No Glitz for Ritz Launch

February 5, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

At the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park's opening party, James Parker of Veggy Art carved turnips into decorative roses for the moo shu buffet station.

Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park opening party Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park Tuesday, 01.29.02, 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
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You could tell it was a brand-new hotel just by the demeanor of the staff: They were polite, helpful and even perky, an attitude that lacked the jadedness of most large hotel veterans. Following an afternoon opening ceremony with Mayor Bloomberg and the press, the brand-new Ritz-Carlton New York -- Battery Park threw a no-fuss evening party to market its event capabilities to event and meeting planners, travel industry execs and other corporate clients.

The simple event--no W-style naked models or exotic dancers--was a sure sign that the hotel is serious about triumphing a mere five blocks from ground zero. The hotel opened its second-floor ballrooms and meeting spaces for guests to mingle and sample the food. And it turns out that guests weren't packing into the elevators to take a look at the guest rooms: There's a view of the World Trade Center site from the 30th-floor gym.

But back to the party: The Ritz paired the food with a pleasing display of table decor. A moo shu station was decorated with an arrangement of rutabaga carved into the shapes of giant white roses from fruit and vegetable carver James Parker of Veggy Art. Parker also carved a large display of mixed veggies, which stood next to a giant raw bar sculpted of ice and decorated with the Ritz's signature lion heads. Small plates of.phparagus risotto (which was a tad undercooked) with scallops were set atop tall beds of wheatgrass. A decadent display of desserts was decorated with chocolate and sugar sculptures by Ritz pastry chef Henri Masterov, and blocks of bittersweet chocolate were scattered next to trays of mini fruit tarts, chocolate mousse, lemon meringue tarts and other sweet indulgences.

The rest of the second floor meeting rooms were similarly decked out. One room offered two takes on the banquet table: A classically decorated wedding table was laden with white and silver table linens and an elegant centerpiece of white orchids. A more modern display featured a family-style lunch table with plates of food set atop a lazy Susan.

--Suzanne Ito

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