More New York Events Cancelled in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

By Anna Sekula November 5, 2012, 2:44 PM EST

The New York Public Library canceled this year's Library Lions gala as a result of Hurricane Sandy's impact on the city. The organization's major fund-raiser has, in previous years, seen Fifth Avenue's Stephen A. Schwarzman building lavishly decorated for some 500 guests; the 2012 event was to honor Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Baryshnikov among others,

Photo: BizBash

With electricity returned to most of the city and many of the subway lines in service, New York is getting back on its feet just a week after Hurricane Sandy hit. Still, the super storm's impact on the event and meeting industry continues, with events like the ING New York City Marathon cancelled as late as Friday evening.

For some planners, cancellations and postponements were the result of damage to their host venue as well as power outage issues that prevented producers from setting up. “Without power, we have not been able to make preparations for the evening, and at this point we simply can't be sure that the building will be safe and ready on Monday to accommodate guests,” said the New York Public Library's president and C.E.O., Anthony W. Marx, in a letter sent on Friday to guests of the Library Lions gala scheduled to take place on Monday night. “Further, with so many New Yorkers in need right now, we are also exploring how to put the food from our gala to good use.”

Venue and vendor closures also impacted the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation's 10th anniversary gala, slated for Thursday, November 8, at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers, and New York magazine's New York Taste, a food event that was to take place at the Waterfront in west Chelsea. In a post on its food blog, Grub Street, the magazine explained the cancellation of its November 5 affair was due to “storm-related difficulties presented to both the venue and participating chefs,” and, given “logistical constraints,” rescheduling the affair for later this year wasn't possible.

The hurricane's aftermath has also presented some issues for the retail and fashion industry, especially those with shows and presentations planned for Market Week in New York. On Friday morning production company EventStyle got the go-ahead from a client for an event this week only to have that decision reversed later in the day. The about-face forced the company, which was already scrambling to outsource orders to vendors unaffected by the storm, to scrap plans at the last minute.

Despite this, some events are going on as scheduled, including the New York Comedy Festival (which runs November 7 through 11); Ad:Tech; the International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show; the A.L.S. Association of Greater New York's Lou Gehrig Sports Award benefit; and Planner Tech, a technology showcase for the event industry.

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