n the spirit of prom season, Westchester Magazine staffers look back and share their prom night experiences. Be prepared to laugh—or weep.
About 2 weeks before my senior prom (Hendrick Hudson High School), my boyfriend and I broke up. I didn’t want to ask some random guy to go with me.
I managed to get a date two days prior to prom. I didn’t tell any of my friends who he was. The only thing I told them was “If you like me, you are going to love him.”
My date wore a tux that looked like it came straight out of the matrix, and I wore a black Bebe gown with a velvet cowboy hat.
Everyone went crazy when I walked in… with my older brother.
Since I’m an abysmal dancer and would much rather spend my days in jeans and a tee shirt than in haute couture, you wouldn’t think I’d be excited about going to my prom. But I was part of an offbeat, creative group of friends in high school—two members of my party decided to abandon typical prom attire in favor of a zoot suit and flapper dress after all—and we managed to twist the event into something that personally interested us more than shaking it to a bad DJ while wearing puffy dresses.
Our first bit of quirk came about completely by acccident. We were all milling around at a friend’s house, enduring pictures with our families, when our limo arrivedâ€¹and unexpectedly came equipped with a waterbed in the back. Tacky? Awesome? It was hard to decide at the time, especially in front of the raised eyebrows of our parents. But thinking back about the prom today, I can’t tell you what songs were played or who I talked with, but I can tell you that my limo had a waterbed in the back of it.
I can also tell you where my prom took place: the VIP Club in New Rochelle.
We pulled up in front of the club’s outdoor fountain—where I would return five years later, after landing my first full-time magazine job, to attend my first “Best of Westchester” party—and submitted to a police search of our limo. (What? Doesn’t that happen at all proms?) I guess our school had reputation for harboring some boozers. (But high-achieving boozers who all go on to elite, four-year colleges.) The policeman was going about his business, searching the car, when suddenly his eyes widened. We all tensed.
He called over his colleague. We squeezed each other’s hands. The policeman pointed to his colleague: “Look! This limo has a waterbed in the back of it!” We relaxed, and went inside.
Because of my aforementioned inability to dance, I spent most of the prom chatting with fellow wallflowers and taking pictures. I think I still owe some people doubles that I promised them that night. It was fine, but we were happy to all pile back into the waterbed-limo and headed into the city.
We had taken rooms at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square and planned to hit the town. We went to a dance club, saw a comedy show, grabbed some late-night food. But the most fun we had all night was just riding the glass elevator in the hotel. If you go really, really late at night, you can get an uninterrupted ride from the top floor to the lobby. (Did I mention my friends were total dorks in high school?)
The next day, eyes bleary from riding the elevator all night, we somehow found our way to the Metro-Northâ€¹our waterbed had retired hours agoâ€¹and made it back to Westchester. My parents are one of the few who stopped and took pictures of me returning from my prom. They’re right up there with the pictures of me with the chicken pox. (Thanks, Mom!)
Oh yeah, and my dress. Isn’t the dress the first thing girls are supposed to talk about when they reminisce about their proms? Actually, the big “Ah-ha!”
moment with my dress came months after my prom. I was lounging on the couch watching the MTV Video Music Awards with my sister. There was one of those weird, MTV-manufactured moments where Will Smith introduced both Biggie’s and Tupac’s moms, who were supposed to make an impassioned plea to end violence in rap music. “Wait, is Biggie’s mom wearing your prom dress?” my sister asked. If it wasn’t exactly the same dress, it was pretty darn close.
Score another point for East Coast rap.
This was one of my three prom dates in my senior year of high school—and they were all named Christopher. It sure made life interesting for my Dad when he answered telephone calls for me (“I KNOW it’s Chris Dad, but WHICH ONE?!”). This was the Christopher that I brought to my prom (Immaculate Heart Academy, Washington Township NJ 1982).
After four years of borrowing dresses, my mom making them, or buying them off sale rack for every dance I went to, my mom brought me to an exclusive dress shop in NJ and I got to buy what I wanted—and this “Scarlett O’Hara” style dress was the rage back then. The dress cost $110—which was huge money in those days.
I went back to the same store to get my wedding dress, and believe it or not, I actually loved my prom dress more—and I still have it (my children used it for dress up). I have done the same thing for my daughter Ellen, who just bought the prom dress of her dreams at The Elephant’s Trunk.
My date was my bestest “boy” friend (not boyfriend), who decided to fall madly in love with me—and asked me to marry him at my prom. I was horrified and said “no,” and broke his heart. Our friendship was never the same. He died tragically in a car accident in his early twenties. Not surprisingly, my husband Dave has many of the wonderful qualities that Christopher possessed—gentle, self-effacing, quiet, but oh so interesting!
While the years have aged me and I can just about fit my big toe into my prom dress, I look at this picture and still feel like the bright-eyed girl I see staring back at me. Christopher on the other hand, remains “frozen in time,” as young, handsome and starry-eyed as he was on prom night. I have no doubt that he will be one of the first to greet me at the “pearly gates,” decked out in his tux, corsage in hand, and I’ll finally get to tell him what I never did in this earthly life—how much I loved him—and still do.
I went to Good Counsel Academy in White Plains and our senior prom was on a yacht that circled Manhattan. Before we all headed into the City, we met at my friend Lori’s house in Briarcliff to take pictures. Everything was perfect: all the dates showed up on time, none of the girls had any wardrobe mishaps, and the night was warm and pretty. Twenty or so of us piled into the Escalade limo we rented (this was pre-sky-high gas prices, after all) and headed into the City. Driving along, we began to hear sirens. We all looked out the tinted windows, excited to see who was getting pulled over. The lights and sirens started to get closer and closer. Who was getting pulled over?
Turns out the limo, which had made its way from California, was never registered in New York State. So, less than half an hour before the boat was scheduled to leave the dock, our limo was being motioned to get off at the next exit and park on some random side street in some random section of the Bronx. Oh God, are we going to miss our prom?
The rescue: the police, who called in reinforcements. They piled us into the back of town cars and escorted us to the boat (speeding thru traffic and opening the door to change lanes). Four cars arrived in the nick of time, but the fifth (the one I was in, natch) screened in just as the dean was about to tell the yacht to pull away. We sprinted down the pier in full prom gear!
We had a great night. As for the limo, the company had another, smaller (but registered!) version waiting for us when we got off the boat.
I went to Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua. I met a guy from Cleveland, Ohio, while vacationing in Florida during on of my high school breaks. We literally fell in love and planned to get married. We dated for many years to follow. In 1986, I flew out to Ohio and went to his prom and he flew in for mine. We had a lot of fun, and I was lucky my parents supported and funded (airline tickets) our relationship. One funny thing that happened at my prom was we were in the limo and the guys were all smoking cigars on the way there. I was wearing a dress with a tull overlay. While smoking the cigar, Scott accidentally burned a giant hole in the dress before we even arrived. I was upset but laughed it off to a funny memory.