Archive for March, 2014

Almost 50 Years of New York

March 11th, 2014

Just spent a couple of days on USA’s east coast. Happily avoided most of the disastrous winter cold, but, for one who is now used to Israeli sun, not so easy.

But I spent a little time on a nostalgic jaunt through Manhattan, and came up with a few views, both visual and observational…

I landed first time in NYC in August 1966. I was just a week away from my 21st birthday. I was entering the 3rd year of my dental sales apprenticeship with the US dental export agent, Robert H. Sittig Associates. In the humid heat of mid-Summer, Sittig held a 2-week sales meeting, as reported herewith in the October 1966 issue of ‘PROOFS’ magazine. (The article was written by Mrs. Roselle Sittig, who, as Roselle Ross, was a successful author of children’s books).

It was held at the Beacon Hotel, then a dump! Rooms were small, air-con not always working. Half of the sales meetings were held at the premises of the manufacturers whom Sittig represented. Half were held in the basement conference room. The room’s air-conditioner was so noisy, that we had to switch it off if we wanted to hear what was being said. Reuslted in some very hot lectures – or cool ones that no one heard…

Today, The Beacon Hotel, like so much of the Upper West Side, has been beautifully renovated…Here is today’s image (located at Broadway and 75th)..

And it contains the very popular Beacon Theatre, featuring, nowadays Johnny Hallyday among others (Ringo, Smokey Robinson, Dion etc.)

You have to be at least my age to remember the name, Johnny Hallyday. Actually, I see he was born 1943 – not so ancient. I saw Paul Simon on stage last week, and he was born 1941. He was fantastic, appearing at Madison Square Garden with Sting – born 1951. A great evening’s entertainment.

Digressing, I can expand on that story – The last time I saw a show at the Garden was in 1977, 37 years ago. (I did see Ice Hockey in the interim, but that’s different). I was coming from Whaledent’s midtown office, on my way to the Statler Hilton, just opposite the Garden. Luckily, before going up to my room, I checked what was on: QUEEN! I was somehow able to get a ticket. I joined the almost 20,00 youngsters in my suit and tie and had one of the best evening’s entertainments ever.

And last week, I did the same – even staying at the same hotel (now the Pennsylvania – over 100 years old – the origin of Glenn Miller’s ‘Pennsylvania 6-5000’). Also came in from a visit with Whaledent – well, with Stephen Rubinsky, who had been Whaledent’s V-P. Checked what was on – saw ‘Paul Simon and Sting’ and the rest, as  they say, is history.

Let me list some of the great dental companies represented by Sittig in those days (over the years, there were around 100):

Aderer -Brunswick (Monoject) –  Black Dentaprises – Ceramco – Cosmos – Dedeco – Foredom – Handler – Healy – Jelenko – L & R – Mizzy – Niranium – Opotow – Star – Torit – Whaledent – Wolf – Young ..

During the interim weekend, 2 birthdays were celebrated, including my 21st. We had dinner at the King Neptune Restaurant in Ridgefield, Conn. (which I see just recently closed). This picture of me (actually eating Alaskan King Crab) was taken at the time – and then used as an ad. by the restaurant. My fee? 4 free dinners…

The Sittig office was a dusty, cockroach-ridden collection of offices on the 2nd floor at 2255 Broadway (at 81st). Today, have a look…

– Lookin’ OK.

After the sales meeting, I then spent 1 year based in the Broadway office.

I lived at a lovely building, looking today even more special than it was then: The Ansonia, between 74th and 75th on Broadway –

My landlady was Mme. Breisach, interpretation instructress at the Met. Opera. Her late husband had been a conductor at the Met.

In 1966-67, the opera was celebrating it’s first year at Lincoln Center, and I became an official Met Standee…

Here’s the official sweat-shirt, worn by someone very special – Kurt Sittig’s niece, Nancy. (More information available, upon request).

And this is the Met. Opera today…

Smile – Promote Your Dentist

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Chicago Midwinter Meeting 2014

March 11th, 2014


The older I get, the more I am being pushed by my colleagues to do silly youthful things…like writing blogs!

In this case, it’s the famous selfie..Here, you are seeing 4 very important dental personalities, each of whom would throttle me if they find out I’ve pasted this picture on this blog. Happily, no one ever reads this…

On your left, Joachim Siegler, boss of perhaps the only bona fide dental wholesaler in Europe.

The next 3 are regional sales managers of American Eagle Instruments: Pia Rossel covering Latin America, Elizabeth Noll, covering eastern and southern Europe, Middle East, Russia, India and Jupiter, and then there’s me.

The day before the exhibition starts, we, the trade, especially the international members, have a chance to meet, talk, view, without disturbing our professional colleagues. The Dental Trade Alliance (DTA), previously the Dental Manufacturers of America (DMA) hosts their ‘Preview Show’. Each exhibitor has a table, on which to show their wears. Visitors grab a snack in one hand, a drink in another, and then shake hands with whomever he meets in the many aisles. It’s clearly a very informal affair…

My first show was back in 1967 (I was 2 years old), when I was at the end of my 3 years’ apprenticeship with Sittig Associates, the then-leading export agent for American dental suppliers.

I’ve been to most since, though bright early Spring sunshine and horrible snowstorms that have kept us Chicago-bound for days. Always something to talk about.

The next 3 pics shows Chicago on the day before the expo starts: empty streets, empty corridors, and artistic teeth, yet to be installed.

Was able to walk a little along N. Michigan, along The Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s terrific main shopping street. That’s the Sears Building in the first picture, with the very diminutive Water Tower, dwarfed at its side. And of course, I had to pop into Victoria’s Secret. Didn’t buy anything of course, but that’s not the point. Anyway, my wife prefers ‘others’.

Now I’m going to risk something….Saturday night, the same 4 of us ventured into Kingston Mines Blues Bar. If you’re in Chicago, put this place next to the top of your list.

Of COURSE, it’s loud, or COURSE it’s squeezed (Saturday night – although the air-con appears to be working fine…never felt anything but OK). But Joanna Connor (pictured below) and Duke Tumatoe fronted 2 great blues bands – on 2 separate stages, in 2 separate rooms (you have to shift from one to the other).

Fan or not, connoisseur or not, you sway, wave and shout on command. It’s very special.

Now to the risky bit. The following images show strange behaviour between 2 men at the venue. One is me, and the other is none other than Torsten Oemus. If you do not know who Torsten is, then I’d better not say.

There, I’ve done it.

Smile – Support Your Dentist