Schuster Star Trek Conventions/1979 (February) New York City Schuster Star Trek Convention

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Star Trek America 1979 was held in New York City February 17-19. It was subtitled "Star Trek Space Expo."

Many fans also remember the massive blizzard that overtook the city that same weekend.

Guests of Honor

Convention Staff

A fan in Scuttlebutt #11 referred to this con as a "Townsley Trek in February." Another fan also referred to this con as a "Townsley con" in Fesarius #4. This means that John Townsley was probably the con chair.

Tidbits and Anecdotes

The fans who did August Party organized a mini-con within this con which started off as a joke to bolster the flagging spirits of fans stranded due to the weather ("The convention itself was unremarkable and at times downright tedious, but the company was marvelous..."). "Snowcon" included generated a filk written by Roberta Rogow and Greg Baker for this con. "Snowcon" included a borrowed projector to view movies, and a visit by James Doohan. [1]

The Program Book

Flyers, Badges, and Other Ephemera

Programming

Links to Photos and Videos

Articles/Further Reading

Con Reports

Anyway, come Sunday, hoarse of voice and short of sleep, we headed back [from Boskone] toward Washington, D.C. At about Hartford I remembered that the Townsley thing lasted until Monday, so we decided to stop in New York to hit a few parties and see a few friends. We got there about 9:30 that night, in time for the tail end of the costume call. It was small, but the costumes were top of the line. The winner was Destiny (no surprise there) wearing a Dagget costume that covered her entire body (Now that was a surprise!)

We called home once the costume call was over. They told us about four inches of snow was on the ground and four more were expected. So, rather than drive home at night through the falling snow, we decided to wait it out til morning in the hopes that the roads would be cleared by then.

Morning dawned brightly. It had to, with the light reflecting off all that snow. 18 inches in New York, better than two and a half feet in parts of Washington. We not only couldn't drive the car out of N.Y.C., we couldn't see the car. tit was one of those humps visible out of the hotel window.) And so, out of necessity, SNOWCON was born. In the fanzine room that morning we discovered that the convention had been a bust. The stars that were there couldn't say anything about the movie we hadn't already heard, and not many people had showed up to listen.

Anyway, with better than a foot of the white stuff on the ground and no way to leave, I drew up the first SNOWCON badge (an Enterprise stuck in a snowdrift with the caption, "Scotty, I don't think we can get out of here.") Soon they were being ground out one after the other, until by mid-morning SNOWCON badges were being accepted by con security (which was a good thing...none of us had purchased one of theirs). The con also had its own poster and its own filksong, created by Greg Baker, which included the lyrics, "The fans who came from Washington were howling in despair/the fans who came from Montreal walked 'round with shoulders bare..." and the break strain, "The snow is outside! It's coming up the side of the building! It's coming in the window! Does it have a badge?" The committee (self-appointed — I was Grand Blizzard) held a con suite party Monday night (what else did we have to do?). The munchies were Boskone surplus and whatever people could bring.

We did pretty well. The room was stuffed, we sang, showed an episode, Jimmy Doohan stopped by for awhile. All the out-of-towners (and in-towners, too — the subways were all but useless, and the buses, forget it) joined in. [2]

It was in New York City, in February 1979, that we were all snowed in at the Statler Hilton as a blizzard crossed the northeastern section of the U.S. It began to snow a little on Monday around dinnertime. This was the last day of the con; we would drive home on Tuesday morning. But the snow kept falling and several in our party had phoned home to receive dire weather forecasts on what was happening in Baltimore. Our dilemma was whether or not to extend our hotel rooms for another night. Would we be able to get home tomorrow or not? I called my friend and neighbor who was taking care of my sons (I was by then a widow) and I remember her saying, "Don't even try to come home. Please, stay where you are." The boys were safe, she was fine with keeping them. We were all told that the interstates were nearly impassable as the storm wended its way up toward us, dumping inch after inch of snow, with gusting winds and a speed of accumulation that marked it an official blizzard.

We all got together and decided to double up on some of our rooms, filling each to maximum capacity and sharing the extended charges. Luggage was shifted around and arrangements made, then we headed down to the hotel bar, shrugging our shoulders and making the best of it! Jimmy Doohan was in the bar, I recall, playing a borrowed guitar and entertaining everyone. Jimmy, bless his heart, had always been friendly with the fans, always one of us.

An amusing story about Jimmy, which I think happened at that same convention, earlier in the weekend. Our friend, New Jersey fan Carolyn Venino, who was using a wheelchair at the hotel, had gone out to dinner. She returned in a taxi with several other friends. Upon arrival, they were struggling to get her out of the cab and into her chair. Jimmy was standing out front at that moment, saw their efforts, and chivalrously moved in to help. But he had sized up the situation wrongly, and was intent on stuffing her back inside the cab! Carolyn finally had to say, "Jimmy, I'm trying to get out of the cab!"

Be that as it may, we all enjoyed the serenade by him that snowy evening, and we kept the scotch flowing.

The next morning, Tuesday, we waited out the end of the storm. When all had been calculated, it was the Baltimore-Washington area that had received the brunt of the snow, around 20 inches, while Manhattan only received 13 inches. Many of the secondary roads were closed, the interstates were just gradually being cleared. When I called home, my sitter recounted how the snow was up to the middle of our storm doors in drifts, and that when the boys had insisted on bundling up and going out, my younger son, David, had momentarily dropped out of her sight, the snow being over his five-year-old head! [3]

References

  1. from Command Center Jan/Feb 1979
  2. by Rich Kolker in Fesarius #4
  3. from Nancy Kippax, Reminisce With Me/The Big New York Cons, Part II, 2008

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