September 7, 2017   no responses



“Words, Words, Words”
Hamlet Act, 2 Scene 2

You know I love words and their etymology. On this 35th anniversary celebration of Briggs, two words come to mind: January and Milestones.

Our month January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, gates, and transitions, he is usually depicted with two faces, one looking back and one looking forward. And Milestones are literally markers along a road signifying where you are and how far you have to go or figuratively speaking it’s an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

Let us journey back and look over the Briggs milestones before we turn our face forward to the Briggs of tomorrow.

In 1980, 37 years ago, June Briggs hosted a lady’s luncheon for the spouses of her husband’s medical association meeting. It was a great success and off she went. This is how most Destination Management Company’s started by enterprising woman all over the United States. She was a DMC before the name was even invented. For a brief while June worked at Red Carpet Associates owned by her friend Jane Beers before starting her own company in 1982, Briggs Convention Associates, 35 years ago, our first big milestone!

Let’s jump forward 8 years to 1990 when SITE held its International Conference here in New York City. I met June when I was at Tour de Force Events and all the New York DMC’s worked together on the host committee. June and I hit it off right away even as competitors. You know when you meet somebody and there is an instant bond. Maybe simpatico is the word.

I remember the final night SITE gala cocktail party at Trump Tower. It was closed down for us, quite a feat may I boast! As entertainment, Jeff Kalpak and I had Broadway characters come down the long Trump Towers escalator: the MC from Cabaret, Roxie Hart from Chicago, Dolly Levi from Hello Dolly and then ironically came down our host for the party, Donald Trump. He graciously welcomed us all and walked the 300 of us up Fifth Avenue to his wife’s, Ivanka’s hotel, The Plaza. I remember the day, October 14, 1990, because it was the day Leonard Bernstein died as you meant so much to me. We dedicated the gala dinner Broadway review to him. As Maria and Tony were singing “Tonight, Tonight” for some cosmic reason I whispered into June’s ear, “If you ever want to sell the company, let me know.” She enigmatically turned and smiled back. She didn’t have to say a word, I knew I would be with her soon, somehow, somewhere. “Tonight, Tonight, it all began tonight” indeed another milestone!

Then on a cold wintery morning two months later, the day after Christmas, December 26, 1990, Boxing Day, I got an unexpected phone call from June inviting me to be her Director of Operations. Of course, I said yes not knowing how important that phone call would be to me and Gary. For ten years as Director of Operations, I learned from the best. June’s honesty, integrity, savviness, humor, gratitude, loyalty and gracious style, are all the cornerstones of what have made our company so successful.

While I was there in 1992, June bought Red Carpet Associates, (remember Jane Beers?) and we became Briggs Red Carpet Associates. A small milestone.

On June’s 65th birthday, June 11, 2000, she called me into her office. At this time, we were in a small office, Room 611, on the other elevator bank side of this building. She sat me down and said, “it’s time!” And voila, a year later January 1, 2001, using our life’s savings, Gary and I bought BRC.

Then of course came September 11, 2001. We were all at work. You know the rest but I still have the picture of Gary carrying an exhausted Ruby the last blocks to our home on 110th Street and all the neighbors along the way offering water – to our dog not us! While other companies were letting staff go because of the tragedy, Briggs decided to retain all the staff. We knew future business would soon return and we were ready. And they did! A Sad milestone

At that time, there were four or five us, huddled over each other. So, we found a new office on the fourth floor, Suite 406 and five years we later re-branded ourselves as Briggs Inc. Milestone and milestone.

Like the month, January, this story of milestones so far has been about dates. But it is the people of Briggs that are the markers that have made us what we are and will be. Some of them are milestones, and maybe some were milestones!

Ah millstone: another word! One of a pair of cylindrical stones used in a mill for grinding grain. Or a source of worry or distress.

Roberta Horton, Norma Raglin, Donald Briggs, Tom Borchard, Lauren Oliva who sat on chair with a piece of wood across it as a desk. Too many other Laurens to name, Jason Weeks, Danny Licthblau, Camille Philips and the infamous Karima.

