From sun to snow, Gregory’s the man from New Ro in the know
With the weather in New Rochelle changing from 66 degrees with spots of sun Wednesday to 34 degrees with three to six inches of snow blanketing the city today, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take a moment to salute TV weatherman Nick Gregory, who lives in the city and has been Fox 5Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s meteorologist for over 20 years. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been with the network for half of the history of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fox 5 News at 10,Ã¢â‚¬? which celebrates its 40th anniversary tonight with a 30-minute retrospective at 10:30 p.m.
In addition to his weather analysis for Fox 5, he offers forecasts weekday mornings for 106.7 LiteFM radio. A licensed pilot and flight instructor with more than 25 years worth of experience, he also serves as the networkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s aviation expert. Prior to joining Fox 5, the 1982 graduate of Lyndon State College in Vermont worked as the morning meteorologist for CNN in Atlanta and at an ABC affiliate in Jacksonville, Fla.
For 11 years, he has been flying missions for Angel Flight, a nonprofit organization that transports needy patients who require medical treatment and their families for free. Because of his dedication to charity and visits to tri-state schools, Gregory received the New York City ComptrollerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Award for community service twice and was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Hellenic Times.
The 46-year-old husband and father of three talked with Remote Access on Tuesday about his career, the anniversary and Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Simpsons.Ã¢â‚¬?
Remote Access: How long have you lived in Westchester?
Nick Gregory: Most of my life. (My family) actually moved to New Rochelle when I was 7. We lived there until I went away to college at 18, and then I moved back to Westchester in 1987. I was living in Bronxville for a year, then I moved to Rye Brook for 10 years and now IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been back to New Rochelle for the last nine years. So, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty much a Westchester boy.
Remote Access: Do you have a favorite New Rochelle hangout?
Nick Gregory: Oh, gosh. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a tough question. Well, I like to go The Sterling Inn (restaurant) sometimesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. I mean, when I was growing up, I could tell you my haunts then but Ã¢â‚¬â€ (laughs) Ã¢â‚¬â€ I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t necessarily go there now. I went to Iona Prep after (William B.) Ward (Elementary) School. Back then, the big thing was to hang out at the Beechmont (Tavern) down by the high school there. I go to New Roc (City). I work out at the BallyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s there a lot. We take the kids there; they like to go for the hibachi steakhouses there, so we tend to go there. And I live very close to the Quaker Ridge Shopping Center, so we take the kids there for ice cream.
Remote Access: How old were you when you realized you wanted to do the weather report?
Nick Gregory: Really, from the time I was like 5 or 10 years old. In New Rochelle at the time, I used to watch Tex Antoine, Dr. Frank Field and Joe Witte. I used to watch all those guys. My parents used to be very frustrated, because I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go to bed unless I watched the weather. (Laughs.) I used to wake up at like 3 oÃ¢â‚¬â„¢clock in the morning and put on my (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio and get the latest coordinates on a hurricane that was out in the Atlantic. So my parents were a little, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just say, concerned about my future. When I was 14, I really decided that thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what I wanted to do. In high school there at Iona Prep, I used to do the weather for the school newspaper, and then I ended up getting an internship at (age) 17 at WCBS here in New York. And the rest I guess, as they say, is history.
Remote Access: WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the most exciting facet of being a meteorologist?
Nick Gregory: Well, you know, the great thing is that the weatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always changing. Some jobs can be the same old routine every day. I know that when I come to work, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always going to be some new challenge in the forecast, because the weather maps are never always identical. There are similar patterns, but again, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always challenge to forecast whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coming up over the next five to seven days, particularly when you have to deal with rain versus snow. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the fun part.
Remote Access: Have you ever done anything for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fox 5 News at 10,Ã¢â‚¬? other than weather, aviation or science?
Nick Gregory: YesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. One time, a long time ago, during the blizzard of 1996, I actually co-achored a newscast during that blizzard that Sunday night. So that was pretty excitingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
Remote Access: Tell me a little bit about Angel Flight.
Nick Gregory: Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ As a pilot, you have to fly your airplane every two or three weeks, or itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just not good for the airplane. So, I look at it as, “Do I want to go for the $300 cheeseburger with a couple of friends, or do I want to go and maybe help change somebodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life?” So thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really what Angel Flight is all about.
Remote Access: What does the 40th anniversary mean to you?
Nick Gregory: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been thinking about it for the last couple of weeks, about some of the stories that theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re getting ready to air and put together for (tonight)Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s anniversary (show). ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really significant to know that this really was the groundbreaking mold for a 10 oÃ¢â‚¬â„¢clock news in the country, certainly the first in the city here Ã¢â‚¬â€ again, the original one and, I still feel, the best one. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m honored and proud to have been a part of it for half of that time, because IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been here over 20 years now. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen our facilities grow and technology (improve). ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a really great run, and to be a part of it for half of those 40 years, I feel very honored.
Remote Access: Have you ever thought about taking the talk show path of former weatherman and current North Salem resident David Letterman?
Nick Gregory: I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a tough job. They say comedy is the hardest thing to do, and not many people can make that transition and be successful at it. So, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m very content doing the weather. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a passion of mine since I was a little boy.Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m having a great time.
Remote Access: ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 4:26 p.m. Do you know where your children are?
Nick Gregory: Yes, I do. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re home from school nowÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
Remote Access: Are you smarter than a fifth-grader?
Nick Gregory: (Laughs.) IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to think so. Actually, our oldest daughterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in fifth grade. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m here when the programÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on the air, so I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been able to watch it with herÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to think IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m smarter than a fifth-grader. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to ask my daughter that.
Remote Access: WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s your favorite Fox show?
Nick Gregory: IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a Ã¢â‚¬Å“SimpsonsÃ¢â‚¬? fan. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve loved Ã¢â‚¬Å“The SimpsonsÃ¢â‚¬? since it first came (out). I remember when they were just an element on Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Tracey Ullman Show,Ã¢â‚¬? thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when when I had started working here. They grew out of that little two-minute segment into their own series. I think theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re just so clever. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s amazing over the years that they can be so creative and clever. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m so excited for the movie this summer.
Remote Access: WhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s your favorite Ã¢â‚¬Å“SimpsonsÃ¢â‚¬? character and why?
Nick Gregory: Oh, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gotta be Homer. Homer epitomizes the person weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d all like to be at some point in our life.
(Photo by Uli Rose.)