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NEW YORK Magazine publishers have often been the style setters of the event, conference and trade show world, and it wasn't surprising that the Magazine Publishers of America was one of the first groups to move an event to New York. Shifting its annual magazine industry gathering, the American Magazine Conference, from Phoenix to Manhattan was a great way to show support for the city, and it allowed the large number of magazine industry folks based in New York to stay close to home during an extremely important news time.
The conference's opening reception, held at the ballroom of the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, was a subdued, appropriate gathering for the magazine community, as well as a victory for NYC & Company, the New York convention and visitors bureau, who worked hard to assist the magazine publishers with their move. The highlight of the evening was an appearance by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who gave his standard remarks to an enthusiastic audience. Mayoral candidates Mark Green and Mike Bloomberg also came to work the crowd and campaign.
Traditionally many of the conference participants attend dinners held by the industry's investment bankers (or brokers), and this year there were a pair of those dinners, one French and one Russian. The Jordan Edmiston Group's Wilma Jordan invited 60 guests to a private dinner at the Russian Tea Room, and Admedia Partner's Mark Edmiston (formerly of Jordan Edmiston) and Rob Garrett held a soiree for 66 at La Cote Basque. (Reed Phillips of DeSilva and Phillips, another magazine investment bank, decided to donate what he would have spent on a dinner to a disaster relief fund, and another major investment bank, Veronis Suhler, decided to forgo a dinner this year as well.)
Attendees at the La Cote Basque event entered through an office entrance to reach the second floor event room, where a light and airy fresco feeling showcased the elegant feel of the famous restaurant below. Both the quality of the food and the presentation lived up to the La Cote Basque standards. The starter course of terrine de legumes au fromage blanc on an elegant china even complimented the ambiance of the room. The keynote speaker for the evening was William Reilly, former chairman and CEO of Primedia (and one of BiZBash's investors), who spoke about his plans for his new media company, Aurelian Communications.
Over at the Russian Tea Room, guests who attended the Jordan Edmiston Group dinner took the elevator to the fourth floor, where cocktails took place in Balcony Room, which dramatically opened to the Hearth and Empire Rooms for the actual dinner. Wilma Jordan, a well-known magazine industry impresario, graciously introduced Steve Murphy, the new President and COO of Rodale, who spoke about how Rodale is surviving in the new publishing realities and also about their latest magazine, Organic Style. Everyone had a main course of herb-crusted salmon, with the exception of Jordan's husband, George Green, who was able to wrangle a Russian Tea Room classic of Chicken Kiev. Jordan Edmiston's Claudia Flowers and Russian Tea Room sales manager Junnette Brinas-Latham were juggling name cards up until the last minute.