It was 1974. Jack Teich. Kidnapped at his LI home. The $750,000 ransom (equal to today’s $4 mil) never fully recovered — although now he has. I know Jack Teich. He’s my friend lawyer Barry Slotnick’s friend, and he’s now out with just-published “Operation Jacknap: A True Story of Kidnapping, Extortion, Ransom, and Rescue.”
Why his book now, after so many years?
“I’m not getting younger. I was too emotional before. That was the radicalized ’70s. A year earlier was the John Paul Getty III kidnapping. Nine months before, Patty Hearst. I’ve saved all court papers and ransom notes. The story needed documenting for my children and grandchildren, who knew nothing.
“It took counseling, therapy, medication, years of getting back to myself. Finally, now, I manage to sleep.
“It was terrible, Locked in a closet seven days. Chained on my neck, hands and feet. A pail to relieve myself. I prayed. Thought of my wife, two little children. I never thought, absolutely did not think I’d ever get out. I thought they’d throw a match in there.”
It all began the night this successful businessman drove into his garage. Another car followed. Stepping out he faced, 6 feet away, men with ski masks. One with a shotgun, one a pistol. “Then the horror began.”
The story has now reached Netflix’s ears. Besides wanting “Ben Affleck to play me because he’s handsome,” how has life since changed for him?
“Now, driving home, I keep looking in my rearview mirror. Never did that before. Every door and window on the house is armed. Floodlights surround it. Panic buttons, everywhere. Press it, and police arrive. A brute of a driver accompanies us everywhere and lives 24/7 on the property.”
Released, “11 at night, dumped on the road near JFK Airport after paying ransom — unshaven, with their black shoe polish smeared on my face like a bum. The pocket of the raincoat I was still wearing held change. On a nearby hotel lobby payphone, I called home. Ten FBI agents and police cars — there tracing calls — came for me three minutes later.”
For the rest of the story, read the book. And for a note to Affleck: Put down the cardboard cutout of your girlfriend Ana de Armas that your kids placed on your lawn, and call your agent.
It’s a horse, of course
A 2-year-old horse, making his Belmont Park debut, came in second. The colt’s name? Dr. Anthony Fauci. His two-legged human namesake already has a bobblehead, a beer and a doughnut named for him. The race winner was named Prisoner, and I’m happy to report Dr. Anthony Fauci the horse was a good safe social distance behind him. This year’s postponed Belmont Stakes will take place on June 20 without spectators.
Grim scenes here & there
How things are going: Lower Manhattan destruction site. Vicinity of 19 Union Square and American Eagle contractors. Corner location. A homemade stand was set up. A guy sat there. Above him, propped high atop sticks on both sides of the stand, a sign bearing huge block-printed letters that read “bricks.” He was hustling red building bricks for throwing.
On Saturday, hundreds of demonstrators marched in West Palm Beach, Fla., to protest George Floyd’s death and police brutality. Last week, bridges leading onto the island that’s Palm Beach were blocked. So to picket or wreck there, you’d have to swim across surrounding water. Also, protesters had to file for permission to march, and the famous Worth Avenue became unworthy. It’s closed. Protesters can’t get there.
Planet New York is waking back up. My favorite, Café Fiorello, Shelly Fireman’s restaurant across from Lincoln Center, is now open again. Working, cooking, serving, delivering.
Quarantining we lost eateries and weight by giving up two things — a knife and fork.
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.
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