John Montone made his retirement announcement Thursday morning on 1010 WINS.
"Today, I hang them up for the finishing pole, the bicycle and pickle ball paddle. I am retiring," he announced.
Montone was the master of the "person on the street" interview and a staple on morning news radio.
"What I'll miss most is talking to the people who made the city what it is," Montone told Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter. "The hardhats who work overnight, the nurses working double shifts, the cabbies, the bus drivers, the people on a subway platform at 4 o'clock in the morning."
For four decades, Montone interviewed them all and told the story of the city through their eyes.
He covered baseball openers, Broadway closings, mayoral races, police chases and the city's brightest days and its darkest hours - including the 9/11 terror attacks when he was covered in ash from the collapsed South Tower.
"My lasting memory before the South Tower fell and I got trampled and was covered in ash, as you say, was the line of young firefighters walking into the South Tower," he recalled.
One of the most memorable moments of his career was covering flash flooding in Hoboken.
"As I'm driving there in the company car, the 1010 WINS mobile unit, I'm realizing - I just don't know - then blub, blub, blub," he said. "The water came up into the car, I'm sitting with water up to here. All of my equipment was drowning, I'm holding my phone up here."
He was holding up his phone so he could still tell the story.
Come hell or high water, literally, Montone always got the job done.
And for that, and for painting pictures with his voice, he will be missed.
VIDEO | Watch Bill Ritter's complete interview with John Montone:
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