IT'S BEEN DIFFICULT to write the top of this column when I didn't have anything good to report the next day. I've known the subject of this one for a few weeks and that doesn't make it any easier.
This is my last column for the Philadelphia Daily News.
I started at the paper in the fall of 1998 as an editorial assistant.
And Feb. 10 would have marked my nine-year anniversary of writing the gossip column.
The decision to leave was mine alone. The paper's parent company offered voluntary buyouts and it seemed like a good opportunity for me to try something new. I have a few avenues I am pursuing both in and outside of journalism.
Departing the Daily News was without a doubt the hardest decision I have ever made. Throughout my time here, especially while writing the gossip column, I have had the chance to do such things as drive a SEPTA bus, or expense lap dances as "investigatory" journalism while covering the opening of a new strip club, that I simply could not have had working anywhere else.
I will never forget Allen Iverson yelling at me in the Sixers' locker room while I pursued a story about a casino confrontation in Atlantic City, or watching gay porn with my colleague Stephanie Farr to see whether twin brothers who were accused of a string of burglaries - and dabbled in adult film - would have sex with one another.
(They didn't, but they did kiss.)
From the absurd to the most mundane of items, each day I came to work I was blessed to be surrounded by a crew of dedicated news professionals, each of whom has a love for the job, for our readers, and for the Daily News.
I will miss every one of them.
But enough about me. What does this mean to you, dear reader? Who now will chronicle Damon Feldman's latest nonsense, or who's eating at Davio's or let you know what the city's meteorologists are up to?
The answer: Molly Eichel.
A Daily News reporter for two years, Eichel previously worked for the City Paper. She's smart, funny, and has a keen grasp on what is going on in the worlds of entertainment and around town.
Starting Monday, Molly will be writing the local gossip column, and I strongly encourage my sources to please contact her with any tips or story ideas.
I didn't think I was ready to take over the column from Stu Bykofsky in 2004 when I did. I would never say I did it better, but I did it differently. I expect Molly to also do her own thing, while still informing and entertaining.
You can contact her at EichelM@phillynews.com or 215-854-5909. Molly will now be on Twitter @PhillyGossip in addition to @MollyEichel.
And rest assured, Philly.com commenters, she wears ladyglasses, too, just like me, so I'm sure you will have fun harassing her in the comments section.
Although this is my last column, my last assignment, fittingly, is covering WIP's Wing Bowl 21 Friday at the Wells Fargo Center. You can read all about it in SportsWeek this weekend.
During my tenure at the Daily News, and especially while writing the gossip column, I met thousands of people and made lots of friends, and yes, a number of enemies, too. I hope to still be in touch with many of you. You can follow me on Twitter @DanGross215 or
email DanGross215 @gmail.com.
As they said on "Seinfeld" by way of "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan," I'm not really gone if you find a way to remember me.