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  1. BCW8: 007 in New York

    DEAR DAD–TERRIBLY URGENT
    THAT YOU COME TO NEW YORK!
    I NEED YOUR HELP! FAIL NOT!
    WITH LOVE–JAMES

    – ‘Blast From The Past’, Raymond Benson

    This year’s 8th Annual Bond Collectors Weekend (BCW8) took place from August 25 through 28th. James Bond fans of all ages and from all over the United Stated gathered in New York City for a full on James Bond experience.

    IMPORTANT: To view all of the BCW8 Photos from the CBn Gallery click on the various links scattered throughout the article.

    THURSDAY AUGUST 25

    For those who arrived in New York early, Thursday evening was spent Celebrating Sean Connery’s 75th Birthday. Some BCW attendees chose to celebrate by enjoying dinner at the swank Tavern on The Green while others met at an undisclosed corner in Manhattan. And what, pray tell were these people doing on this undisclosed corner? Well, they all had a champagne toast (ok ok, it was just sparkling wine) in honor of Sir Sean Connery while each signed an extremely oversized card (approximately 1’5” x 2’5”) addressed to the Birthday boy.

    Bond 45

    After everybody had finished signing the card and most were emboldened by ‘liquid courage’, the small tribe embarked on their mini-march to Sean Connery’s house for more drinks and discussion with the first screen incarnation of 007. Admittedly, part of that is an outright lie, but they did actually go to Sir Sean’s house to deliver the card… and some birthday booze. The gate was open! Taking full advantage of this, Mr. Sherman promptly rang the doorbell and spoke to Sean’s wife, Micheline Connery, via the intercom… unfortunately, it was only the maid who came down but she graciously accepted the card, the bottle and the bundle with Matt’s thanks and birthday greetings for Mr. Connery. She said she’ll make sure he gets them and that was that!

    After taking pictures of Connery’s mailbox and register (the “man, these folks are weirdoes” feeling is starting to creep in now, innit?), some of the group set off to Broadway for a late supper at the restaurant Bond 45, to celebrate and talk.

    […] Bond liked the Time Square jungle – the hideous souvenir shops, the sharp clothiers, the giant feedomates, the hypnotic neon signs, one of which said BOND in letters a mile high. Here was the guts of New York, the living entrails.

    – ‘007 in New York’, Ian Fleming

    FRIDAY AUGUST 26

    At 10am there was some BONDing going on at our hotel around the rooftop pool, that’s right… rooftop pool. As lunch time rolled around we all had a bite at this wonderful and convenient little deli that was right next door. After lunch, BCW8 officially started with this year’s BCW Death March! It was the first of three Death Marches that were in store for us with Matt Sherman, who would soon earn the endearing nickname “The Tour Nazi“, leading the pack.

    Roosevelt Island Bridge

    Our energy level was on high as we began the march down 42nd Street from our hotel to the nearest Subway station. On the way we passed the Hilton Theater where Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – the musical – was playing. After snapping a few pictures of the block long Chitty marquee, we jumped on the subway and headed over to Roosevelt Island.

    We enjoyed views of the New York City skyline from the island and took the suspended Roosevelt Island Tram, which runs parallel to the Roosevelt Island Bridge, back to Manhattan. The suspended Tram was used in Spider-Man (2002) and had a very Moonraker feel about it. Upon retuning to the city, we passed the spot where James Bond ditches his car in the novel Live & Let Die.

    He was on Park Avenue and 116th Street. He slowed again at the next street. It was 115th. He was heading downtown, away from Harlem, back into the City. He kept going. He turned off at 60th Street. It was deserted. He switched off the engine and left the car opposite a fire hydrant.

    – ‘Live & Let Die’ (chapter 8), Ian Fleming

    We then took a stroll through Central Park (007 in New York and Live & Let Die)…

    So Bond had been instructed to make contact and he had arraigned to do so, that afternoon at three o’clock, outside the Reptile House at the Central Park Zoo.

    – ‘007 in New York’, Ian Fleming

    Athena Stamos and the Oh Cult Voodoo Shop

    …not only did we enjoy the atmosphere but we also saw the bench lined curved road where James Bond’s cab begins following Mr Big and Solitaire after they leave the Voodoo shop in Live & Let Die. We exited Central Park and made our way passed the building which served as the fictional San Monique Consulate (containing Kananga’s Office), also in Live & Let Die. From there we made our way to the Oh Cult Voodoo Shop which is now a jewelry shop. We had fun running back into the “elevator garage” where Roger Moore (James Bond) once stood.

    “James, that car is registered to a shop at 33 East 65th Street. That’s only a block away from here.”

