This past Bastille Day, instead of watching "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" and drinking a bottle of French wine, I headed out to Manhattan's Water Taxi Beach at South Street Seaport for 212 NYC's Summer Beach Party. There was certainly nothing French about the event, but it promised fully stocked bars, lots of food and a performance by Funk Master Flex and rapper Fabolous.
I spent the afternoon in my midtown office really excited about it -- but, when I arrived at 7:30, I was in a horrible mood. I don't know why. I'm always tired and stressed, but I'm usually in a good mood. I breezed right past the long line at the entrance and stepped into the sandy party scene. I went to the bar for water because I never want to drink when I'm in a bad mood. I heard from Ed Wise, VP of ad sales at Funny or Die and on the 212 board, that more than 1,300 people showed up -- which was great for 212, but bad when you are in line at the bar. I got my water and set off to mingle. Impossible. People everywhere. Then I remembered I was on the VIP list. After some confusion and whining and acting like a jerk on my part, I was in the VIP area. Full bar, food everywhere and no lines. My mood was lifting.
The weather was gorgeous: 70 degrees before sunset, not a cloud in sight. Brooklyn was in full view, its bridges were lit up and a cool breeze came in off the river -- a perfect evening for this event. Ed Wise and I talked about how crowded it was, and he told me the reason it was so hectic to get in: because a lot more people had shown up than expected, 70% coming from agencies and clients.
My pal Jocelyn Johnson of 5W was there with her boyfriend, and I joined them in making the mingling rounds. I didn't do much mingling, though because every corner I turned, there was more delicious food that had to be eaten. I was kicking up sand in my shoes and I didn't even care. As I was biting into a plate of ribs, I saw my friend Ben Matlin from DBG. It seems like we are always running into each other at parties. Turns out, we even went to college together in D.C. I said hi and then apologized for excusing myself to go finish my plate of ribs.
212 NYC is a nonprofit, volunteer program for professionals in the ad industry whose Web site says it's "New York's leading organization for the digital advertising industry, comprised of a membership of over 5,000 digital media, marketing and advertising professionals." That left me wondering how a nonprofit puts on such a fabulous, upscale event that draws such big acts. I turned to Tom Brown, director of sales with Orange Advertising Network, who serves on the board of directors for 212. He credited support from sponsors like MSN, Blinq, Metacafe, Akamai and Loud Network for putting on a party that was the largest in 212 ad club history.
The event was crawling with people from every agency in town, large and small. I stayed until the first act was over and caught a cab home to Brooklyn, belly full and mood lifted.
Thanks to NB TV Studio for the pictures!
Also, if you'd like me to come to your next party, email firstname.lastname@example.org!