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212 Summer Outing, South Street Seaport Water Taxi Beach, New York
July 15, 2010
I would bet my first 12 kids that the interactive ad industry in NYC falls into one of three groups today: the one nursing intense hangovers and career-threatening flashbacks, the one wondering why Chauncey showed up to his review smelling like a Bay Breeze, and the one wondering why everyone else is in such bad shape when you feel just fine, thank you very much. These emotions and physical distress can mean only one thing: 212, NYC's big ole advertising club, had one of their notorious blowouts.
I cringed a little when Josh Perkiel, Sale Director of ContextWeb, Inc, told me they were expecting 800 to 1,000 people at the Water Taxi Beach at South Street Seaport for their summer outing. I mean, the Seaport is iffy enough with all those publicly drunk tourists, but the thought of schmoozing in sand with nearly 1,000 interactive advertypes? Well, shiver me timbers on the poopdeck. But you know what, it was a beautiful summer night and the day I say I tire of gazing at the Brooklyn Bridge is the day you can eat my ear and call me Tyson. So here's to appreciating all that NYC has to offer.
I arrived in my big-girl shoes. Dumb move. See: sand. Back to flip-flops. Already I could see NYC's Interactive Advercrowd was growing, but not claustrophobically. My pear-shaped memory kicked in as the ghost of "party bus" whispered through my dented grey matter. Oh that's right, not only were guests already enjoying the open bar, but throughout the streets of New York lurked a party bus that was stopping at agency after agency for a trip around town before dumping the drunkards off at the beach. And let me tell you -- it was very obvious who came from the bus and who didn't.
The first group I met had to help me with my bracelet. Gil Larsen of Metacafe assembled my wristband while Henry Blechman of Metacafe ensured quality control. I then ran into a cluster of black polos with lime green writing - it was the Lotame posse including former MediaPost dude Jeremy Haft and Eric Porres, who you can often find on our OMMA Panels. They had a booth at the party as well, being sponsors and all. SmartBrief's Zack Rosenberg was there, hanging with the super-reflective Magnum P.I.-shaded Karin Hoesl from Mediashaker and Sari from Mediashaker. I also met Mike DeGennaro from Microsoft, Michael Adler from AC Lion, and Michelle Wright and Matt Barash from Fox.
Vevo had a VIP area roped off (velvet ropes in the sand, so odd!) where a band Charlene Jaszewski (@theredheadsaid) kept calling "The Biebers" were found on a couch. Those young whippersnappers were actually the Burnham Boys, who I have never heard of, but I've got a good 20 years on them, so yeah. Paper Tongues was slated to play that evening, so I may have seen them in the Vevo area, but I can't confirm.
Now let's talk about food, man!
There were juicy slabs of sloppy ribs, wrinkly, skinny hotdogs, sad squashed hamburgers, mountains of inhalable fries, not-your-granny's potato salad, normal salad, some sort of rice concoction, and every sort of condiment you could want to dress up your wiener or patty. The "baked" chicken seemed traumatized.
Speaking of traumatized, I was overhearing preludes to potential late-night train wrecks like...
"There are a bunch of young hussies here I've never seen before!" and...
"I am making out with someone tonight!" and ...
"I'm so @#%#$!# sick of cupcakes!!" and...
...not one, but two people proudly told the story (a story I think is just one of those ad industry urban legends) of a young lady new to the scene who may have overindulged at either a 212 event or similar and ended up mistaking herself for a toilet. This story being something I'm sure all mentors share with their new interns to plant the seed of future shame and social hermit-tude.
Don't worry, bosses, big bosses, VCs, and owners, it wasn't all just a big game of slap and tickle. Plenty of people were there just taking in the bridge, the sun, and the beach blanket bingo food. People like Dawn from Miniclip.com and Emily from RealAge. John Haake, head of marketing for the recently launched "smart platform for digital advertising," Turn, Inc., was there as well.
I met Matt Conlin, Roger Browne, and Marc Woody, all of Clash Media; Kiana Watson and Sarah Muir, both of Mindshare, both of whom I last saw on Top of the Rock; Ami Goodhart of Fox Interactive Media was talking to David Paschkes of Vevo.
A couple of really fun finds were Jordan Pique (you have to pronounce it Pee KAY!) from Buzzlogic, Christina Hagopian of Hagopian Ink, and my all-time favorite, kHyal of DesignerGrill.com. kHyal is the woman behind The Weather sKwirl, a little pink squirrely guy who stars in daily illustrative interpretations of the New York weather report. He's hot pink and adorable.
I left before the band hit the stage as I had a Nerf party to attend, but I'm pretty sure my camera's disappearance = job security for a lot of you. You're welcome.
Photos are up on Flickr! (tons more coming!)