Despite Occupy Wall Street demonstrators outside—and the controversial arrest of author and contributor Naomi Wolf—the Huffington Post soiree at Skylight SoHo continued unfettered October 18, bringing some of the biggest names in politics, media, entertainment, and business downtown to mark the 2011 list of 100 Game Changers. While the assembly outside was hoping to draw attention to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's refusal to extend the “millionaire's tax,” inside AOL was looking to underscore its commitment to sustainability, employing recycled elements in the decor and locally sourced items in the night's menu.
In contrast to last year's multicolored, prop-focused look, event producer David Stark fashioned a more streamlined design, complementing the gathering's switch in layout from 2010's open, networking reception to a less casual seated awards ceremony. The focal point of the cocktail area was a large sign in the shape of the number 100, a structure embedded with discarded chips and circuit boards from electronic devices. The façade of the bars also featured electronic waste scraps, pieces that were later placed recycled. To further highlight the integration of computer hardware into the decor, the floor was illuminated with circuit board-shaped projections.
On the catering side, Creative Edge's menu featured products and produce sourced from local farms. This included a spread of cheese from dairies in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont as well as a carving station with meat, poultry, and fish sourced locally and accompanied by sauce using Hudson Valley ricotta, pesto made with basil grown in Brooklyn, and apples from New York state.
The award ceremony was a straightforward affair, bringing presenters like NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, Glamour editor in chief Cindi Levine, and director Nora Ephron to the stage to announce the honorees.