American flags were waiting.
morning the doors to the first New York City Pen Show were
thrown open, and excited dealers rushed in to claim assigned
tables to spread their pens, wares and good faith.
Waiting was a sea of white tablecloths holding two hundred
U.S. flags neatly lined up on every table.
It was a grand opening statement, without a word being spoken.
Len Provisor and Bruce Bentzman
first impression was a statement to a group of friends resolved
and determined to continue business, in spite of the tragedy
just sixteen days earlier conceived to stop America in it's
It did not work, and we were proud to be there. Every person
attending was participating in healing our wounds and honoring
the people of NY. I really felt a part of something important,
a moment in time to remember because I had a really good reason
to be there.
is due to many overseas friends who came, yet did not know
what to expect.
Peter Ford holds the mileage record coming from Melbourne,
Australia. Others such as Simon Gray from London, owner of
The Battersea Pen Home, who is organizer of the London Pen
Show Oct 12-14, Jim and Jane Marshall from the UK, and several
friends from Canada and Spain. The Maki-E artists from Japan
exhibiting at Platinum Pen stated after Sept. 11 they would
not even consider not coming to NY.
started out with anticipated light traffic from the public,
but slowly increased as the day came to a close. Exhibitors
and visitors received a beautiful custom embroidered cap made
by Krone also a commemorative bottle of ink from Marlen with
the NYC Pen Show logo label. Of course the front table also
had Pentrace ink blotters and literature along with Snailee
badges for our Pentrace friends.
Rosenberg from Conklin Pen Co. with his fiance Gayle.
room started humming late in the afternoon with the show progressing
until eight in the evening. Not having a pre-show trading
day as with other shows, this was a good opportunity for exhibitors
to mingle among one another, do some trading, selling and
to congratulate one another for making the trip.
New pen manufacturers set up in the first large room greeted
the visitors. Here were Jerry Greenberg with Delta, Stipula,
Dani, Rob Rosenberg from Conklin Pen Co. and what a surprise,
his fiance Gayle. Congratuations Rob and Gayle ! Jack Leone
and Howard Levy from Bexley Pen were showing off the new PCA
Limited Edition mottled ebonite with taper cap and eye drop
filler to benefit the Pen Collectors of America. This is the
first modern pen of this type, and is beautifully created.
Especially clever is the taper cap, which can be unscrewed
to remove the pocket clip if desired, more closely simulating
Engel and Terry Wiederlight of FPH
main room held all the other new and vintage exhibitors such
as Fountain Pen Hospital, Bertram's Inkwell, Bert Heiserman's
Pen Haven and about one hundred others.
Steve and Terry from FPH happily told me this was their best
show ever, with record sales loyal customers who came to show
their support. Fountain Pen Hospital is located two blocks
from the World Trade Center, was not damaged but was located
too close to allow public access. They are now open for business.
of theKrone Display
Pen, official sponsor of the show constructed a thirty foot
display of about forty historical pens and documents, each
in a lockable top hinged frame and mounted on panels for close
up inspection. Displayed were writing instruments from U.S.
Presidents such as a Martin Van Buren quill from July 4th,
1840, and Abraham Lincoln's steel dip pen used to sign the
Homestead Act May 20, 1862. Other President's pens such as
William McKinley, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman,
Eisenhower, Senator John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Carter,
Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George Bush. A Sheaffer No Nonsense
pen was displayed that was used by Ernest Hemingway to edit
his novel "The Dangerous Summer", a 14K and Mother
of Pearl dip pen used by Audrey Hepburn, others used by Marilyn
Monroe and an 1870 quill used by Charles Dickens along with
a hand written document. Hopefully this display will be brought
to other pen shows
quill used by Charles Dickens along with a hand written document.
night, and being a newbie to NY I was ready to see some city
lights and the people of New York.
I really had mixed feelings. I imagine many others did as
well. This was not a typical pen show nor was this a typical
city. I have to say that most people we met, seeing we were
in town on business were very pleased, and could not have
been more polite and cordial. If I asked for directions, one
would walk me to the next corner and point directions to be
sure I could see where I needed to go, and I didn't get run
over once in spite of typical tourist posture
up. Cabs were available in an instant, tables at restaurants
with no waiting, parking lots were almost empty, it was pretty
obvious New York was hurting.
artist Hideaki Sone from Japan demonstrates the art of Japanese
lacquer pen decoration.
Hotel is nestled smack in the middle of the world, and this
evening I met with Bert Heiserman, and a few others still
awake, hungry and ready to explore. The mission was for one
of the best Pastrami or corn beef sandwiches in the world.
Period. Well, it was the first time in my life I ever split
a mile-high corned beef on rye. A large screen TV on the wall
was playing featuring the Carnegie Deli waiters and staff
in a loud song and dance singing "Eat Eat Eat" to
the tune of a Broadway song. Coincidently the owner is Milton
Parker and his son Jeffrey Parker. No relation, but I was
at least delighted a Parker was responsible for the best CB
on rye I ever had.
Greenberg from Delta
dinner Bert and I needed a walk so we headed south to Times
For me, this was culture shock, really a beautiful blend of
the crowds, vendors and lights.
I've been in crowds in Chicago and other big cities, but THIS
is New York. Nothing compares.
A local cop told me this was really a "ghost town"
compared to a normal night. Police everywhere were present
from all over the country, coming to assist the NYPD and I
saw squad cars and uniforms from as far as Oakland, CA. Street
vendors were every few feet, it was either flags, pins or
panorama photos and art renditions of the NY skyline. Every
block was thick with the sweet smells of local restaurants
and carts selling hot pretzels and rolls. As we approached
Times Square the constant chatter grew louder, the crowds
thickened, cell phones ringing, the lone saxophone player
on the corner
it wasn't a movie, it was real.
and Terry Mawhorter, promoters of the Ohio Pen Show
reality showed with near empty parking lots, peeking into
restaurants I saw empty tables, and traffic was moving, gridlock
was a word from the past.
