Our Town: Tedesco is voice of Williston Park

Dr Tom Ferraro

I have known Richard Tedesco for some time now. He was the guy that wrote about my book and my work as a sport psychologist. I am grateful and indebted to him. He gave me that gift and here is my gift to him.

As all of you know Richard is an award-winning reporter. He writes maybe 10 pieces per week for the Williston Times and the New Hyde Park Herald. That’s a lot of typing. And he was gracious enough and brave enough to come to my office this week to subject himself to my psychoanalytic gaze and questions. 

Richard was born in Brooklyn and raised in Garden City. His dad was a family physician and he had one older brother who was an artist.  

He is of Armenian and Italian descent. He went to Garden City High School and then to Bard College.  He received a masters in journalism from New York University. In other words he is yet another example of the hidden talent we have in Williston Park.  

He went on to work in radio and then for the New York Post as a freelance reporter before he settled in the work locally. 

I always ask writers how they write. When I asked him he said “Well, I let the story tell itself. You never know what you will find. I’m a pretty good listener.”  

Writing takes energy and I always need either coffee or a donut to write 800 words.  

He said “I will usually eat nuts or chocolate and for longer stories I use the weekend where I have more time and energy.” 

His favorite stories are about military vets he has written and radio stories he’s done on baseball stars like Roy Campanella, Lou Brock, Stan Musial and Kirby Puckett. 

I asked him how he finds the lead or through line of a story. 

He told me “often something will emerge that defines the person and that’s what I look for.” 

I immediately thought how this is exactly what I must do every session with patients. They will come in armed with defense and a strong desire to hide the truth. The analyst’s job is to watch for clues in either slips of the tongue, or dreams which reveal the inner workings of the person.  

When I interview people for my column I will also watch for this “defining moment” as well. This is reminiscent of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” as he photographed his subjects.  

So when Richard talked about these ‘defining moments’ during interviews I realized I had one with him. 

As I listened to him speak and watched him I could see he has what I call gravitas. 

Gravitas is what Matt Damon has and what Ben Affleck does not have. Robert DeNiro has gravitas and Leonardo DiCaprio does not. 

The dictionary defines gravitas as ‘a serious or dignified demeanor.’ This is Richard Tedesco. I think this is something some people are born with and it can’t be learned.

We finished the interview with him commenting “I like to think I give service to the community.” 

I asked him if he felt he had power as a journalist he said “No not too much. Things get forgotten very quickly.”  

But he is wrong about this.  He does have power. His work is read by many each week. 

In fact he is the real voice of Williston Park.  

His words in some way form and define our community. He entertains, he informs and he educates.  

And this is the process and the value of all artists and all writers.  

No one takes the time to say thanks, so here let me say it. 

Thank you Richard Tedesco for all your work and your kindness and your decency and your seriousness. 

Williston Park is a much better community for it.

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