Time for another milestone: I met Spirit Cruises’ Director of Sales in 2001 And was so impressed with him, I said “You will be working for Briggs one day.” He laughed. Ha Ha Ha. Well I had the last laugh, a year later Mr. Cosimo Bruzzese was at Briggs.

Gigi Verkiak, Rachel Dworsky, Becky Brewer, Lilly Zhang, Brooke Barnes, Lindsey and Becky Brewer. Brent Vintrup, Steve Wargo, Jeffery Tanenhaus, Steven Stevens and Daniel Meck. Dennis, Rocco and Tarin. Kevin and Michelle, Marjorie and Julie.

Tripping over some more millstones – Luigi Dato and Sarah Gippin.

Our stewards – Steve Wilders, Bruce Racond, Richard Kestenbaum, Howard Cagin, Jim Nuzzi, and Michael Costa who took us from ma and pa to the successful company we are today. And Doris and Al at Bank of Long Island.

Our vendors – Bermuda, Academy, Nic from Starbrite, Dorothy of VIP, Sean at Sardi’s. Mary from RA and Ronnie at GP. Pattie at Ellis and Julie here at “21”. Jeff Kalpak, Dean and Zak. Sammy the cart man, over the years I figured I ate some 1,500 tuna or egg salad sandwiches!

Our Clients – Sandie Porter from Maritz, Jan and Eve from Carlson, Allan and Bruce from BI and Mary Bussone from ITA. And Marty for ABA, with June Briggs in 1986 conference touring 5,000 guests in three days!

Theatre – from Phantom to The Producers to Jersey Boys to Hamilton to Harry Potter. Thousands and thousands of tickets bought through Birdie Robbins and Pat Dailey.

Briggs weddings – Cosimo, Gigi, Luigi, Lauren, Daniel Meck (not!) Julie Heath, Marjorie, Stephanie Margulies and Stephanie Napoli.

Briggs Babies – Vince and Alessia, Darling Lily, Olivia and Alessandra and Noah.

Then there are event milestones: The June Briggs Awards in 2002, incentive trips to London, Rome, Dublin, Florence, Quebec, Paris, Mexico City, Mohonk, the Bronx and Coney Island. The Briggs Beat, our sales presentations (Gary dressed up as the Wizard walking through Maritz with a wand), Wheel Spins, birthday lunches, guide outings and our holiday videos.

Our wonderful staff and guides – Brenda, Bruce and Bruce, Robert, Marta, Joanne, and Al

Our pets: Sarah’s cats, Rita’s frozen cats and our dogs, Ruby, George and Gracie.

What a trek! Our milestones have brought us 2017, to all of us here:

Gary, Cosimo, Sarah, Luigi, Michael, David, Julia. Becky, Jordan, Breck and Sammi, Sal, Lauren, Emily, Kimberly, Stephanie, Sarah, Jessica, Allana, Scott and Nicole.

But the journey does not stop here.

It’s time for our Roman God, Janus to turn his head and look to the future to the next milestone. Briggs has been a gift to me and Gary and Cosimo and to all of us. We have all taken that gift and made it multiply and shine. We are the most respected DMC in the United States thanks to all of us. We do what we do. Hospitality from the Latin hospice. Hospital shares the same root. We heal people, we give them wonderful experiences and memorable dreams. Even a well-executed transfer from the airport to hotel can be something our guests remember. We are ambassadors to this great city of New York.

It reminds me of parable of the five talents from the Gospel of Matthew. A master puts his servants in charge of his goods while he is away on a trip and gives each one the same talent. Four servants foolishly squander their talents while one servant makes a wise investment and the return is multiplied. Funny our word talent is based on a skill and/or money. There are so many talents here, I could hardly tally you all up!

I trust I have been the good master and we have been the wise servants and custodians of Briggs Inc. and have grown our talents. So, I am excited to announce “tonight, tonight”, another milestone, an important marker, an investment of our talents.

