by Michael Heller
On a dark, chilly October Saturday night, deep in the woods of Noyac, a bit of popular New York City history was found, nestled cozily in the corner of a room of a home on Ruggs Path.
It was the annual Kaminski Halloween Party, given every year by Susan Murray and Joe Kaminski, and this year, in amongst the traditional fare of jack o’ lanterns, cobwebs and bubbling bowls of dry ice, was a small recreation of the Delmonico Lounge, the famous nightspot that was located in New York’s storied Delmonico Hotel at 59th and Park – complete with internationally-known jazz singer and pianist Freddy Cole (brother of Nat King, uncle of Natalie) and his band. (The Delmonico Hotel was known for, among other things, the place where the Beatles stayed in when they first came to America in 1964 to be on the Ed Sullivan show.)
“The ‘D-Lounge’ was where Freddy used to perform in New York City,” says Susan, looking prim and proper in 1950’s Housewife attire, “and Joe was the general manager of the Delmonico Hotel at the time. Freddy has been a friend of ours for years.”
Former residents of the city, Joe and Susan made the move out to Sag Harbor in 2002.
“After 9/11 in 2001, the hotel industry fell apart in New York City, and the Delmonico was sold and turned into an apartment building,” said Susan.
Admittedly outgoing and social, Susan then wanted to get to know more of her neighbors, and figured that her three children – Olivia, 18, (now in college), Hannah, 15 and Dylan, 10, were the best way to do so.
“I started the party because when we first moved here, it was a way for me to get to know our children’s friends’ families. I would tell them to invite their friends and their families, and I like it because all the generations get to party together.”
And party they did: a pirate mingled with a soccer player, Superman and a surgeon as Conan the Barbarian sampled a plate of ribs. The mood was festive, but respectfully subdued, as in the living room Freddy Cole crooned wonderful jazz standards and some blues. As the crowd grooved to the blues classic “Jelly, Jelly, Jelly”, Susan reflected on the growing success of the party, now an annual event held as an open house — everyone’s invited — every year on the Saturday before Halloween: “…So we got to know our community members. Now people start asking us in July, ‘what date is the party this year?’”