    – Felix Leiter, ‘Live & Let Die’ Film

    We then visited three special houses. One being Thomas Crown’s brownstone used in Pierce Brosnan’s The Thomas Crown Affair. The other house was Sean Connery’s. Now, some people had already been to Connery’s place on Thursday night, but it was nice of Matt to take us all by the house again for those who were not able to attend Thursday night’s festivities. And then there was the apartment of James Suzuki (James Bond and Kissy Suzuki’s son) from the short story Blast from The Past, which is also Raymond Benson’s old apt where he wrote The James Bond Beside Companion, the computer games A View to a Kill and Goldfinger, and the role playing game You Only Live Twice II: Back of Beyond.

    Raymond Benson / James Suzuki's Apt

    The taxi took him to the Upper East Side, where James Suzuki lived in a studio apartment at 75th Street and 1st Avenue, not far from the East River. Bond paid the driver and stepped out onto the pavement. […] Bond wondered how anyone in an apartment facing an avenue could ever sleep, for the city never stopped.

    – Blast From The Past (manuscript), Raymond Benson

    Then down into the subway we went and ended up at the location of the Live & Let Die “Harlem” Filet of Sole. The original building used in the film had been demolished and now a new building stands there and is occupied by an Ace Hardware. Returning to the subway to made our way into Harlem.

    Taxi Driver: “Hey, You know where you’re going man?
    James Bond: “Uptown, I believe.”
    Taxi Driver: Uptown? You headed into Harlem, Man.

    – ‘Live & Let Die’, Film

    Strolling through Harlem we heard someone shout, “Get out of Harlem!” (he must not like Bond Fans *wink*). We stopped at the corner of Central Park where James Bond is driven out of Central Park via Taxi and into Harlem. We could see all the way up the street and it just seemed to keep going and going. Matt told us the alleyway where Bond has his fight with Mr. Big’s two assassins was further up the street, but we would not be traveling that far into Harlem. Instead, special guest Maxine Vesterhalt dropped by to say hello before we headed back to our hotel on 42nd Street.

    Bill Kanas, Matt Sherman & John Cox in Sardis

    “Let’s go. Sardi’s is just over the way.” Leiter avoided the fashionable room at the famous actors’ and writer’ eating house and let Bond upstairs.

    – Diamonds Are Forever (chapter 8), Ian Fleming

    After freshening up we all met up at Sardis for a lovely dinner. After the meal and during mid-chit-chat, we moved ourselves across the theater district and into Charlie Axworthy’s suite at the Waldorf. The Bonding continued late into the night.

    SATURDAY AUGUST 27

    UN Security Council chamber

    BCW’s second day started way too early. Having not had enough sleep we trudged to a nearby bus stop. The bus took us to the United Nations where a warhead sat out front – now a piece of artwork. We took a group picture and then were sent through tight security and split into two tour groups so we couldn’t cause too much trouble. Each group had their own tour guide who added their own personal touch to each tour. The highlight of the UN tour was the Security Council chamber, where the British ambassador was assassinated in Live & Let Die.

    Leaving the UN, we passed the famous Daily News Building used in the Superman movies as ‘The Daily Planet‘ on our way to Grand Central Station. Once arriving at Central Station we had a leisurely lunch at the Oyster Bar. Of course we had to order James Bond’s favorite meal in New York… Oyster Stew & Beer.

    The Oyster Bar

    “[…] what about the best meal in New York – oyster stew with cream, crackers and Miller High Life at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central?”

    – 007 in New York, Ian Fleming

    After lunch we headed out on Death March #2. First stop, The Drake Hotel which appeared in John Gardner’s For Special Services.

    At the Loew’s Drake Hotel at Fifty-sixth and Park, the briefcase awaited them.

    – For Special Services (chapter 6), John Gardner

    John Cox at The Mysterious Bookshop

    We then stopped by The Mysterious Bookshop, home of The Mysterious Press who published the special editions of Licence to Kill in 1989. While there, they gave us a look at a Limited Edition (only 250 published) of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The thing that makes this edition extra special and a gem for any James Bond collectors vault is that this is a signed copy of OHMSS which Ian Fleming also inscribed to his mistress, Lisl. If you’re interested in obtaining this book contact The Mysterious Bookshop and mention CommanderBond.net.

    Signed Limited Edition On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    (Inscribed to Ian Fleming’s mistress, Lisl)
    Price: $15,500.00

    After 26 years at their originally location on West 56th Street, The Mysterious Bookshop moved on September 30, 2005. Their new address and phone number is…

    The Mysterious Bookshop
    58 Warren St.
    New York, NY 10007
    212-587-1011

    Continuing on, we passed by Radio City Music Hall which hosted the premier of GoldenEye 1995. The music hall also appeared during the climactic end of the graphic novel The Quasimodo Gambit as James Bond chases Maximillian “Quasimodo” Steel across the roof tops of Music City. We also passed the Paramount Theater which not only hosted the premier of Thunderball in 1965, but also ran the film 24 hours around the clock afterwards.