We are just about to sign and become an Allied PRA Company, a nationwide company of over 29 DMCs. Briggs Inc., an Allied PRA Company.

This investment ensures Briggs a bright future for all of us with many more milestones of longevity, financial stability, modern technology, enhanced benefits, corporate support and great opportunities.

So let’s raise a glass on this Briggs Janus-ary New Year’s Eve milestone on this exciting day for all of us.

 May 6, 2007   no responses

The grand city parks of New York City are filled with families, tourist and friends in May. Central Park sometimes has two parades around its perimeters while sunbathers bask in the sun on Sheep Meadows. This picture is of little Anthony in that other great park, Prospect Park circa 1956.

I suspect my little sister Karen is sleeping on the Long Meadow in that grand baby carriage!

I remember that my mother and I would go the big Brooklyn department store, Germain’s and leave Karen outside while we shopped. Imagine that today!! The front of the store was lined up with carriages while mothers were inside the store. Oh there were the watchful eyes of a brother or sister who would come out once in awhile to check. There was always someone around and it was the thing to do. How could a mother shop? That huge perambulator would never fit down aisles!

 June 17, 1966   no responses

It was a tempestuous spring evening; the sky was dark with ominous flashes of neon white lighting, apocalyptic, rolling thunder and cascading sheets of warm rain. When the lights darkened in the auditorium of Newburgh Free Academy, a tidal wave roar of applause and cheering swept over the footlights to backstage. Anthony, startled, reeling, spun around into his teacher, Miss Laura M. – his hands on her breasts to break the fall. They quickly broke apart as the curtain went up on the The1966 NFA Faculty Follies.


It was the fall of 1966. Anthony was a high school senior, sort of a loner, dark, Italian, and dark in mood not unlike Goethe’s Werther which he was reading that semester. He had been elected vice-president of the student club, the Jay Tees, since no one else really wanted to work with Brad Reynolds who headed up a jock clique in it. The Jay Tees had needed a fund raising idea for their annual scholarship fund. Anthony came up with the idea of holding a “Miss Touchdown” contest. Students would donate a dollar to buy a vote to crown the prettiest girl the winner who would be revealed during half-time during the big Thanksgiving football game between the Newburgh’s ‘Goldbacks ‘and rival city, Poughkeepsie’s “Pioneers”.

Brad Reynolds, the self important, poppy-cock big guy of the Jay Tees and quarter back on the NFA “Goldbacks” laughed that such a butch idea came from the ‘queer’. No one called him ‘queer’ to his face but Anthony sensed that everyone knew from Brad’s constant insinuations. Of course it didn’t help that he had blown Brad one drunken night behind the goal post after a game, Brad intimated and pushed Anthony down on his knees. “Suck it” he said gruffly. And Anthony did. Brad moaning and smug thought he was the one in control. But it was Anthony who got him drunk, lured him out to the field, and played the ‘queer”. So who was in control?

The contest was a great success although Anthony didn’t get to see “Miss Touchdown” be crowned and ride around the football field in an open convertible Cadillac. His parents insisted on leaving early that morning for Thanksgiving dinner in Brooklyn at his grandmothers.

However Anthony could not stop thinking about Brad, both sexually and with a great sense of fear. Brad was holding it over Anthony’s head. “I am gonna call your mother and tell her what you do”, he threatened when he wanted another blow-job.  And every time the phone rang at home, Anthony would jump to answer; afraid it might be Brad. The sense of danger mixed with the thrill of sex was a potent aphrodisiac.

Anthony went to confession the very next day after the goal post incident. He waited till Father Lombardy’s confessional was empty.  Father Lombardy was the Italian speaking priest of the parish and Anthony hoped he would not understand him when he told him his dark sins. “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been one week since my last confession. I cursed five times, was mean to my mother twice, had three impure thoughts and did one bad act.”  “One bada act?” “Shit”, Anthony thought, he understood. “Whata ya mean?” “Well I sort of touched another guy.”  “Ah. Did he touch you back?” “No Father.” “Ah” – silence – “Ten Our Fathers, five Hail Marys and one Glory Be.


