Park Slope’s Own Pete Hamill

“There are 10,000 books in my library, and it will keep growing until I die. This has exasperated my daughters, amused my friends and baffled my accountant. If I had not picked up this habit in the library long ago, I would have more money in the bank today; I would not be richer.”-Pete Hamill, Journalist/Author

 I’m not sure how known Pete Hamill is outside of NYC, but I’ve enjoyed his newspaper columns and books for many years. Like me, Pete Hamill was born in Brooklyn, in the Park Slope section. He may be known in some quarters as a long time paramour of Shirley MacLaine…after reading her daughter’s memoir, I wonder how he lasted so long with Ms MacLaine! He also dated Jacqueline Kennedy. Pete Hamill is a REAL New Yorker…loves baseball…enjoyed a drink and thankfully stopped his drinking life in the 70s. “Alcohol seems always to have played a role in Hamill’s life. Some of his first memories are of his father, Billy Hamill-who lost a leg to gangrene after he was injured in a soccer game-coming home drunk. Or of his father spending time in neighborhood bars and the young Pete thinking, ‘This is where men go. . . . This is what men do.’  At the same time, fascinated by comic books, Hamill recounts how-in a bit of symbolism heavy enough to trip over-he realized that the comic heros got many of their secret powers from drinking secret formulas. ‘The comics taught me . . . that even the weakest human being could take a drink and be magically transformed into someone smarter, bigger, braver.”Interview with Pete Hamill, 2/15/94, Conducted by Janet Cawley, Chicago Tribune

He stopped drinking cold turkey and continued writing. Hamill has written about: baseball, growing up in Brooklyn, art, comic books, and many other subjects. He is also the author of numerous short stories and novels.

Pete Hamill is 78 today, he’s been writing for over 50 years. Read his entire bio here.







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