The New York Pipe Show - Spring Edition
(March 2008)

By Dock Perry

Well folks the Spring version of the New York Pipe Show has already come and gone but as always the memories of it for those who attended won't quickly be forgotten. I arrived at the Wyndham Hotel (formerly the Ramada Inn) early in the day on Saturday. The first thing I noticed was that the layout of almost everything had been dramatically changed! The Restaurant and bar was totally reconfigured and the waiting area in the lobby had been completely obliterated and the main entrance now occupies the spot where it once was. It seems that the new owners are committed to making it a much nicer place to stay. Everything had been freshly painted; polished and made to look new. It was really a much more pleasant place to spend a couple of days. I was immediately given a room on the first floor and headed down for a quick shower and change of clothes.

After getting dressed I heard a couple of familiar voices in the hallway. I looked out the peephole and spotted show organizers Sam Barnett and Rich Esserman. I headed out to greet them and found myself locked out of my own room without shoes or socks! We all got a good laugh out of this as I headed barefoot down to the front desk to request a new key. About an hour later the Sam, Rich and I went to the Starlight for lunch. There we met up with long time exhibitor Sixten collector and friend Ron Colter. We had a nice chat on the status of the hobby, my new focus in collecting and pipe prices. After lunch Rich and I headed back to his room for a little show and tell. What I saw was nothing short of amazing! There were many ultra high grade Costello’s and an incredible modern Dunhill magnum in it's own vented case but what stole the show for me was Rich's newest acquisition, the largest magnum known to exist! It's easily the largest pipe that I've ever seen! It's an enormous paneled billiard with a sublime blast and a nearly four inch high bowl! The stem was badly oxidized when he got it and he spent over twelve hours cleaning it by hand with tooth paste and baking soda!

After leaving Rich I headed up to see old friend Don Seater of James Island Piper. Donald had his usual stock of high end Danish, American and Canadian pipes. Don has just been selected to represent Julius Vesz’ pipes in the U.S. a true honor I'm sure! There was one pipe in the room that just had to come home with me, a gorgeous Peter Heeshen dark blasted canted egg. It was my first pipe of the show and I was off and going from there. After leaving Don's I headed back to Rich's room and joined a couple of very nice gentleman affiliated with Fader's Tobacconist in Baltimore. One of them is a Jim Cooke aficionado who was puffing on a magnum sized 120 tan blast bent! Rich was able to smoke the pipe for a moment or two and strangely just didn’t want to give it back<grin>! After chatting a bit and smoking a lot we all headed down to dinner. The food was quite good as it always is and the service was its usual top shelf as many of the former workers there stayed on through the Wyndham's ownership.

After dinner I headed over to visit friend Sam Barnett. He had mentioned that he brought a Balleby with him and I was anxious to see it. It was a gorgeous little blasted apple with a Cumberland stem. The price was more than fair and it became my second pipe of the show. I looked at several other pipes Sam had and was totally floored by one of them. It was a large ODA sized Jim Cooke black Canadian with an amazing blast. I asked how much but was told that Ron had first refusal on it. I went to my room that night and just couldn’t get that pipe out of my mind. I knew I wanted it and had to patiently bide my time (more on this later).

The doors opened Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. as usual. I was already in the room at the time helping old friend Randy "Captain Pegleg" set up his table. Randy had several pipes that I wanted including a Former and a Cornelius Manez blowfish. There quickly became acquisitions three and four. After helping Randy I walked around the room and chatted with others setting up. Jay and Louise Jones were there and brought along one that I had been eyeing on their site for a month. It’s a gorgeous J.D. Cooke lb style billiard with an orange stem and a killer dark blast. The price was right and it became number five. I was also happy to buy the last of their newest vintage series tobacco "Party Blend," a nice full English blend. I only wish they had more! From there I went over to visit long time show supporter Matt Hayes who brought his usual 10 tables worth of pipes. Matt had a Peter Hedegaard smooth with killer grain that called out to me. A deal was made and it became number six for the show. After walking around the room and chatting with Premal from Smoker's Haven for a bit, our buddy Tim Hynick arrived with his wife. Tim had a nice selection of twenty or so pipes and was pleased to be able to give three of them new homes. After visiting with Tim a while I headed over to see Sam again. There on his table was the Cooke Canadian from last night. After thinking about it Ron passed on the pipe and I quickly scooped it up. I honestly couldn’t pay for it quick enough. I'm smoking it as I type this and it's an excellent smoker of course as I suspected.

I went back to visit with Randy for a bit who's table was right next to Timmy’s. Randy quickly got a devilish look on his face as he pulled out an insane J.D. Cooke bent blasted poker. My heart actually skipped a beat when I saw it. A deal was immediately worked out and it became lucky pipe number seven. Randy also had a very nice unsmoked Brian Ruthenberg bent blasted billiard. Brian's pipes smoke so well for me and the price was just so good that it became pipe number eight on the day. At about 11:00 am Larsen pipes expert and e-bay pipes dealer extraordinaire Rob Cooper came in with dozen tins of sealed tobacco. Sales were brisk and it seemed that almost everyone there bought something. Rob graciously took a moment to appraise a Larsen Pearl that I brought for him to see. He knew who made it before I handed it to him. The shape of the rim coupled with the smoke hole in the stem was unmistakably Jess Chonowitsch! Of course this made my day!

It had been a long few days and I was anxious to get home to rest. I said my goodbyes, wished everyone well and headed on back to "pipe barren" Western Massachusetts with a much emptier gas tank and wallet!

Here is a picture of the pipes I got at the show. Click for a better view............................Dock J.Perry

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