Anthony ran out of the confessional box, knelt down at the main altar where the Sacred Heart of Jesus stared down on him and said his penance quickly. Only the old lady, Penny Anny was in the church as she always was, mumbling some prayers in Italian.  He put in a quarter in the poor box, lit a candle and left. He got on his bike and resolved to sin no more.  Anthony was going to Cathedral College in New York City that September after graduating from high school to study to be a priest.  In an act of supreme self delusion, he eased his conscience by thinking that sex with a man didn’t violate his future vow of celibacy.

With the flush of victory, the Jay Tees December decided to do hold another fund raiser in the spring.  Many ideas were bandied about: a dance, an auto gymkhana, a roller skating party, a hootenanny and a car wash. Anthony was basking in the bittersweet glow of “Miss Touchdown” and feeling a bit cocky. Unlike the other seniors who were out drinking this past Saturday night, Anthony had stayed at home and watched the popular, TV variety show Hollywood Palace.

“Let’s do a Teachers Talent Show!  We all would love to see the teachers make asses out of themselves.  We can have it in the auditorium, charge admission. It will be great.  I’ll direct it!”  Everyone was surprised at this idea and excited by the possibilities. Everyone except Brad who was feeling jealous of all the adulation Anthony was getting. He stood up and looked down on Anthony seated on a cafeteria metal chair.  “How the hell are you gonna get them to do it. It will never happen.” A murmur of agreement slowly bubbled up from his buddies.

Anthony stood up. “Well, I can make it happen,” he brazenly tossed back at Brad.  All waited for his response to this bold challenge to his leadership.  “Well smarty pants, well let’s see if you can make it happen.  You have till the next meeting. If not, we are doing my idea of the gymkhana. Put your money where your mouth is.”  He touched his crotch and snickered and they all group laughed at the inside joke. Anthony did not reply but quickly left when the meeting was over.

Miss Laura M. was the new substitute teacher at NFA. She had moved from Dayton right after her fiancé had broken off their engagement. She had met John in the Theatre Department at Ohio State. They had just performed together in “Look Back in Anger” when he told her he was leaving to find himself and be an actor in New York City.   In late August, she drove all the way from Dayton to Newburgh in her pink and cream, Rambler with only her clothes, books and her still to be finished theses on the poetry of Keats. Gamine, pretty in a boyish way, her smile betrayed her inner loneliness of being away from her family and the loss of John who she had loved with a deep pure love.

She was Anthony’s substitute English teacher when his regular teacher took a sudden leave of absence.   Being new to teaching, she glowed with a naive enthusiasm especially when she talked about Keats or when she acted out the parts in Shakespeare’s plays – Rosalind in As You Like It or Viola in Twelfth Night. In a few weeks, Anthony was emboldened to show her the poetry he had written, poems of adolescent bleak despair, longing and loneliness.   She was impressed and understanding and even read one of them out load to the class. Brad guffawed under his breath, assuming they were about him.

Anthony had known when he came up with his Hollywood Palace idea for the talent show that Laura would be teacher and ambassador to the faculty to make his idea a reality. Laura thought it was a brilliant idea and a way to ingratiate herself to her new colleagues.  At the next faculty meeting, much to her and his surprise they all thought it would great fun. It would be held in April. Laura would direct and Anthony would act as “coordinator” between the Jay Tees and the teachers. Instead of The Teacher’s Talent Show, Anthony came up with calling it – The Faculty Follies.

At January’s meeting, Brad was none too happy when Anthony announced it was a go. When he mentioned that Miss Laura M. was the teacher and would direct, he smirked; “That bitch, I bet I could fuck her, no problem.”  Then Brad gave him that look. Anthony had to do penance again that night.

