A New Year’s Eve to RememberNovember 30, 2011 By: Alissa Ponchione
As tradition dictates, when it comes to New Year’s Eve in New York City, people rush to Times Square to see the ball drop. However, for local New Yorkers and tourists visiting the Big Apple, there are alternatives outside the New Year’s Eve norm.
The Campbell Apartment, the restored private office of 20th century financier John W. Campbell turned upscale cocktail lounge in Grand Central Station, will have guests traveling back in time to another era while ringing in a new one.
The New Year’s celebration is a black-tie-optional affair from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Dec. 31 and harkens back the ‘20s and ‘30s, when parties were intimate, private affairs. Guests can choose between a $200 per-person bar package that includes a premium open bar and a Champagne toast at midnight or the $300 VIP package with table seating and a bottle of Moet & Chandon Champagne per couple. Everyone will enjoy hors d’ouervres, party favors and desserts throughout the night, as well as Prohibition-era cocktails from the Campbell Apartment drinks menu.
Planning an event of this caliber isn’t easy, especially when it’s the first of its kind. Usually for New Year’s Eve, “we normally book the Campbell Apartment for private events and such,” explains Kenneth McClure, general manager and vice president of Hospitality Holdings, but this year, customers convinced McClure and his team to create an elegant affair for the festive holiday.
“We’ve been getting a lot of interest from hotels in the area — from people looking for a quintessential New York experience,” McClure says. “A lot of guests are loyal Campbell Apartment devotees and our out-of-town guests are booking with various hotels [in the area].”
Because securing the entertainment often is the biggest obstacle when it comes to planning a New Year’s Eve event, McClure and his team began planning in mid-to-late summer, which is why they were able to get The Michael Arenella Quartet, a band that performs Jazz-age standards form the ‘20s and ‘30s.
With music to set the mood, as well as drinks and food on the menu, McClure said the ultimate goal is to transport guests to another time when people got dressed up and enjoyed a lavish night out.
“There’s not going to be loud DJs. It’s more upscale and sophisticated than most parties,” McClure says. “The good thing about this party is it’s going to be intimate,” especially when the venue is limited to 100-guest capacity.
With a direct and email marketing campaign underway, as well as listings in local New York publications, McClure is confident the event will sell out, but he’s more concerned about guest experience.
“At the end of the day, if you’re making money and not making the customers happy, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve lost,” he says. “Giving [the guest] the greatest experience is more important or as important as making a profit. “
“It’s the real, quintessential old New York experience,” McClure explains. “It’s ringing in the New Year from another era. It’s really harping on the glorious soirees of the past. That’s the theme we want to put on for our New Year’s,” and with its throwback drinks menu and chic atmosphere, the Campbell Apartment undoubtedly will cultivate those unforgettable New Year’s Eve moments in a city know for them.