating in 1979, he received a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1980, then worked at newspapers in New Jersey before joining Newsday in 1984.
Jim Dwyer Career
Mr. Dwyer was soon recognized as their journalistic heir. In 1992, he and several Newsday colleagues shared the Pulitzer for their coverage of a Manhattan subway accident that killed five people. The next year, he covered a bombing at the World Trade Center by Muslim extremists, then collaborated with several Newsday colleagues on a book about it, “Two Seconds Under the World.”
When Newsday shut down its Manhattan edition in 1995, Mr. Dwyer moved to the Daily News, where he became one of the tabloid’s star columnists. In 2000, he wrote about the killing of an unarmed Black man, Patrick Dorismond, by an undercover police officer. In his sharp criticism of police officials and then-New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Dwyer charged them with blaming the victim.
“And what could any of these grand figures say?” he wrote in the Daily News. “Perhaps the first word of sorrow, sympathy, or regret.
“Anything other than what was said by Mayor Giuliani, whose public rants all but declare the killing of Dorismond a public service.”
In 2001, Mr. Dwyer moved to the Times as a Metro reporter. On Sept. 11, 2001, he covered the terrorist attack in which two jetliners were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing almost 3,000 people.
Several months later, Mr. Dwyer was one of the reporters who contributed to a powerful Times interactive story, “102 Minutes,” detailing what happened inside the World Trade Center after the attack, from communications problems among first responders to farewell phone calls from doomed office workers.
In 2005, Mr. Dwyer and Kevin Flynn published a book-length account of the disaster, “102 Minutes,” which was praised as one the finest accounts of the 9/11 attack.
Mr. Dwyer began writing the Times’s “About New York” column in 2007, alternating between hard-hitting pieces on public wrongdoing and wry observations on the never-ending ironies of life in New York. One of his favorite subjects was a state senator, Martin J. Golden, whose views on the use of speed cameras changed almost as often as he was cited for speeding.
“It can be hard to keep up with Mr. Golden sometimes,” Mr. Dwyer wrote in 2018.
“He moves fast — or at least, whoever is driving his car does.
“Mr. Golden has gotten 10 tickets since 2015 because someone behind the wheel of his personal Cadillac was caught speeding in school zones.”
He scornfully called such a feat — given the scarcity of such cameras — “a rare accomplishment in New York.”
James Gerard Dwyer was born March 4, 1957, in New York and grew up on East 95th Street in Manhattan. His mother was a nurse at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, his father a public school custodian.
Wife & Children
In 1981, he married Catherine “Cathy” Muir. In addition to his wife, of New York, survivors include two daughters, Maura Dwyer of Brooklyn and Catherine Dwyer of West Philadelphia; and three brothers.
Mr. Dwyer continued to write his “About New York” column for the Times until this past summer. One of his final columns drew parallels between hospital cooks during the covid-19 pandemic and an Irish grandmother, known as “Nan the Point,” who delivered food each day amid the influenza pandemic of 1918 to her daughter’s family of seven children.
She left a pot of food on a rock outside the daughter’s house, then came back the next day with a fresh pot.
“Her daughter, Mary,” Mr. Dwyer wrote, “and her husband, Paddy Dwyer, survived to have five more children. The grandchildren of Nan the Point in just that one house would go on to issue 45 of their own offspring. . . .
“I am one of the 45 great-grandchildren who came from the house that did not die out because Nan the Point left pots of food on a rock, upwind.”
Cause of Death
Jim Dwyer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, columnist and author whose stylish journalism captured the human dramas of New York City for readers of New York Newsday, The Daily News and The New York Times for nearly four decades, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 63.
His death, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was announced by Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, and Clifford Levy, the paper’s metropolitan editor, in an email to the Times staff. The cause was complications of lung cancer.
In prose that might have leapt from best-selling novels, Mr. Dwyer portrayed the last minutes of thousands who perished in the collapse of the World Trade Center’s twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001; detailed the terrors of innocent Black youths pulled over and shot by racial-profiling state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike; and told of the coronavirus besieging a New York City hospital.
The cause was complications from lung cancer, said his daughter Catherine Dwyer.
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