Seventy years young…a “loft chic” celebration
It’s no secret that we love a good party…especially one that celebrates 70 years of fabulous! A few weeks ago we designed and planned a 70th birthday soiree for a fabulous client named Asher. It all started in a raw loft in the East 40s….
In NYC, a “raw” loft space or party space is one that is completely empty and able to be transformed by bringing in everything – All furniture, tables, chairs, dishes, plates, etc. It is literally a blank canvas. When we walked into this raw space on East 45th Street, we were shocked to see there were no walls, outlets, or even lights of any kind! Wow, was this raw !! Over the next few weeks we helped crews determine where to put in all electrical outlets, how to string up the fantastic bulb lights we bought and even brought in a professional lighting company to add strategic spot lights around the space… Once the walls were up and painted white, the concrete floor was sealed and the bulb lights were strung, it was time to get to work finalizing our design for this fabulous event. Here is a before and after shot!
Asher wanted a casual party, but still one that people would be talking about for weeks to come. He is known for his past milestone birthday parties, which he throws every 5 years, the previous one being held at the iconic Katz’s deli and even featured Cirque De Soleil performers…wow, pretty impressive! Our immediate thought when discussing casual food options was the ever popular trend of food trucks. In almost every big city across the country, The Food Truck revolution has taken the food industry by storm, and even made its way to reality TV. In NYC, the best food trucks have a cult following and are now being seen everywhere from weddings to huge corporate events. We sought out the best of the best, and brought them in to serve our “dinner course” to guests. The variety and selections were amazing. As guests arrived, they were greeted with sparkling wine & water along with Thai Chicken dumplings and Vegetarian Edamame dumplings from Rickshaw Dumpling.
Once guests had a glass of bubbly in hand and had a chance to mingle, we “opened” the food stations for dinner service. Guests went from station to station, sampling the many different offerings. We had Shrimp and Lobster rolls from Luke’s Lobster; Alabama BBQ chicken tacos, brisket sliders and quite possibly the most amazing green chile mac n cheese I have ever tasted in my life from Mexicue; a braised short rib sandwich, vegetarian local grilled portabella mushroom sandwich and side of homemade coleslaw from Home by the Range; chicken & shrimp skewers and Greek salad from Soulvaki GR; and a Farm stand with two farm-to-table salads plus a grilled veggie kebob station from our friends at Cobblestone Catering. These food vendors were all amazing; every single thing I tasted was absolutely delicious. And what a fun way for guests to eat dinner! A truly unique experience. NYers are definitely addicted to lobster rolls because the long line at the Luke’s Lobster station was consistent the entire evening! Those girls certainly worked their tails off.
In addition to the food, we also asked each food vendor to “set up” their food station with items consistent with the culture and feeling of their cuisine. It was amazing to see the end result — each so unique and creative. Each station was not only visually appealing but helped guests get a sense of what type or style of food they were going to be eating. We also added a chalkboard to each station so guests could see the menu before ordering. Because the space was so raw and white, we were able to bring in our favorite airbrush artist Vince Harris, of the Art of Air to work his magic. We wanted him to airbrush each food vendors logo on the walls behind them, but spice it up a little…the result was better than we could’ve imagined! Check out these food stations, they really turned out fabulous. The airbrushing was the perfect way to tie it all together.
In keeping with the loft chic vibe we decided to forgo the typical round banquet table with white linen and instead rented these fantastic acrylic tables along with industrial metal chairs. We loved how they literally just disappeared into the space. Set out on top of each table was a red lacquer tray topped with a sleek white vase filled with flowers and some votives. Some tables also had a modern candelabra, which brought some warm lighting to the room. Simple and elegant, exactly what we were going for.
We made use of every inch of the space, so in the nook by the windows we set out a lounge area complete with contemporary white couches, ottomans and even a neon “LOUNGE” sign hanging overhead. The fully stocked bar was set up across the room and also had a neon sign hung above. Gorgeous!
Asher is known for showcasing some very unique entertainment at his parties, and this party was no different! The fun started as soon as guests arrived; greeting them in the freight elevator as they entered from the street was fabulous music by the a cappella group known as Vocal Heights. An awesome way to welcome guests! Right before dinner was served, Asher introduced the next entertainer by the name of Caleb Teicher – a brilliantly talented tap dancer. The crowd absolutely loved his performances…check out these action shots!
To entertain guests throughout the evening, David Schwartz walked around dazzling people with his unbelievable magic tricks. I actually saw him cut a whole lemon in half and pull out a $20 bill that Asher had written his name on 2 minutes previously! It was insane. Guests were definitely wondering “how did he do that?” all night long. Last, but certainly not least, Lonnie Youngblood…aka the Prince of Harlem…and his band rocked the dance floor with their soulful music all night. There was certainly no shortage of great entertainment at this party!
We stationed dessert with some of NYC most delicious sweets. Assorted mini cheesecakes from Eileen’s were an instant hit. There are no calories if it’s mini, right?? We also had brownie bites and some fruit, but nothing could compete with the decadence of the Levain Bakery cookies. There are no words except ‘mouth-watering.’ These cookies are hands down the best I have ever had. Ever. I am not sure how they do it, but they are insanely good. And they should be for $4/pop!! Do yourself a favor and go there an try for yourself…you will not be disappointed, I can promise you that.
It was such a pleasure to work with Asher and Enid on this special event. Happy 70th Asher…we will see you for your 75th!!
All photos by Raquel Bianca