Posted September 1, 2004, 12:00 AM EDT
While protesters swarmed the streets and Republican National Convention delegates belittled their opponents, some big-name pols and media types took a break from the heat and relaxed at a cocktail reception in the brand-new Jazz at Lincoln Center inside the Time Warner Center (which hosted the RNC media welcome party two days earlier). Hosted by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times, guests such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mario Cuomo, and Tina Brown were given the opportunity to see the Frederick P. Rose Hall before its official opening in October. The event was managed by Elizabeth Holland and Tammy Restuccia from The Times and a team from the Steffan Group, headed by owner Vince Steffan.
Using only two of seven spaces, the party let guests mingle in the theatrical-style Allen Room while others relaxed in the low-key lounge area of the Jazz Atrium. And they had plenty to nibble on—the venue's exclusive caterer, Great Performances, put together a menu inspired by New York neighborhoods, with shrimp shooters with spicy cocktail sauce representing the Fulton Fish Market, grilled vegetable antipasti for Little Italy, and potato pancakes for the Lower East Side.
Decor was simple but colorful, keeping all eyes on the spectacular views of Central Park out of a 50- by 90-foot glass wall in the Allen Room. DeJuan Stroud hung paper chandeliers from the ceiling and decorated the tabletops with bouquets of flowers and candles.
Three jazz bands supplied the entertainment, which was more of a subtle backdrop than a focused performance. And lest the invitees forget the hosts, the New York Times' name was everywhere—decorating the covered walkway that led to the first space, written on the tall vibrantly colored Lucite pedestals (designed by Stroud), adorning the surface of the bar, and printed on the napkins.
Security, though, was unexpectedly inconspicuous. Unlike the groups of police officers roaming Manhattan and the state troopers stationed around the city, GSS Security Services' team (no larger or smaller than normal) was quietly positioned so as not to distract guests. Although the long list of attendees weighed heavy with big-name hotshots, GSS had no difficulties safeguarding the entrance as traffic and the RNC travel restrictions meant people filtered in slowly rather than all at once.