On December 7, 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev, then the Secretary General of the Soviet Union, arrived in New York City with his wife, Raisa, to address the United Nations. Such a gridlock was anticipated in New York City that 6600 police officers were on duty.
His address to the United Nations was one of the most significant speeches of the last half of the twentieth century, because he essentially outlined his plans for troop reductions in Eastern Europe and the withdrawal from Afghanistan, all of this leading to the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
Ronald Knapp, who had won the Gorbachev Look-Alike Contest in Hollywood a year before, was invited to New York City to do a one-hour show simultaneous with Mikhail Gorbachev's arrival. Fox TV's Gordon Elliott was experimenting with an early version of "Reality TV" with a program, "Good Day, New York." At 7:00 a.m., Ronald Knapp would be knocking on doors in New Jersey, wearing his birthmark, and the TV cameras would capture the reactions of the residents.
New York City was primed for Gorbachev's visit, and Ronald Knapp was a great hit as he knocked on doors and greeted people in their homes in New Jersey. Fox decided to hire a limo and turn Knapp loose on New York, just to see what would happen. It exploded. Not only did the New Yorkers line up to shake his hand and greet him, even Donald Trump came down from his Tower.
On that day Ronald Knapp became infamous as an impostor and became Gorby 2, an identity that has stuck with him in the twenty-five years since that eventful day. The "Afterword" has excerpts from the articles that gave him the "impostor" designation. I was with him in New York City on December 7, 1988. We went to New York for one day, and we ended up staying for eighteen days.