My letter in this issue of the Collectors Club Philatelist may seem a touch disjointed, but there has been a great amount of activity going on related to the management of the Club. I would to drop back a bit and provide you with some insights. Better disjointed than not keeping the membership in some important loops.
As matters stand at this moment, we have a prospective buyer for 22 East 35th Street. The buyer, being a sovereign entity, sees the proximity to UN Plaza as an advantage. After a few back-and-forth exchanges, the matter was brought to the Board of Governors and they authorized the sale of the building. This is a vital first step as we proceed towards moving the Club to its new home. We hope to have a signed contract in a matter of days.
You’ll recall our discussion of air rights, otherwise known as unused developmental rights? We (finally) received a credible offer from our next-door neighbor, the Community Church, and we are actively negotiating price and terms.
In the midst of all this sales activity, we have been busy looking for our new home.
We have undertaken a great deal of work with an architect and other professionals to evaluate our space and fit out needs. As anticipated, there is no lack of appropriate space in midtown Manhattan. We have an excellent handle on our requirements for a new home. This has been derived from both an analysis of our current space utilization and our vision for the future. At the most basic level, we need around 4,500 square feet. But, in New York you do not lease “usable” space you lease “rentable” space. Rentable space is marked up by around 27% above that which you actually use. Fortunately, we are very well advised. We are absolutely committed to staying within the area marked by Penn Station in the south, Grand Central Terminal to the north, between Lexington and 7th Avenues. There are a number of potentials, some of which we have toured several times, and we remain convinced that we can do very well. As many of you might imagine, today is a good time to discuss commercial real estate leases in Manhattan. Promises have been made that we can transition ourselves to a wonderful new location. There is no reason to back off from that commitment.
We all want to come back to the clubhouse. We are sick and tired of canceling and putting off Club events. Yes, everyone seems to agree we have done well with the virtual events, but there is also a time and a need for us to meet and talk in real space. And, of course, we are going to be prudent and in full compliance with the rules in New York.
With all that in mind, I would like to point out some upcoming events that we think you should not miss:
April 13: Our first program in the Club since March 2020. Steve McGill on British Postal Automation. Yes, this program will be live-streamed but we want to see you in the Clubhouse.
May 4th: The Lichtenstein Awards dinner, at the Harvard Club. We will be honoring John Barwis (2019), Patrick Maselis, Mark Banchik (2020), and Chris Harmon (2021). Invitations will go out six weeks in advance, but I urge you to attend this event and mark your calendars now.
August 24: Our joint dinner with Boston 2026 at the Great American Stamp Show in Sacramento. This will take place on the Wednesday prior to the opening of the show. Our dinner at GASS 2021 in Rosemount, Ill was a huge success and you will not want to miss this.
November 9: Our single-frame exhibit competition. This will be the last time our SFE competition will be held at 22 East 35th. Let us make this a competition never to be forgotten. That would be the best way to honor our Clubhouse’s traditions. If you do not have a single framer, then now is the time to start. It is my hope that we will have to go on bended knee to our friends at NOJEX to borrow some extra frames.
I think I read an obituary for Stanley Piller in almost every philatelic journal I get, including our own Collectors Club Philatelist. There is not much I can add to his life story.
Despite all the tributes and kind words, the reality still remains: I miss Stanley.
I was at the Sarasota show and there was an emptiness. Don’t get me wrong, the people in Sarasota did a wonderful job, as they always do, with the show, but I still missed Stanley. No show will be the same for me without the chance to come to his booth, sit and talk. He’d ask if I would like to take a look and out come the bundles bound in heavy rubber bands. For those shows I did not attend, I could expect a call from Stanley telling me about something he found. He would race ahead with his description with such a New York minute pace that I could barely keep up with him. Most times, I just blindly said “yes”. I figured he had a gold Rolex to feed and who am I to say “no”?
The other day, I finally got to unpack the case that I used to carry my exhibit to Chicagopex. Inside was a small bag with the covers I bought at that show, back in November. I had forgotten about them. Inside were a few covers I bought from Stanley and one in particular caught my eye. [image] You will note $400 for a US Scott 357, a US 1¢ Washington-Franklin blue paper on cover. For the life of me, I don’t know why I bought it. We all agree it’s a ridiculous price. That’s Stanley. Gold Rolexes don’t come cheap and neither do Stanley’s covers. But, I’m not unhappy.
Back at Sarasota, I was looking at my exhibit and I remembered that I bought this item from Stanley, and I bought that item from Stanley. Som many good pieces came from Stanley. I know that though I miss Stanley there is a little bit of him up in the frames and in my albums and it reminds me of why I loved him.
Rest in peace, my friend.