The workmen at the right are getting ready to launch a brand-new sailboat—but not into the sea. They are part of the crew setting the stage in New York's vast Coliseum, where some $2.5 million worth of boats and equipment will soon stand bathed in floodlit glamour. The bright spectacle of the boat show is what keeps enthusiasm alive and warm each year in the hearts of winterbound boatmen in virtually every major U.S. city. But—as with any show—part of the fun lies in waiting in darkness eagerly expectant for the curtain to rise. From notes taken in earlier years, Artist Nicholas Solovioff shows on these pages how things will look next week around Columbus Circle as some 550 shiny new boats are made ready for public view at the 56th annual New York show.

An earlier sailor watches imperturbably from atop his high pedestal in Columbus Circle as two speedy runabouts, arriving late and in the rain, make a slow circumnavigation of the gloomy streets before taking their places in the Coliseum's limelight.

Like Christmas packages left lying under a tree by some untidy Santa Claus, bundled-up boats, engines and other paraphernalia clutter the exhibition floors, while weary workmen argue back and forth over which goes where and what belongs to whom.

Out of their proper element, cabin cruisers weighing up to 15 tons are as lumpy with dead weight as a beached whale. More than 2,000 man-hours of backbreaking labor will be required to push and shove these monsters into place before the New York show opens.