Lee Goldberg grew up in Boston, but after 24 years at WABC/7 as chief meteorologist, he's New York enough to know that Long Island was critical in the race to the moon. As "this young kid watching any kind of story [on TV] whether related to weather, or science," he says, "I remember seeing this report about the building of the lunar module." It was a report, he says, from Bethpage.
Goldberg recently went to Bethpage to see for himself that historic Grumman facility where the lunar module was built, for a special airing July 20 (WABC/7, at 7 p.m.). As of now, “Moon Landing 50: Discovering Long Island’s Contribution,” appears to be the only special by a major New York station devoted to Long Island's central role in the Apollo 11 moon landing.
"It's an incredible secret," said Goldberg. "You get there and all the retired Grumman employees are there, and there's a welling of pride. All they want to do is talk about it. I can't believe it hasn't been a more popular subject [for TV]. It's such a great legacy for the Island and for the whole tri-state area."
Dianne Baumert-Moyik, senior manager of external affairs for Northrop Grumman, who is interviewed for the Ch. 7 special, said in a recent phone interview that "during the Apollo days, nine thousand Grumman employees were working on the [module] program and seven thousand of them in Bethpage." She says that "hundreds" of retirees still live on Long Island and in the New York area, and many work as staff at the Northrop Grumman History Center in Bethpage, where portions of the special were taped.
Goldberg said his biggest revelation was the "intricacy" of the project and "the trust they had in their engineers. You could only go so far in that dayand age [but] they knew they could do it. It was just remarkable to hear them talk about it, and the confidence they had in each other."