Anthony was now spending his homeroom and lunch times in the Faculty Room planning the show. He got to know all the teachers and was becoming a bit of a pet. Sometimes after school, working on the show with Laura, their conversations would drift to movies, books, music and life.  She told him about her fiancée and didn’t understand why he had to leave to find himself without her.  He told her about his wanting to be a priest and wanting to be a director.  He even told her all about the bullying he suffered from Brad. He admitted he was still virgin and had to remain so to be ready for seminary. She questioned his logic on this, asking him wouldn’t it be better to find out now about sex before it was too late.  They became fast friends, “two lost souls on the highway of life” like he remembered handsome, Tab Hunter singing to Gwen Vernon in the movie Damn Yankees. It would get so late, he sometimes missed the school bus and she had to drive him home.

Two months whizzed by and the big day arrived. Anthony had brought flowers for Laura for opening night. Even though there was a torrential rain storm going on, it was completely sold out.  Backstage was chaos. It was a typical high school back stage: no wings or fly space. Brad who decided he was going to give the curtain speech thanking all the students, faculty and friends for coming and announce the amount of money raised for the scholarship.  He was nowhere to be found.

Anthony had written and assembled most of the show from old vaudeville routines and TV skits. These comic olios highlighted the teachers who had real talent: a black music combo called the “Jazzmen’; a folk song duet – the “Mossy Stones”; and a Dixieland group – ‘Wee Three’.  There were two main segments. “Wild Nell – the Pet of the Plains”, a spoof of silent movie westerns and the finale set in a Greenwich Village coffee  house with all of the teachers dressed as beatniks in berets, sporting Van Dycks, and smoking “cigarettes.” Anthony passed out the fake reefers and all the cast sang Bob Dylans’ “Rainy Day Woman.”  The entire audience sang along.

 “Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good,

They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would.

They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home.

Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone.

But I would not feel so all alone,

Everybody must get stoned.”

The curtain calls had just started when Brad stumbled in, wet from the rain storm and having had a few too many beers. He staggered over to Anthony, loudly called him “sister boy” and grabbed the bouquet out of his hands.  He lurched onto the stage careened into Laura and pushed the flowers on her. He started to slip from his wet shoes as Anthony grabbed him and held up him, putting his arm around him like two buddies. Avoiding embarrassment, Brad managed to make the thank-yous and announce that $1,000 was raised. As the curtain fell, he pushed Anthony aside and ran off.


The Faculty Follies was a great success. The principal himself, Mr. Fowler came back stage and thanked them all.  A cast party for the teachers had been arranged at the Pine Tree Tavern.  Anthony was elated while still shook up by what happened on stage. Laura too was shaken and said she wanted to skip the party. She suggested they go to her place for a cup of tea.

It was a short ride through the waning storm. He had never been to her house and was very curious how it would be decorated. It was a simple one bedroom apartment tastefully done.  They were both soaked from the rain and Laura suggested she put their clothes in the dryer. Hesitantly he went to the bathroom and tossed his clothes back out into the living room. She handed him through the door a plain white robe to wear. She put the kettle on and the LP of Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream & Other Delights.”

They sat together on the couch, both in robes silently listening to “A Taste of Honey.”   “Anthony, it was very brave of you tonight how you handled that bully. No matter what he says about you, be proud o f who are.” She reached over and held his hand. “Oh, I almost forgot. I have a surprise for you!” She dug around in her purse and handed him a small silver cardboard box tied with blue ribbon; the kind of box a set of earrings would come in. He untied the bow, took off the lid and pulled the tissue paper back.  “Oh Laura, it’s a, a, a cigarette…,” he stuttered. “No silly, it’s a joint! I thought after our show it would be a perfect present. If there is one person I know who should get high, it’s you.”

He held it in his hand, turned it over and over and took a whiff of it. She pulled a lighter out of that purse and lit the joint. “Just take a puff, but inhale it and keep in down.”  He did and of course, he coughed and of course they both laughed. It was good to laugh. They exchanged puffs back and forth.  As “Love Potion #9” was playing, they both became quiet listening to Alpert’s fine trumpet styling.  He looked down and quickly closed his knees and pulled the robe over to hide his growing embarrassment.