    The 21 Club

    There was a question of lunch. […] In the old days it would have been the ’21.’ but the expense-account aristocracy had captured even that stronghold, inflating prices and, because they didn’t know good from bad, deflating food. But he would go there for old times’ sake and have a couple of dry martinis – Beefeaters with a domestic vermouth, shaken with a twist of lemon peel – at the bar.

    – 007 in New York, Ian Fleming

    Rockefeller Center

    Next we strutted up tothe 21 Club and stopped to take pictures like the gawking tourists that we were. The 21 Club was featured not only in 007 in New York, but in the novel Diamond’s Are Forever Tiffany Case invites James Bond to the club for dinner at 8 o-clock on Friday night.

    Our death march then lead us up to the 666 building or as Elias Hazelwood called it, “the three sixes building.” This served as the villain’s lair in The Quasimodo Gambit. In chapters 24 and 25 of this graphic novel, debris from an explosion in the 666 building rained down on Rockefeller Center (pic 2), which was our next stop. We took this opportunity to take a web-heads group photo. Rockefeller Center is also the location for the final scene in 007 if New York.

    […] an untidy meeting at midnight beside the skating rink at Rockefeller Center with tears and threats of suicide from the English girl.

    – 007 in New York, Ian Fleming

    It’s time to return to our hotel, but not before a few quick stops long the way. With careful examination of Ian Fleming’s novel Diamond’s Are Forever Matt “the tour Nazi” Sherman brought us to the exact corner where James Bond hides in a doorway when he thinks he’s being followed. Well he was being followed, but by no one dangerous… just Felix Leiter.

    Bond had walked for only a few minutes when it suddenly occurred to him that he was being followed. […] He went on and turned right into the Avenue of the Americas, stopping in the first doorway, the entrance to a woman’s underwear store…

    – Diamonds Are Forever (chapter 8), Ian Fleming

    We also stopped at Bond 45 for those who had missed it on Thursday night. We then retuned to the hotel in need of a bit of rest before the nights festivities. Some people BONDed in the BCW suite while checking out some 007 memorabilia that was on display, while others hit their hotel room beds for a quick snooze.

    Niels & Jana Maclellan

    At 10:00pm the hotel lobby was filled with all sorts of odd characters: Kerim Bey, Zora, Wai Lin, Jimmy Bond/Dr. Noah, Mata Bond, James Bond (all incarnations of course) and Tee Hee who had gone through a cloning machine and now was double the trouble. Niels & Jana Maclellan won the ever so coveted “Best Costume” award and they certainly deserved it. The couple were dressed as the handcuffed James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) from the Tomorrow Never Dies motorcycle chase scene… yes, they’re costume included the BMW motorcycle which was constructed out of 40 feet of PVC pipe! Check out our group costume photo taken in the Waldorf Lobby.

    Charlie Axworthy, Matt Sherman, Athena Stamos, John Cox, Fraser Lomas, Darren Hayes, Greg Goodman & Deborah Lipp

    As we sat in the lobby the hotel phone rang… *ring* …“Timothy Dalton” picked it up. Our mission, should we choose to accept was to head across town to Charlie Axworthy’s Waldorf suite. We all of course accepted and stepped out of the hotel and onto the busy streets of New York. With our group consisting of scantily clad women, white men posing as black men, a toy motorcycle and lots of tuxedos and toy guns… the adventure of hailing a swarm of cabs was a great one. As we all piled in to our “fancy” transportation the precession of cabs took of through Time Square toward our destination.
    Upon the groups arrival, the party of all party’s began. Wine, champagne, imported beer, soft drinks, jumbo shrimp, cheese, crackers, veggie platters, chocolate and lots of other tantalizing munchies were waiting to be devoured. Bond music filled the air and Bond talk graced everyone’s lips. The night was young and would last till about 4am.

    SUNDAY AUGUST 28

    Now having had even less sleep than the night before, we all took the subway into downtown to begin Death March #3. Our first stop: the New York County Supreme Court building. This court house has been featured in countless episodes of Law & Order, but is also home to a controversial 007 legal battle. Monty Norman vs John Berry, Who wrote the Bond theme? The winner: Monty Norman. This is also where the ongoing battles between Sean Connery and his neighbor take place.

    Fraser Lomas on the Brooklyn Bridge

    Matt “the tour Nazi” Sherman then asked if we wanted to go see the Brooklyn Bridge since we were right near it. We said yes because although not a Bond location we couldn’t pass it up. After I scaled the bridge we continued our trek and stopped at Ground Zero. We looked around at what used to be the World Trade Center and viewed the plans for the new Freedom Tower and Center. We all had our moments of silence as we walked around the void. Matt told us that supposedly what was planned for Die Another Day was that Gustav Graves was going to destroy the Stature of Liberty using the Icarus satellite, when 9-11 happened, that plan was tossed.

