Though I’m originally from the Great Northwest, for about 10 years of my life (1980 to 1989) I lived in New York City. There I worked for the largest privately owned Electrical Contractor in the city (Garofalo Electric). During my six years with Garofalo we saw the company go from just 12 or so people in the office and about 120 electricians to 120 in the office and just over 1000 electricians. It was an incredible time and I had the experience of life time managing electrical construction for owners like Donald Trump or iconic projects like 100 UN Plaza, headquarters buildings for Goldman Sachs and Revlon and the 1983/4 renovation of the Statue of Liberty. But, one of the special things for me was being asked to deal with many “celebrity” clients who moved into the high-rise condominiums that we built.
Specifically, it was my job to find out what the new owners wanted customized in their new homes and then oversee the electrical work needing to be done to make it happen. Some of the celebrities I was fortunate enough to have worked with were people like Chuck Barris (the Gong Show), Norman Fell (Three’s Company), Princess Farahnaz Pahlavi (daugher of the late Shah of Iran), two of Donald Trump’s siblings and Mrs. John D. (Blanchette) Rockefeller III. But, of all the celebrities I had the honor to work with, Dick Clark, was by and far the most gentlemanly celebrity I ever worked with.
Yesterday I saw an article on CNN.com that invited people to share their memories about Dick Clark online with them. I sent in a quick little story about having worked with him. This morning I received an email from a Turner Communications official who said they liked my story so much that they were including it today in an article called “Top 10 Reasons We Love Dick Clark“. I looked it up and was thrilled to see my name next to Reason #2.
The story is only a short excerpt of what I had shared with them. Feel free to click the link to the article here or above. If you want to read the rest of the story, continue on….
I was first introduced to Dick Clark as one of the new tenants, together with his wife, moving into Trump Plaza at about 63rd St and 3rd Ave. in NYC. Mr. & Mrs. Clark had some very specific changes they wanted to make to their new one bedroom penthouse apartment before they moved in. A couple of walls were moved, some were taken out. But the thing I remember most was that they wanted what was then referred to as Tivoli Lighting installed around the platform to their bed, along the ceiling line and along some long steps that divided the open bedroom layout to the living room area. The lighting was similar to LED rope lighting but was much harder to get then on short notice than it is today. We reached agreement on all the changes to be made and our electricians started in on the work. Getting the Tivoli lighting was a bit of work. The Clark’s had a deadline that was looming because of an open house house-warming party they wanted to throw for family and friends. We got the lighting in time and had it all finished up literally the day before the party.
Apparently it was a big hit at the party. Everyone told them how much they liked the lighting and the remodel and the city views they had from there. From one side of the apartment you can see into a corner of Central Park and from the other side you could see the 59th Street (Queensboro) Bridge and the Roosevelt Island Tram. Not to mention being on a swanky end of 3rd Ave and being able to look up and down the avenue. Quite a view. But, notwithstanding the hit that the lighting was, apparently the Clark’s ended up not wanting to keep it. Other than for the party, for practical purposes they decided to have it taken out. I found this out because Dick Clark himself called me at home over a weekend and explained that they had decided to have it taken out and would I like to have it all. Mr. Clark was quite complimentary of me and having gotten the job done and all installed in time for their party but he told me that if they were taking it out he thought I should have it for all I had done for them. I graciously accepted it.
Then, he had me write down his home phone number and he told me that if I was ever in need of anything HE could do for ME, that I needed only to call… any time.
This is why, to this day, even though the old fashion Rolodex is now decades out of use, I still have it here at my office. I have Dick Clark’s home phone number in it.
I never called him. I respected his privacy far too much to have bothered him with anything. All the same, it was kind of fun to have Dick Clark’s home phone number in my Rolodex. Now, if I had been a rock star wannabe,… well, maybe, just maybe, I would have made that call.
Goodbye Dick Clark. Thank you for all you gave the music world and to all us music listeners who just enjoyed what you brought to us each week on your show. Thank you.