"It was drizzling when I arrived for work and my mind was elsewhere," recalls Dunlop Media president and former New York television reporter Steve Dunlop of a remarkable morning in October 1986. "My thoughts were mostly about the Mets," who were battling the Houston Astros at the time to go on to the World Series.
Then word crossed the wires from Oslo, Norway, that Elie Wiesel, the first-person chronicler of the Nazi Holocaust, had won the Nobel Peace Prize. As a local reporter, Dunlop had known little about Wiesel, who died on July 2 at the age of 87. He learned of the author and Holocaust survivor only the year before, when Wiesel stirred controversy by publicly pleading with President Reagan not to visit a Nazi cemetery on a visit to West Germany.
When WNYW's assignment desk discovered that Wiesel was at his office in New York, Dunlop had to forget about the Mets. He quickly read up on Wiesel's life and landed a one-on-one interview with him.
"My crew and I arrived no more than an hour or two after the news broke," Dunlop remembers. "Wiesel was already on the phone, accepting messages of congratulations from around the world, switching effortlessly back and forth from one language to another. It was pretty impressive."
But what impressed Dunlop most was Wiesel's humility and sense of serenity in the face of the worldwide acclaim. "He told me how the Nobel Committee woke him up with the news. He genuinely wasn't expecting it," he says. "He struck me as a deeply spiritual, gentle and learned man. I left feeling honored to have met him."