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If some members of the media grumbled about their puny welcome to the Democratic National Convention in Boston (subpar sushi in a zeppelin hangar, according to a New York Times report), many more were grateful to the New York host committee for the gala media welcome for the Republican National Convention at the Time Warner Center. (Still, some jaded New Yorkers complained, dismissing the affair as a crowded mess in a retail space.) The host committee's Peter Kohlmann oversaw the event, working with more than 1,000 people to produce the party.
More than 6,000 guests from around the world ate, drank, and shopped under the roof of the massive complex, which includes a myriad of luxury restaurants, bars, and retail stores in a mall-like environment (mitigating culture shock for the non-New Yorkers in the crowd). The venue—moved from a Dumbo spot in Brooklyn after Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons convinced the committee with a big contribution—was a convenient location for high-level attendees who were headed to an event in honor of convention chair Bill Harris at the Mandarin Oriental New York hotel afterward. It's also a fully wired venue: Media service provider Mediascape has a studio in the center that can link to other media outlets without specially equipped trucks. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor George Pataki, and even fight promoter Don King made use of the second-story studio.
Guests strolled the massive complex, listening to music from gospel singers to a jazz quartet (most entertainers were booked through Michael Bongar Entertainment), and dining on copious food at 40 stations from Joseph's Citarella, cheesecake purveyor Junior's, Per Se, Osteria Del Circo, Oceo, Sushi Samba, and other local eateries. Mood Food Ltd. designed the menu, coordinated restaurants, and provided additional catering with the idea to bring together a wide variety of casual and high-end foods from all five boroughs and many different cultures. R Cano Events coordinated the staffing and rental equipment, contracting all rentals from Broadway Famous Party Rentals.
Event producer Matthew David Events provided the decor, creating a modern-looking lounge that featured relaxed seating and video screens showcasing Time Warner products and logos galore. For more branding, models in outfits made of Time Inc. magazine covers stood atop large pedestals also made of magazines. And for more New York flavor, Matthew David designed orange T-shirts with city-specific slogans
(“Center of the universe,” “Start spreading the news,” “You talking to me?” and multilevel trays covered in stretched fabric and topped with colorful maps of the city inspired by M.T.A. route maps. “Cosmopolitician,” anyone?
Photos courtesy of Matthew David Events