Everywhere you turn there are women in flashy evening gowns and men in black tie. There is a sense of glamour rising above the chatter in ballroom of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. The New York Emmy gala house band kicks into Led Zeppelin or Steely Dan or Stevie Wonder as the next presenter walks on from stage right with the familiar shine of the gold Emmy statuette. It is the prized possession of the evening. The award that will be handed to one winner in each of dozens of categories which include hundreds of nominees from across New York State and the New York City market.
This truly is a competition where the phrase "it is an honor just to be nominated" carries weight. That is especially true for Upstate New York stations that are competing with the number one market in the nation and major cable networks like YES and MSG which have the production arsenal equal to global networks like ESPN or NBC. There is a sense of pride that our group of stations had mustered four nominations.
Three were for our already award winning documentary on the life and Canonization of Mother Marianne Cope entitled "A Saint for Central New York". That's the special where Concentra partnered with Syracuse PBS station WCNY. Jim Aroune and I were nominated for best writing and best research. David Fulkerson and Andy Wolf were nominated for best photography. The fourth nomination was the Baby Easton story told by Michael Benny and photographer Andy Wolf.
The energy of New York City makes even the walk from our midtown hotel to the event exciting. Then once inside the gala the familar faces of long time New York City market anchors and reporters adds to the elevation of the moment. The New York Emmy staff invites several television actors to present many of the awards. Actor Danny Aiello was among them. So was Sami Gayle of Blue Bloods. NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams made a special appearance to honor legendary WNBC anchor Chuck Scarborough.
The evening is long. Anticipation builds as the hosts work through the program. The butterflies in the belly build when finally your category draws near. They announce all the nominees and display the names on a giant screen on stage. Then, "The Emmy Goes to..." and you wait holding your breath. Then one table in a room packed with 75 tables stands up and cheers. The other contenders exhale. Shake hands. Receive acknowledgement from colleagues offering consolation.
We did not bring home the gold trophies this year. However, the work that won in each of our categories was more than deserving. As much as everyone is dressed up hoping for the moment where your name is called the event is really a night long celebration of excellence in television, journalism and story telling. The bar is set high.
Even when you leave without a trophy there is a sense of motivation to maintain a high standard to create the next opportunity to return to the bright lights and glamour of a New York Emmy night.
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