1. The St. George Theater was and is located halfway up a steep hill in Staten Island, overlooking New York Harbor.
2. Along with my husband and an intrepid staff, I was involved in running that theater for a little less than a year, beginning in April, 1976.
3. Paul (Paulie) Plonski worked for us that year, usually behind the concession.
4. Then, as now, the ships in the harbor, clearly visible from the theater, make their presence known at midnight each New Year’s Eve.
On December 31, 2013, Paulie sent me this reminiscence, written thirty-seven years after the event. I’ve been waiting all this time to share it:
"On December 31, I always reflect on what I consider my most memorable New Year’s. We had a late show at the St. George. You and Dean made sure to get us out of the theater before midnight so we could make it home in time. My ‘68 Pontiac Firebird was parked on Hyatt Street, right in front of the theater. At around 11:30 I got in, started the car, but could not get it into gear. So... at midnight I was on the hill, waiting for a tow truck, the cold wind blowing. I was freezing.
Quiet, except for the wind. At the stroke of midnight the ships in the harbor sounded their whistles and shot off fireworks. It was just me, the wind and the ships with the NYC skyline, a night to remember, to cherish forever.
PS: The New Years party was still raging when I made it home (nothing missed)."
Paulie was a teenager then — now a father of four with vivid memories: the cold, the wind, the fireworks. Privation, exhilaration. These fit my overall experience of running the theater in 1976 and the first few months of 1977. It was going to be a cold cold winter. Although we didn’t know it, we’d be out on the street, broke, by spring. But the theater, while it lasted, was itself a kind of fireworks. I’m glad Paulie made it to the party!