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Filtering by Tag: NYC

A Tale of Two Parties

Suzanne Pollak

I want to share the details of an unforgettable pair of parties I attended recently. Not to cause FOMO or to duplicate (impossible!) but to tell the tale of two grand hosts and perhaps reveal some of their trade secrets. These two are totally suis generis, never copying anyone, 100% marching to their own beat. Neither care about a party for a magazine shoot or aim to impress anyone they’ve never met. Rather, they want to spread the joy. And these ladies know how to have a ball at their own parties.

First, a white tie ball — an ephemeral, ethereal, exotic evening from another era. This was the type of party the very rich gave frequently in season at the turn of the century (not the turn in 2000, but the one in 1900!) Our host embraces an art of living which defines generosity, celebrations, and (it must be said) down-to-earthiness; even though nothing was down to earth about the fairytale ball to honor her granddaughter’s 18th birthday, except for the main course of braised short ribs and mashed potatoes. (The host didn’t want the usual filet.)

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The Setting: None other than the Plaza, a palace of yesteryear. The cocktail hour happened in a spectacular space with two photographers snapping away (which allowed guests to slip phones in pockets or purse and fully enjoy the moment) while we sipped cocktails (passed spicy margaritas, non-alcoholic lemony drink, and of course champagne, in addition to two large bars.) Then we ascended the grand marble staircase covered with cascading white flowers* into the golden ballroom before we had one too many sips and weaved and wobbled upstairs. Has anyone today mastered the ancient art of descending a staircase? No! It’s a lost art.

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*Unbelievably, all the flowers were thrown away the next morning for the Emmy after party the next night. Why does a party planner insist on such waste just to stamp his mark on a party, discarding spectacular, eight feet tall arrangements only 24 hours old? 

The Seating & Eating: Once in the ballroom, finding our table was a bit of a puzzle. The table numbers (in three dimensional brass) were hard to locate, peeking out from the elegant white floral centerpieces. The number placement was a great idea because first, instead of looking for numbers on flags high overhead (which spoil the magic because — hello — no one wants to see the working details of a party, we simply want to be enveloped by magic for a few hours and not wonder how this was all produced) and second, the mystery of finding your table made strangers connect, an opportunity to introduce yourself to others and ask fascinating strangers for help. Two hundred people seating themselves takes time, but finally we sat, we feasted, we even consumed  three desserts on one plate. Why? Because our host couldn’t decide which dessert the Plaza chef presented at a pre-tasting she preferred. When in doubt, choose YES!

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The Dress: It must be said that white tie looks marvelous on men. White tie can be rented because who born after 1900 has a white tie hanging in their closet? White tie is a different uniform than a tuxedo. The tie, jacket, and shirt are unique. Yes, the jacket has tails! 

The Band: A 25-piece band and who among us has seen a 25-piece band since Barry White died? Just saying… 

The Extras: Dancers to add glitz and glamor. Six dazzling women dressed in beaded 1920’s style dresses, six movie star-looking men in tails, leaping and spinning the girls around the room. You could lose your bearings watching and begin to imagine whirling like that yourself. And, since the band read a crowd like bands did back in the day, the music called us to our feet. With a partner or without, everyone between the ages 18 to 85 everyone got the call. Dancing in a pair or solo makes no difference in the 2000’s.

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OOPS: The only thing the 18-year-olds didn’t like was having to show ID cards to get a drink. No drinks for that crowd. But the 18-year-olds will never ever see anything like this again in their lifetime so who cares about a drink when they were privileged enough to experience an evening from another era? They have a story to tell their grandchildren in 2060.

The Welcome: The host herself greeted everyone briefly from the middle of the dance floor, explaining that some of the guests were at her own coming out party 63 years ago! Imagine! This means the guest list spanned three generations, maybe four. That range alone creates magic. 

The After Party: The Dean was invited (one of the cousins slipped me an invitation) but sadly I was too tired to attend. Bad decision on my part!

The Day After Party: An aunt of the granddaughter hosted a goodbye brunch at her house. We rehashed details of the previous night, relaxed, refueled, said our goodbyes until next time, until we realized there is no next time. The era is over…. 

Notes from the Rainbow Room, for VIE Magazine

Suzanne Pollak

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Looking for a reason to travel? If an epic blowout at NYC's legendary Rainbow Room isn't on your calendar this Spring, make a date with friends in a city you've never been to and live it up anyway! For three or 300, Suzanne tells how to make any destination event memorable in the latest issue of VIE Magazine.

Read the full article HERE...

Swanky Soirée

Suzanne Pollak

One of Dean Pollak's favorite friends could be the coolest woman in the world. She should be Head Dean of the Academy, but her life is too full and she doesn’t have time to share her secrets. Luckily for you, the current Dean does have the time and is willing to pull back the curtain on this doyenne's latest extravaganza: a white tie ball held in one of New York's grandest party spaces, the recently redone Rainbow Room in honor of the host's granddaughter.

The room is the talk of the town, and this party will be the talk of generations to come. No detail was too tiny for this party genius, and not one of those details was over the top. Our lady has perfect pitch -- from drawing up multi-generational guest lists, seating guests so each feels thrilled, to timing, pace, arrangements, music content and volume, food and drink, and every single particular in between -- each detail woven together to envelop everyone in a web of fantasy for one wonderful night. 

Flower arrangements as big as buildings...

Flower arrangements as big as buildings...

Chandeliers raining down crystals and music for every moment: string instruments to set the mood during cocktails, allowing all ages to chatter...

Chandeliers raining down crystals and music for every moment: string instruments to set the mood during cocktails, allowing all ages to chatter...

A 22-piece band (yes, you read that correctly) seamlessly segueing into dance tunes while eight pros twirled their partners, like magnets, pulling guests from dinner tables onto the revolving floor... 

A 22-piece band (yes, you read that correctly) seamlessly segueing into dance tunes while eight pros twirled their partners, like magnets, pulling guests from dinner tables onto the revolving floor... 

Spinning so slowly, like an old-fashioned LP, that at first the Dean wondered,  Am I tipsy? Is there really magic in the world? Can I cover a dance floor so expertly? No! It’s the moving floor!

Spinning so slowly, like an old-fashioned LP, that at first the Dean wondered, Am I tipsy? Is there really magic in the world? Can I cover a dance floor so expertly? No! It’s the moving floor!

The Deb. and accompanying rappers whooped it up in the middle of the crowded dance floor, hours and hours after start time.

The Deb. and accompanying rappers whooped it up in the middle of the crowded dance floor, hours and hours after start time.

Some nights should never end!