I stopped on the corner of Times Square and leaned against
a wall and watched the crowds and absorbed that moment in
time. I listened to the chatter as people passed, looking
into their faces and I let the whole experience register.
From the very center of Times Square I looked up and saw a
piece of the night sky above the brilliant lights and giant
movie screens, there I saw the full moon directly over the
Empire State Building. Now the tallest building in NY, the
tower is bathed in red, white and blue flood lights.
Somehow that impressive moment is indelible in my memory.
I will never forget the vision, the sounds, the activity of
a city on the mend. I had the feeling that I was a part of
this very pulse of America.
Oddly, I was up for over 36 hours and didn't even feel tired.
Boy, was I ever wired.
morning set up, we had great expectations for the noon opening.
The people came slowly, but steadily. By mid-afternoon the
rooms were filled and traffic was constant. The Pelikan table
was extremely popular with everyone extending congratulations
to Manny Erdtmann, National Sales Manager for Chartpak. Ken
Haffner, VP of Chartpak arranged a clever promotion with Dean
Tweeddale of Penlovers, called "Pens for Kids".
Dean handed out 300 Pelikano fountain pens to children who
attended the show. New Pelikan pen designs on display were
brought from Europe to the U.S. market. The Pelikan USA web
site will also be up shortly.
Woodside of Platinum Pen
Woodside of Platinum Pen hosted a magnificent exhibit of Maki-E
writing instruments that were created especially for this
show. First Class Maki-E artists Katsuhiko Terui and Hideaki
Sone traveled from Japan to demonstrate the art of Japanese
lacquer pen decoration. Magnificent lacquer bowls and boxes
were completely sold out as were the special pens made for
afternoon at 4:30 the charity auction of donated pens began
with opening comments from Robert Kronenberger and the pen
show publicity team. Allan Gross was the professional auctioneer
who kept up a rapid pace and added lively comments which helped
boost sales to a whopping $35,100. Robert Kronenberger's personal
Anno Domini prototype was the star of the show, with bids
rapidly increasing from $5,000 to a final price of $12,000.
which is a U.S. record for a new pen at auction. Donal Higgins'
generous donation of a Zoss LE from Bexley was sold for $200.
Every item in the auction sold, there were some exceptional
bargains and all bidders were very pleased.
show room was locked down at 6pm so dealers were able to leave
their goods in place, which was very convenient, and allowed
for a quick set up the next morning.
Zucker at the auction preview table
night everyone scattered to various restaurants and events.
The Zuckers hosted a dinner for the many people that helped
the show. At the Hilton that evening there was a "Roast"
honoring Hugh Hefner, Playboy kingpin, and many celebrities
were seen walking through the lobby to stretch limos that
lined the block.
I was more impressed as I watched EMT's and rescue teams in
their bright red and yellow shirts and jackets, as they quietly
walked to elevators. Solemn looking, dusty and carrying their
heavy boots slung over their shoulders, some people applauded,
some quietly said their "Thanks", everyone quietly
stepped aside to allow them to enter the elevators first.
Italian restaurant across from the hotel was superb, with
constant attention from the waiters. At most, about 20% of
the tables were occupied. Another quiet and very long walk
around Manhattan, down Broadway and 5th Ave. Bert Heiserman,
an architect in another life, pointed out the finer details
of St. Patrick's Cathedral where Presidents have come to worship
since the 1840's, and the styles of other landmarks in the
had a consistent traffic of visitors for most of the day,
and fortunately my sales picked up with more of my vintage
and new old stock pens being sold. I finally made my expenses
for the trip, which was a bonus, for I felt this trip was
worth it at any price.
Ray Leonard accepts the giant $35,100. check from the Zuckers
and Robert Kronenberger.
4:30 Sugar Ray Leonard appeared with his publicity staff to
accept the giant $35,100. check from the Zuckers and Robert
Kronenberger. Sugar Ray Leonard was very cordial, signed many
autographs, including a few on my ink blotters and posed with
many of us for a memorable souvenir of this great show. I
sold my display Parker Beechcraft airplane and the buyer took
it, glad I did not have to ship it home. I also sold a few
signed copies of The Short Stories by Bruce H. Bentzman. Bruce
proudly showed me his newest purchase, a Chris Thompson Duofold
in solid brass. Bruce is now contemplating the perfect Latin
phrase to be engraved on the barrel, send him your suggestions.
packed up I noticed that every flag on every table was taken
The card placed with every complimentary flag noted that the
donation was from Donal Higgins of Pentrace.com and myself.
Thank you Donal.
Crosby, author representing the PCA
nite was time for a great casual seafood dinner at the Redeye
Grill with Dean Tweeddale, Lee Chait who casually claimed
he can easily down a six pound lobster, and Chris Thompson
who is getting incredibly busy making pens these days. We
speculated on the future of pen shows over the next 12 months,
and we agreed there will be a difference. Everything will
the 3 blocks back to the hotel in a steady light rain, all
four of us wearing our NYC Pen Show caps, and I for one actually
wanted to walk slower. The rain felt good in my face, the
streets and sidewalks glistened wet with neon reflections,
the air tasted cool and refreshing. Instead of hunching up
and leaning against the slight wind and rain I stood tall
and walked full face into the night. It just seemed more natural.
as if this was a harbinger of a fresh new beginning. I finally
felt a lot better inside.