    We then took a walk down Wall Street to check out the New York Stock Exchange which was the target of the villain’s evil doings in John Gardner’s Brokenclaw. Brokenclaw Lee planned on breaking into Wall Street’s computer system and wrecking financial havoc, of course James Bond came to the rescue.

    New York Stock Exchange

    Its aim was to bring down Wall Street by hacking into the Stock Exchange computers, buying, selling, altering prices surreptitiously.

    – Brokenclaw (chapter 17), John Gardner

    While on Wall Street we were able to view the building which served as Felix Leiter’s office (green roof) in Live & Let Die. We continued on our third Death March through the New York Historic District which still had its coble stone streets intact. We passed Frauces Tavern where during the revolutionary war spies would gather to exchange information.

    Live & Let Die steps

    We then visited our last BCW8 Bond location. When 007 arrives in New York in Live and Let Die he is picked up by “Charlie” in a brown sedan. Along the Roosevelt expressway “Charlie” is killed and the car looses control. Bond manages to veer the sedan off the expressway, dodging occupied cars. This results in the sedan flying over the steps of a large building and crashing into a parked van across the street, where Bond later calls Felix. These steps, our location; and for many one of the most anticipated locations for this trip. The street looks near the same and the steps are still there, but the spot where Bond’s car sails over has now been turned into a handicap access ramp and planter. And while we were there, believe it or not, in the exact spot where Bond crashes into the van sat a bus… number 007.

    Geoffrey Holder & Athena Stamos

    We made our way over to Matt Sherman’s Uncle’s place for Lunch. It was an authentic New York artists loft with drinks and two monster sub-sandwiches waiting for our hungry stomachs. Everyone grabbed some grub and took a seat as it was time to meet our special guest, Geoffrey Holder (Baron Samedi, Live & Let Die) who had an autographed photo for everybody. But Geoffrey, as he insisted we call him, was a man of many opinions more interested in talking about the mysteries of life than about James Bond.

    Next we heard from our two literary guests, John Griswold (Ian Fleming’s James Bond: Annotations and Chronologies) and Michael DiLeo (The Spy Who Thrilled Us). John Griswold explained in detail how he formulated his James Bond chronology based on his research of Ian Fleming’s original novels. It was clear to everyone in the room that John really knows his stuff and is very dedicated to 007 knowledge. Even Matt Sherman said, “I never want to meet you in a Bond trivia competition!” Michael DiLeo talked about his book as well which focuses on the James Bond films with a light entertaining touch – fandom should be fun. Michael also addressed a question by talking about the trials behind writing his book when he lost a lot of content, which he kept in his office, to the 9-11 disaster. Both authors both had a small stock of their books with them which they were happily signing.

    Maxine Vesterhalt & Roger Adams

    Our next guest was Maxine “Max” Vesterhalt who’s credited as “Casino Girl” in For Your Eyes Only. Unlike Mr. Holder, Max loved talking about her experiences in the world of 007 and reveled details about the making of For Your Eyes Onl that have never been published anywhere to our knowledge. She talked about the original FYEO casting section with a director other than John Glen (although she couldn’t recall the name of this “original” director). She also went into detail about her role in the film which was originally a much more significant scene with Roger Moore. Both her and Roger were disappointed that they didn’t get to play out their scene together as originally written. She then told us about when she met up with Roger Moore and the Broccoli family in Japan for the premier of Octopussy and they treated her like family. She had autographed photos for us all as well. I have to say that Max was certainly a pleasure to BOND with.

    As the weekend was wrapping up, Jeff Marshall’s special BCW8 Lithos were revealed: one BCW8 Poster Litho and one Baron Samedi Litho. And we received our BCW gift packs which included an autographed excerpt from Deborah Lipp’s soon to be published book, The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book. We all spent our last hours together lounging in the loft. BCW8 was, as always… a success!

    This which you have just read are the BCW adventures of the following CBn web-attendees: Athena Stamos (Athena007), Bill Kanas (Bill), Charlie Axworthy (Bryce (003)), Darren Hayes (North Scorpion), Deborah Lipp (Kara Milovy), Fraser Lomas (Double-Oh-Zero), Greg Goodman (head of Univex), John Cox (zencat), John Lambert (Johnboy007), Matt Sherman (Matt Sherman), Roger Adams (TGO) and Tom Stroud (trs007). It’s because of you all that this was the best BCWs ever!

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    Athena Stamos @ 2005-10-19
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