Digging through the files found some old photos, including this one of the 1973 New York Comic Art Convention, with me at what was almost certainly DC’s first ever convention booth. The con was held at what’s now the Grand Hyatt on 42 Street, formerly the Commodore (after Commodore Vanderbilt, the namesake of the nearby avenue and onetime leader of the New York Central Railroad which terminated at Grand Central).
A small strange story of that room. Many years later, when Carol Kalish* passed away suddenly, then Marvel President Terry Stewart held a memorial service for her. Terry had cast about for a comics-connected place to have it, and felt he’d failed, so he settled on the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt. But when we were there, I realized it was the old Commodore ballroom which had been the dealers’ room for the NY Con for a few years. Terry and I shared a happy moment as I told him the history, and we thought about how fitting it was for Carol to have her farewell in a room where so many fans had found joy in comics.
* Carol was the longtime direct sales person for Marvel, starting as their second hire in that area, and going on to lead the department as well to venture into editorial areas. She had been an early comics retailer in Cambridge, Mass., and was much beloved by the retail community. Decades after her passing, she received a posthumous award for her services to the industry from Comics Pro, which I was proud to accept on her life partner, Rich Howell’s, behalf.