October 20 - October 23, 2000

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You asked for it! Here's a selection of photos and some commentary from the con!
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Photos courtesy Steve Jung and Nicholas Takach

First stop on the tour: 
Downtown NYC's Police Museum

The group takes a load off in front of 
some very cool police vehicles

One very cool police cycle....

We were not awarded these badges
when we left the museum, alas....

A police utility belt and other paraphernalia
cops know what to do with, at the museum

Chris Noth's play, perfectly titled....

Our photographer poses for a picture outside Broadway's Virginia Theater

The stage, pre-show, inside the Virginia Theater

Best Man co-star Charles Durning 
signs a few autographs

Da Best Man emerges! 
"What's the World Series score?"

More happy signatures from 
Mr. Noth

Cozying up to the correct mug shot

The Museum of TV and Radio

Some of the gang next to the museum, 
jockeying for position in front of the 
famous '21' Club

Da Gang at Da Marino's!

The United States District Court
(look familiar?)

The courthouse, from another angle

In front of the Criminal Courthouse at 
100 Centre Street (near Hogan Place) with 
Craig, our intrepid guide!

Steve Jung's account of the con (which he attended the weekend following the Homicide: Life On The Streets Con!) -- thanks, Steve!:

Murray Hill Inn
143 E. 30th St.
Friday, October 20

I check into my hotel around 9 PM after walking there from Penn Station. I took the train in, because I don't like driving or parking in Manhattan. The Inn is a Euro-style hotel, meaning the bathrooms are in the hallway. The room is tiny, but clean, with just enough room for a bed, table, closet and sink. Oh well, it's inexpensive and
in midtown. For dinner I walk a couple block over to the Moonstruck East. I have myself a nice cheeseburger and an official New York chocolate egg cream. It's pretty good. I walk around, stopping at a 24-hour grocery store along the way to get some bottled water for tomorrow. Coincidentally, the hotel is on the same block as the
Redball Garage. Eerie, huh?

New York City Police Museum
25 Broadway
Saturday, October 21

I take the subway downtown around 10 AM to meet the others at the Police Museum. By 11 AM all 7 of us are there (As Randee put it, "We're small, but wiry."). We are from all over. Randee from Queens organized the convention, Vina is from Brooklyn, Maria and Gary come from Cleveland, Judy hails from San Antonio, Nick flew in from Tulsa, and yours truly is from New Brunswick, New Jersey. The museum has badges, equipment, and uniforms dating back to the genesis of the department. One display showcases weapons from infamous criminals, including knife guns and cane guns. Another exhibit contains a standard issue patrolman's belt and rescue equipment. Scattered around the museum are video monitors showing cops speaking about their jobs. Other exhibits show visitors how detectives interpret evidence. Police vehicles, such as the scooter, motor cart, and
motorcycle are also on display. A computer exhibit has Dennis Franz explaining New York police jargon. There's also a firearms training simulator, but it's not open yet. We make an obligatory stop in the gift shop, before leaving.

Katz's Deli
205 E. Houston St.

For lunch, Randee has arranged for us to eat here. If you've seen "When Harry Met Sally," you may recognize this place. Katz's Deli is the location of the deli scene, naturally ("I'll have what she's having."). I have a huge corned beef sandwich. It's so big I can only eat half of it. All over are signs saying, "Send a salami to your boy
in the Army," from WW II. You can even get shirts saying it. After lunch, we're all pretty tired, plus we need to change for the theater later that night. So we skip Chelsea Piers, where Law & Order as well as Spin City are filmed, and head back to our respective residences.

The Knickerbocker Bar & Grill
33 University Place

About 6 in the evening, I meet Judy and Nick at their hotel and we take the subway to the restaurant. There we meet up with Randee, Vina, Maria, and Gary for dinner. Various Hirschfeld caricatures line the walls. When Michael Moriarty (EADA Ben Stone) lived in the city, he played the piano there.

From the restaurant, we head over to the Virginia Theatre, to see "The Best Man" by Gore Vidal. The play is a drama set in 1960 at the presidential convention in Philadelphia. The two contenders, Sen. Cantwell, played by Chris Noth (Det. Mike Logan) and Secretary Russell, played by Spalding Gray, are in a bitter contest to secure
the nomination. Cantwell is ready to use damaging information against Russell. Russell is under pressure from his staff to find and use mud against Cantwell. He doesn't want Cantwell to win, but he also doesn't want to resort to dirty tricks, either. The former president, Charles Durning (Det. Tom Finnegan from Homicide: "Finnegan's Wake"), is trying to figure out which of the two men he will endorse. He dislikes Cantwell's arrogance, but also dislikes Russell's indecisiveness. In the end, Russell's honorable nature wins out. After the play ends we go to the stage entrance to get autographs and take pictures with the stars. While we're waiting, the security man
updates us on the score of the first game of the World Series. I liked the play. Even though it was written in 1960, it still squares with modern politics. Russell's wife, Michael Learned, stays with him despite his womanizing, because divorce would kill his chances for election. Cantwell is willing to do anything to win the nomination.

We go out for dessert and coffee, and then Nick, Judy, and I go back to our hotels.