She took his hand and silently led him to her bedroom. She lay down him down on the sun yellow chenille bedspread with white trim, dimmed the lights and lit some candles.  He stared at the ceiling as she controlled the situation, setting up the scene. “Anthony, close your eyes and be quiet. Don’t think about anything.” She took off her robe and gently started to caress him all over but never kissing. She moved down his body and he could feel her breathe on his hardness.  He kept his eyes closed and surrendered himself to the moment, listening to the rain and the distant music from the next room. She took off her robe and lowered herself slowly till had taken him in. He was amazed how warm and moist it felt. Catching the rhythm of the music, Laura glided up and down as Anthony rose up in counterpoint to the beat.  She whispered, “Tony, Tony” till he moaned in pleasure, “Laura”.  The rain was coming down hard now and splashing up against the window panes.


The record player arm lifted up at the end of the LP and moved back to its resting place. They were both startled by the whistling of the kettle. She grabbed her robe and ran to the kitchen. He quickly put on his robe and sat on the edge of the bed. She brought them both back a cup of tea. They stirred and stirred their brew not daring to look at each other from opposite sides of the bed. After a brief while she said, “Anthony, I didn’t want to tell you till now but I am moving to New York City.  John called me last week and says he wants me to come live with him. He has a small place in the Village.” He sipped his hot tea and almost burnt his tongue. “I understand Laura; I can’t w-w-wait to get out of Newburgh myself. I hope things work out for you and John. And about tonight…” She shh-ed him before he could go on and she kissed him lightly on the mouth and held his face in her hands. “Years from now, I will always think fondly about tonight.  I hope you will too.” He didn’t know what to say. “Oh I will” was his only response. A few more sips of tea. “Maybe we can meet up in the city when I am in school. The three of us can all go to a Broadway show together!” She didn’t respond but laughed gently. Their clothes were dry now. They got dressed and she drove him home.  The rain had stopped to a drizzle and the wet streets of Newburgh seemed to glow a bit.

She dropped him off at this house and he gave her a quick peck on the cheek before she pulled away. As he was about to go down the driveway, he noticed a strange car parked in front of his neighbor’s house. All of a sudden, the overhead light inside went on and Brad looked over and gestured to join him on the front seat as he unlocked the passenger side door and kicked it open.   Anthony stood there for a long moment, then walked over, closed the car door, gave a confident wave “goodbye.” Brad stepped on the gas and sped away. Anthony ran up the driveway into his house and turned off the front porch lights and went to bed. The rain had stopped. The phone never rang.

That Saturday after the show he went to confession. “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It’s been two weeks since my last confession. I cursed three times, hit by brother once and did one bad act.”  “Ah, with thata boy again?”  Anthony smiled and said, “No Father with a woman.”  He then thought he heard Father Lombardy whisper “Deo Gratias.” But what he really said was “One ‘Glory Be’ and say an Act of Contrition.”

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.”


In June, Sharon Kish, the Senior Class President asked Anthony to direct the ‘Senior Class Night’ show – “What a Day for a Daydream.”  It was another great success. He graduated that June and was awarded a PTA Scholarship for outstanding contribution to the school. Anthony entered Cathedral College in New York City that September of 1966 to study for the priesthood, saw his first Broadway Show and grew up to be a director and homosexual.  Brad Reynolds went off to Vietnam and got married and had three kids and still lives in Newburgh. Anthony never saw Laura again.

“Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone.

They’ll stone you when you are walking home.

They’ll stone you and then say you are brave.

They’ll stone you when you are set down in your grave.

But I would not feel so all alone,

Everybody must get stoned.”


 August 6, 1962   no responses

Toni perm

I was walking past a beauty parlor the other day, a wave of nostalgia overcame me like Proust’s smelling his little cookies. It was the acrid smell of someone getting their hair permed that brought me back to 1950.

There was a Saturday ritual of my mother sitting in a kitchen chair applying the contents of TONI on her hair, a home permanent wave brand concoction. That pungent vinegary smell transports me back to that afternoon with my mother, applying that horrid stuff and asking, “Am I done yet?”  Then she would don this huge plastic bonnet of her Sunbeam Hairdryer and bake!

