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As the pound pushes the $2 mark and a new breed of luxury budget carriers transform the transatlantic flight, there has never been a better time for UK event organisers to take a bite of the Big Apple
Goodbye jetlag, hello New York City! With airlines such as Eos (tel: 0808 234 8759), MAXjet (tel: 0800 023 4300) and Silverjet (tel: 0871 700 8520) forsaking economy to compete in the cut-price luxury market, event organisers can afford to treat attendees to a comfortable flight, ensuring everyone arrives rested and ready to hit the city’s vibrant venues – and there are many!
Following substantial investments in the NYC hotel industry (some 13,000 new rooms are expected to open here by 2010), there are plenty of treats come bedtime, too. Top recent arrivals include Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel (tel: 001 212 920 3300) and The London NYC (tel: 001 866 690 2029), which also plays host to Gordon Ramsay at The London (tel: 001 212 468 8709) and its three swish private dining rooms.
Our man on Wall Street tells us the business crowd likes the grand private room at La Grenouille (tel: 001 212 752 0652), where classic French food is served in high-ceilinged surrounds with leaded glass windows, a wood-burning fireplace and space for 20-70 guests. This much-loved restaurant has occupied the same East 52nd Street premises (between 5th and Madison) since 1962 and is as famous for its elaborate flower arrangements as it is for its scrupulously seasonal food.
When it’s hot, New Yorkers hit the roof. There are rooftop bars across town and, although locals like to keep their gems to themselves, it is often possible to arrange exclusive venue hire. If you can’t get access to the pool bar atop Soho House (tel: 001 212 627 9800), head down the street to Hotel Gansevoort (tel: 001 212 206 6700), where the 6,502sq ft roof houses a garden, terrace, lounge and pool as well as an ‘event loft’ for 130 guests with glass walls and 20ft ceilings.
For views, it’s hard to beat 230 Fifth (tel: 001 212 725 4300), a 22,000sq ft garden and penthouse on Fifth Avenue, just off Madison Square Park, where the entire Manhattan skyline seems laid out before you. It can be booked exclusively to accommodate parties of up to 1,200 (600 indoors) but smaller groups can also gain access to the rooftop bar and club during regular opening hours – which run from 4pm to 4am nightly.
The Maritime Hotel (tel: 001 212 242 4300) in Chelsea has a 150-capacity roof with views towards the Hudson River.
Hot new indoor venues include Aglow Studios (tel: 001 212 913 0421), a three-storey penthouse loft in SoHo, and the New York branch of Pacha (tel: 001 212 209 7500), which has just won Best Superclub, Best New Club and Best Sound System at the Club World Awards. With 30,000sq ft of space spread across four floors, it gives organisers the pick of a range of different-sized venues, from the 450-capacity Pachita (‘little Pacha’) to the main dance floor, which takes 1,200. All-importantly for New York, there’s also a smoking deck.
For information and assistance with events in New York, contact the city’s official convention bureau, NYC & Company, tel: 001 212 484 1200.
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, Summer 2007.