The Museum of Television & Radio
25 W. 52nd St.
Sunday, October 22

Judy, Nick, and I get here around 11:30 after breakfast. We don't have to wait long before everyone else shows up. The museum is unusual in that there aren't too many physical exhibits. What they do is preserve television and radio programs and allow the public to view them. After we schedule a time to visit the library, we split up
to view some of the scheduled screenings. Vina goes to a live radio broadcast of WBLS, a rhythm & blues station in the Mark Goodson Theater. Randee, Nick, Maria, and Gary see "Television Commercials  From around the World." Judy and I see "Great Movie Stunts: Raiders of the Lost Ark" from 1981 and starring Harrison Ford. At 2 PM, we head up to the library to pick which programs we want to see. To make selections, you search by title, person, or genre them using a computer which then transmits that data to the staff. In addition to radio and TV programs, you can select museum seminars. I saw a couple seminars on the list for the crossover episodes of "L&O" and "Homicide," with Tom Fontana, Dick Wolf, and others. Once you send in your choices, the staff checks the availability and gives you the access numbers. The viewing spaces are filled with monitors with
headphones and playback controls. Nick, Maria, and Gary pick some episodes of a show from the 1960s called "Route 66." It's about a couple of guys "who cruise the country in [a] Corvette looking for action." (IMDb) Judy, Randee, and I watch a couple episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents": Lamb to the Slaughter and A Dip in the

Judy, Nick, and I go sightseeing next. We have a late lunch at a street vendor where I have a dirty water dog (boiled hot dog). see the Harley-Davidson restaurant after that. They aren't open that early, but of course the gift shop is. So off we go to the top of the World Trade Center to take pictures and enjoy the view. The weather
is very nice and sunny, although a bit chilly that high up. It's fun to listen to the people around us and try to figure out what language they're speaking.

Da Marino
220 W. 49th St.

Dinner is at the Italian restaurant, Da Marino. Chris Noth is a regular and even wrote the "L&O" movie "Exiled" with Charles Kipps here. It was also seen in the movie. Dinner is excellent, but there's no Noth sighting.

The night is still young, so Judy, Nick, and I decide to visit Times Square. We see a lot of police in the area and wonder what's going on. We ask one of them, and the reason is two-fold. Earlier there was a demonstration blocking traffic and Hilary Clinton was in town for a fund raiser a couple blocks away. We also watch Sportscenter for a while on the outdoor screen at EPSNZone to catch the NFL scores. When it comes time to leave, we can't find an open subway entrance. You would think that Times Square would have a lot of accessible ones, but apparently not late Sunday night.

Manhattan Criminal Courthouse
100 Centre St.
Monday, October 23

Breakfast this morning was a grilled cheese sandwich, to complete the Pembleton-Bayliss combo. We're a little late getting here, so the tour will start later. The criminal courthouse isn't the one seen in "L&O." The criminal courthouse is a solid structure built by the WPA in the 1930s. The courthouse seen in the show is the Supreme Court Civil Division at 60 Centre St. with the ridged columns or the US Courthouse next door with the smooth columns. The court officer, Fred, (I think, I can't remember for sure) first explains to us the structure of the New York court system. Unlike ever other state, the Supreme Court isn't the highest court, the Court of Appeals is. The Supreme Court handles felony trials and civil trials. We go through the process of arrest and trial, using a car stop that turns into a gun bust as an example. Randee and Nick get fingerprinted the old fashioned way at the courthouse. The police use an electronic system these days. In New York every felony case must go before a grand jury, whose job it is to decide if there's enough evidence to proceed. After indictment is the arraignment when bail is set, hearings, and finally the actual trial.

Supreme Court
Trial Part ?

We sit in on a murder trial. The defendant is defending himself, with the help of legal aid. The DA looks very young. Fred explains that the DA office is a good place for young lawyers to get trial experience. The DA and defendant examine the expert witness, a physician. The defendant wants the witness to tell the court that he
was physically incapable of the murder. The judge isn't happy with the defendant, because he is asking improper questions and isn't getting to the point. So if you ever get arrested, get a lawyer.

Supreme Court

We also sit in on a few arraignment proceedings for drug cases. They are quick, although one defendant makes a plea bargain. The arraignments go on around the clock and on the weekends, due to the case load. We even meet the DA trying the subway pusher case (the one in which the victim lost his legs) on her way to court, carrying some subway maps. I think she got the conviction later that day.

After a wonderful weekend, we say our goodbyes. Judy and I wait with Nick for his ride to the airport, then we go to Central Park, since we both have time. In the middle of the park you can't tell, you're in the middle of Manhattan. In some places I can't see any buildings. We see a lakeside restaurant from an episode of "Sex and the City." Then we visit St. Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. In the NBC Experience store, there are many products for NBC shows. They still have "Seinfeld" stuff, but only have some lame "L&O" shirts.
They even have a two-tape set of "The Subway" and "Anatomy of a Homicide." I say goodbye to Judy and take the train home. At the train station I wander around the garage, because I can't remember where my car is. Once I find it, I drop off my film and another convention is over.

Thanks to everyone who attended! Let's do it again, bigger and better, next year!

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