Thursday, January 26, 2017

Schulenberg's Page: New York, Part XCVI

Text and Illustrations by ©Bob Schulenberg

May, 1967.
So we were on Fire Island in The Hideaway, a house that I had agreed to share for the summer. I was getting a lot of work assignments and being in prestigious magazines like New York was attracting other magazines and even advertising agencies so I was looking forward to a summer spent meeting interesting professional people and basking on a beach in the sun. Fire Island Pines seemed the perfect idyllic contrast to hectic Manhattan.

There were no cars on the island and every house had a little red wagon to use for trips to the market. The walkways were made of nonintrusive wood and blended into the pine tree-filled landscape. It was beautifully picturesque. Our first weekend it rained — so any visit to the beach was out!
Calvin Hampton was a friend of one of the housemates and dropped in for a visit. He was an organist and composer and was beginning to receive attention for his work.

He was an interesting guy and we got into a long conversation about music.

Since it was raining and it was my first day in a new house there wasn't anything else to do, Calvin was the kind of person I'd hoped to meet!
Leonard Goldstein, also a housemate, was a lawyer. And very serious.
Scott Hutton was another housemate.
And another housemate, Tony Favello, had a dog named "Troilus" and a cat named "Mouse." A dog and cat made the house seem more homey!
It continued to rain over the weekend and late afternoons became Cocktail Hour at the Botel, which was located at the dock where private sailboats and motor launches were docked. It was a small hotel with a restaurant/bar/discothèque on the ground floor. There was a large deck adjoining and the overflow crowd merged onto it as some of the people staying on their boats entertained them; it was one big party — even in the rain!
Finally Sunday it was time to go back to the city so we got onto the ferry just as it stopped raining and we could enjoy a beautiful bright, clear sunset. Maybe we'd have better weather the next weekend!
Finally back in Manhattan!
That evening I met Paul Bartel and Burt Bluestein at The Coffee Mill.
We continued to brainstorm and try to think of ways to exploit our movie, THE SECRET CINEMA.
The next day my grandfather came into the city from Long Island where he'd been staying with his niece and her husband. After visiting the Metropolitan Museum, we went to the Restaurant at the Bethesda Fountain for lunch. It was the best place to see real New Yorkers; somehow it hadn't been invaded by tourists!
My grandfather had been an industrial engineer and was very knowledgeable about metals and at the museum was fascinated by the bronze statuary. He made me nervous by knocking his ring against the metal to judge the thickness — or something.

I was too preoccupied looking out for guards to ask any details!
When I was a kid, we had a brick barbecue in a garden patio and some of my early memories were of garden dinner parties where my father barbecued steaks that he'd marinated the night before.

My grandfather enjoyed these evenings so much that he tinkered in his shop downtown and using aspects of our barbecue, he made one on wheels; one that was small enough to be carted around and was serviceable enough for people living in apartments. He thought that it would be a good idea if everyone could have a barbecue!

It was! He invented the portable barbecue, expanded his shop and in a short time was called "the Barbecue King!" In postwar WW II America it was something everybody wanted!
He had a wry sense of humor; in the museum he told me something I hadn't known, that his mother had had ten children.

When I expressed surprise, he just smiled and said, "It's easy when you know how."

And he was a tremendous flirt: when the young hostess at the restaurant asked if we'd like to be in the sun or the shade, he winked at her and replied, "both!"
After lunch, he went back out to Long Island and I went home to work.
Subway people ...
A few days later on Saturday, I stopped in Hicksville on my way out to Fire Island. My grandfather was visiting there with his grandnephew Eugene and his wife Edna, who had a young baby.
So hoping for good weather and starting this time from Hicksville, I again made the trip out to Fire Island.
At least it wasn't raining and I ran into an old friend, David Rounds, who years later would be featured in the original musical, Chicago.

Going to the opening night of that show, I saw David in the lobby which surprised me. I asked him if he wouldn't be penalized by Actors' Equity for not being backstage before the performance! His name was still listed in the program.

He said that he was no longer in the show; that during the previous night's final dress rehearsal it was realized that his character was so similar to another character that the show would be tighter by giving his songs and business to the other, consolidating them into one. Not David.

So here he was in 1967 — at The Pines.
And at The Hideaway, Gary Van Kirk.
And "Troilus" and "Mouse's" Dad, Tony Favello.
Also housemates, Scott Hutton ...
... and Steve Fellouris.
So the weekend had ended and we were back on the ferry to Manhattan!
The Pines was popular internationally — these guys were German.
Back in the city, what to do?

Go back to Max's Kansas City (of course!) to meet up with Amy Vane and Maurice "KUKU" Jacobs, among others!
Maurice Jacobs had lent us all the furs we used in THE SECRET CINEMA. The store was called KUKU FURS, so Paul named him "Maurice Kuku."
Amy and Maurice at Max's.
Another week begun at Max's Kansas City.

Addictive!
Contact Bob here.
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