Because of “Toni”, I always resented when someone spelled my name with an “i”. It’s TONY! Of course in Italy Toni is the way you spell Tony but I was too macho to accept it. Plus growing up I was Anthony anyway and my dad was Tony.  And the boys name Francis is spelled with an “i” so go figure…

 December 31, 1947   no responses


My father, Anthony is born in Ciminna, Sicily and moves to NYC in 1921 with my grandmother Michelena and my Aunt Mary. They first settle on the lower East Side before moving to the Bronx.


Josephine Krotki, my mother is born in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.


My parents meet at my father’s factory in downtown Brooklyn today known as DUMBO.


My parents are wed in February and I am born November 18th at 2350 Beaumont Avenue in the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx. Due to the housing shortage of post World War II, we all live in my Italian grandmother’s one bedroom flat.


My parents move to Brooklyn to an apartment over a Irish Bar on the corner of 7th Avenue and 10th Street in Park Slope.


My brother Michael is born.


We move to larger apartment up the block to a brownstone on 10th Street. I attend St. Thomas Aquinas Parochial School on 9th Street and 4th Avenue (grades 1- 4).


My sister Karen is born.


Parents buy a small Cape Cod style house in New Windsor NY – 60 miles north of NYC. Sacred Heart Parochial School in Newburgh NY (grades 4 – 8).


Its only one year at my first public school, South Jr. High (grade 9).


I get my high school diploma from Newburg Free Academy (NFA) Newburgh’s public high school (grades 10-12).


I am happy to be back in Manhattan, studying for the priesthood at Cathedral High School (college freshman – sophomore) and reside at the Bishop Ford Residence on W. 86th Street. My first semester weekends are spent with my Polish grandmother in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.


I finish up college and one year at graduate work at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, Yonkers NY (junior – senior with 1 year of graduate work). I receive a BA in English/Philosophy.


I get my first car, a Fiat 500 that I buy used from my New Windsor neighbor.


I leave the seminary and matriculate at CUNY City University of NY at Brooklyn College to attain a graduate degree in theatre directing. My Aunt Mary lets me live in her finished basement in Woodside Queens NY for 3 years till I graduate.


My grandmother, Michelena buys me a brand new Toyota Corolla. I teach one semester of English to the freshman boys of Holy Cross High School in Bayside, Queens.


I direct my thesis production of an original musical “Domenica” written by my cousin, Michael Vassallo. I am awarded a Master of Fine Arts. Loretta and I meet at the Shakespeare Institute in Bridgeport Connecticut. I bunk up at my friend, Dennis’s place before I share my first apartment with his brother, Robert at 215 Garfield Place over a drugstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


Robert is out and Loretta with Fran move from West Virginia to live with me. I found the GAP Theatre Company and continue directing up to 1988.


I direct two productions at St. John’s University in Queens.


Leaving Brooklyn behind, I find a rent stabilized studio apartment at 68 W. 83 St. on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

1979 My mother dies


I go on a trip to China with my then boyfriend, John Lee.


The fateful year I meet Gary Newman at a play reading.

1983 My father dies


To pay the rent I become a tour guide and work for Red Carpet Associates.


One of my first jobs in the travel industry is the centennial of the Statue of Liberty followed by a full time job at a DMC, McNabb & Associates.


Gary and I with our dog RuB, move and buy a condo at Towers on the Park, 110th Street and Central Park West.


I quit McNabb and become Director of Operations at Tour de force Events.


My involvement in the SITE International Conference in NYC introduces me to June Briggs.


June Briggs hires me as Director of Operations at Briggs Convention Associates.


Gary and I buy Briggs Red Carpet Associates from June Briggs.


The first June Briggs Awards are held.


After 15 years at Towers on the Park, we sell our condo, and move into an art deco 3 bedroom co-op, 7 W. 96th Street across from Central Park.


We purchase our weekend home, Cheerio Cottage in Stoneridge, NY.