It was perhaps the least surprisingor suspensefulannouncement of the night when Travel & Leisure editor Nancy Novogrod and publisher Ellen Asmodeo revealed that New York City was voted the World's Best U.S. City in the magazine's seventh annual reader poll. After all, the country's post-September 11 love-fest with the city is still going strong. (And besides, New York won last year, too.)
With the U.S.'s best city hosting the awards presentation and cocktail reception, the event needed an appropriate venue. (Last year's party was at Gracie Mansion.) Travel & Leisure's director of creative projects, Laura Aviva, chose the Four Seasons Restaurant. “It's so quintessentially New York,” she says. (It's also Novogrod's favorite event venue.)
The event began with cocktails around the bar, followed by a brief--but not too brief--awards presentation in the grill room, with Fox 5's Dave Price cracking jokes as M.C.
After the presentation, guests moved into the restaurant's pool room, which was decorated with simple touches that didn't take away from the room's grand design or the palm trees and hanging ferns. Tables were covered with silver raw silk cloth and topped with green votive candles, and designer John Nyomarkay from Pulp Design created a mobile with red compass-shaped pieces hanging from the ceiling over the room's pool. Thanks to New York's drought-related water restrictions, the restaurant couldn't fill the pool with water, so Aviva and Nyomarkay decided to cover it with mirrored tiles.
If the d?cor was understated elegance, the food was over-the-top. A long buffet table practically groaned under the weight of a raw bar, plus stations with sushi, rack of lamb, filet of beef, crab cakes, salmon and various side dishes. And for those who didn't want to wait in the buffet line, waiters passed trays of hors d'oeuvres to guests who were swaying to the sounds of DJ Shark and a trio of bongo-drumming friends, who provided a fun, energetic alternative to straight DJ music.
Read our coverage of last year's awards...