Anna's NYC Bat Mitzvah at Chelsea Piers
About a year ago, we were contacted by a fabulous mom, Amy, on the Upper East Side, looking to throw her daughter an amazing Bat Mitzvah. This celebration is a rite of passage in the Jewish tradition, in which a child becomes an adult in the eyes of the community. While LMP had never been involved in planning one before, we were certainly up for the challenge. The thing about Bar/Bat Mitzvahs in NYC is they can be so over-the-top, sometimes disconnected from the tradition they are celebrating. Amy knew she wanted to throw a fantastic and unique event, without going overboard. So we got our thinking caps on, and got to work.
At first, we loved the idea of having the party in a fabulous night-club. Because most night-clubs don't open to the public until around 11pm, they will often allow private parties from about 7-10:30 on weekend nights, which was perfect for this age group. We would bring in Pop Burger for dinner, creating individual "happy meals" for each of the kids. For drinks, the bartender would be making and serving "mocktails" just like they were in a real club. We also loved the idea of filling the ceiling with hundreds of balloons, and of course creating a signature LMP dessert table. The ideas of extras were endless, from photo booths to inspirational dancers, and everything in between. We were all getting very excited about how it was coming together....but there was one problem...Anna wasn't feeling it. And if the guest of honor wasn't excited then we knew it was time for a new and fresh idea.
After several weeks of venue research and scouting, Amy called us early one morning with a fabulous idea. Anna loves sports, and loves soccer...so why not host the event at Chelsea Piers Field House. For anyone who has never been there, it is an incredible venue located on the Hudson River in Manhattan. The 80,000-square-foot Field House at Chelsea Piers, Manhattan's premier facility for gymnastics, team sports and league play, explodes with activity day and night. This was going to be the perfect venue for Anna's Bat Mitzvah.
Once the venue was chosen, the planning began. The party would be broken into two parts...sports & color-war in the beginning and then a fabulous dance party until the end of the night. Jason, our main man and DJ extraordinaire from Generation Events suggested we have the dance party right on the 2nd soccer field...Genius. This way the kids could move seamlessly from one half of the party to the next. And any kids not interested in dancing would still have the opportunity to continue playing on any of the other fields or courts.
We began setting up our "club" by renting white sleek lounge furniture from NY Lounge Decor who were instrumental in building the perfect layout. Using curved sofas, LED side tables and over-sized leather ottomans, we created an inviting and "cool" space surrounding the dance floor. The LED DJ booth was perfect for Jason to set up his equipment on. Surrounding the DJ Booth, Jason brought in two towers with tons of lighting and two huge flat screens for the kids to watch a video montage on, later in the evening. The setup was coming together perfectly.
Because the party was sports related, Amy loved the idea of doing personalized lacrosse pinnies as a favor, which would also help out when breaking the kids up into teams later in the night. We hung them on the chain link fence so as kids arrived they could find their name and put on their pinnie. Check these out, they turned out great!! The talented Raquel Bianca designed these pinnies, along with all of the invitations for this big day.
Now...let's talk food...you can't have a party with 85 thirteen year olds, without having tons of food. And what kid doesn't love pizza!? Ray's Pizza came in and the kids had their choice of 30 different specialty pies, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, Caesar salad and penne pomodoro. It was quite a spread which we set up buffet style so there was food available all night long, which everyone certainly took advantage of. We added an LMP touch with bamboo plates and cutlery and array of pink and black napkins. We set the cutlery in clear glass cubes filled with hot pink M&Ms and also set out some simple white and pink flowers. It was just enough to spruce up the food table. Chelsea Piers set up huge beverage coolers throughout the venue, each stocked with sodas, water, and Powerade.
Once everyone had their fill of pizza and pasta, it was time for dessert. We tried to keep the desserts a surprise, only to be revealed when they entered the 2nd soccer fields for the dance party...but the ridiculously amazing aromas from our desserts were simply too strong to hide! Food trucks are huge in NYC so we hired the team from Wafel and Dinges, a wildly popular dessert truck featuring homemade waffles, to come in and cater dessert. The kids (and adults!) were in heaven. Literally the minute we opened the gates to the 2nd soccer field, a line of 40-50 people formed immediately. It was insane. They just couldn't get enough of the delicious and warm waffles with decadent toppings. Dessert truck #1 was a hit.
In addition to waffles, we thought the kids would also love ice cream. Cool Haus, a famous ice cream truck originating in LA, features made-to-order ice cream sandwiches served in edible wrappers, with a choice of five artisan cookies and five homemade ice creams for guests to mix and match. We were able to personalize the edible wrappers with Anna's initials, as an extra personal touch. Dessert truck #2 -- also a hit! It didn't take long for some kids to discover they should be combining the two desserts, taking scoops of Cool Haus ice cream to put on top of their "hot off the griddle" waffles. Mmmm...I wish I had thought of that!! Doesn't mean I didn't indulge :) These two treats insanely were hard to resist.
Cheslea Piers did an incredible job of organizing activities throughout the night. For the first hour, everyone was allowed "free-play" where they had the use of the entire facility, including batting cages, basketball and even gymnastics. The 10 year old in me secretly wanted to jump into the giant ball pit! During the second hour, The 16 coaches broke the kids into teams where color-war began. The teams competed in jousting, soccer, capture the flag and even an 85 person tug of war. Of course our girl, and favorite photographer Raquel Bianca was there, capturing all of these amazing shots of Anna in action!! As soon as the winners were announced, they were off and ready for dance party to begin.
Jason and his team of motivation dancers did an amazing job of keeping everyone excited and energetic. On the dance-floor they were given tons of favors including boas and light up rings/glasses. Anyone showing off some crazy dance moves were given iTunes and Jamba Juice gift cards. Off the dance floor we set up a photo booth where the kids had silly props and backgrounds to choose from. There was never a dull moment! Ali and I even got in on the action, and snapped a few funny pictures of our own.
On their way out, the kids stopped by a table where Vince from The Art of Air, had airbrushed personalized hats which they signed up for on their way in. How cool is he?? Loved his work...he was amazing and the kids were super excited as they left.
Not bad for a Saturday night, right?? It was a blast from start to finish, and we could tell everyone truly enjoyed themselves. A success in our book! Congratulations Anna, we loved being a part of your special day...
All photos courtesy of Raquel Bianca