Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Real "Oldest Bar in New York City" Might Have Been Found by "Goodfellas"

Have friends or colleagues told you to get a beer at McSorley's in the East Village when you visit Manhattan? Or maybe you have done it yourself on a previous trip.

That's because it's the oldest bar in New York City, right? It's looking like that's wrong.

The Queens Historical Society says it has found a drinking venue, still in operation, that first opened in 1829. That's 30 years earlier than McSorley's. First known as the Old Blue Pump House, it was once a watering hole for Mae West. It's current proprietor is a FDNY lieutenant. He has refinished the old mahogany bar and even fixed the original tap.

But that's not all. This venue was scene of the legendary post-Luftansa heist party in the movie "Goodfellas."

We have blogged about the popularity of craft beer and distillery tours as a unique off-site event for your destination corporate meeting attendees. We can now a little twist of history and cinematic greatness!

Event Menus and After-Hours Dining: Try a New Twist on Fusion

With the explosive growth in Asian Fusion, chefs in New York City are trying versions that have are including Chinese-Mexican tapas and Mexican dim-sum. Additionally, one of the most successful fusion venues in New York, Mama Sushi, is expanding into new locations throughout the city. We would equate it to a mix of Dominican cuisine and your favorite sushi roll!

Shhh! Book an Artistic Secret Room for Corporate Events

Some of the best event venues in New York are under-the-radar. Others have taken it to a new (or should we say quieter) level. That's because they are secret.

Our favorite in Manhattan is a secret room behind a rotating bookcase. Located in a very trendy hotel, this event venue provides meeting planners with plenty of space for live entertainment and increasingly fresh, original art throughout the space.

It's just another angle on a trend where experiential art is the kind of decor destination meeting attendees seek because it fits their personal senses of style.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Make Your Corporate Meeting a Lifesaver for Innocent Dogs

Your CSR program can do more than just give back. It can give new leases on life to rescue dogs.

That is exactly what is going on in New York City, and your destination corporate meeting attendees can be a part of one of the most rewarding experiences in their lives. We have developed relationships with some really incredible people and accredited non-profits who are rescuing dogs from kill shelters all over the US, fostering them here in NYC, and finding new homes for them locally and with one program, in France.

Your meeting doesn't necessarily have worry about physically fostering dogs because the process is so complex that it really takes an entire team of people to help with crates, food, doggie sweaters, walks, veterinary paperwork, and coordinating adoptions on Facebook. The process can last just a few days or can continue when your attendees return home.

One person in our office recently participated in a rescue that included short-notice coordination with international flight attendants at JFK. While transporting 3 chihuahuas to adoptive homes near Paris, it got wild when shrink-wrapped crates had to be assembled within 5 minutes to get the dogs on the plane. And it obviously takes more than one person to keep them calm when the TSA makes you take the all the crates apart minutes after you get the dogs settled in them.

Worth every second of chaos!

Put Down the NYC Rooftop Cocktail and Pick up a Spear Instead

Most business travelers and corporate meeting attendees tell us that they specifically look for hotels with gyms that fit their lifestyles. But what if your lifestyle is trending a little Spartan?

We found a workout and potential team-building venue that is training people of all shapes and sizes for Spartan races. The sport exploded in 2012, and is expected to attract one million competitors in 2015. The challenge, of course, is being able to practice any of the extreme race requirements in a major city.

Now you can. We bet that at least one of your millennial destination meeting attendees has either competed in an extreme race or is thinking about it.

The workout includes circuit training, squats, burpees, and amazingly, spear-throwing on the rooftop. Not something you can say someone can do everyday on a rooftop in NYC!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Corporate Galas and Events: Fall in Love With Falling Off the Bone

One of the hottest and tastiest menu items you can offer at corporate gala is short ribs. Chefs in New York City are finding new ways to serve it, and we would argue it has become the equivalent of hand-crated beer for foodies.

If you are a meeting planner with an international group coming to New York, experiencing the creativity behind some of the best short ribs is really an experience that is most unique in the United States.

Short ribs are made from large, lean meaty ribs, are braised, and then slow-cooked for hours so they fall off the bone when you eat them. Some of our favorite versions we are seeing are fettuccine short ribs, short ribs mixed with mushrooms and Holsin or Guinness, short-rib and potato pizza, and of course, the traditional southwestern-style version.

Short ribs are also incredibly versatile with wine and beerpairings, so your attendees will be able to customize the dinner's complete experience!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sweeten Your Destination Corporate Meetings with Rugelach

They are not overly sweet, have centuries of urban legend surrounding them, and have mostly ended the recent insanity of people over cupcakes and macaroons in New York.

Try serving rugelach at your next destination corporate meeting. With a crackly exterior and a soft, sugary, buttery, and nutty interior, attendees will find them perfect in every way.  There is one NYC venue in particular that is considered the Rolls Royce of rugelach, and quite frankly, many locals think it is the best bakery in America.

Here's the best part. They will deliver directly to your meeting!

The history of rugelach, which is most notably served on Jewish holidays, is similar to the French croissant. Or is it? While many believe both treats emerged around the Battle of Vienna in 1683, there is an urban legend that both the rugelach and its supposed ancestor, the Kipferl, pre-date the Early Modern era, while the croissant in its modern form did not originate earlier than the 19th century.

So what's exactly inside rugelach? Your attendees can choose from fillings that include raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, chocolate, poppy seed and fruit preserves. .

A Corporate Teambuilding and Cocktail Party Idea to Get Stoked About!

Whether it is "sick", "rad", "gnar", or just really fun to do or watch, skateboarding is getter bigger than ever in New York, even after we first blogged about it last year.

If you are wondering how anyone could possibly skate anywhere when it is 21 degrees outside with occasional chance of snow, we have found the answer at a new event venue in Brooklyn that pushes the envelope with an indoor skating park.

If your destination meeting group is full of millennials, they now have an awesome team-building and after-hours idea where the season if irrelevant.  If your attendees simply want a cocktail party idea where they can be wowed, skaters from all over New York drop in every day and pull off some really amazing tricks.

You'll be stoked!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Alexander Hamilton Becomes a Hip-Hop Mogul on Broadway

With Presidents Day in the U.S. only 6 days away, the Founding Father that is the talk of New York is Alexander Hamilton. And he wasn't a President!

But Hamilton is a hot ticket for the Off-Broadway production named after him. Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, the production has one very unusual the twist. It's hip-hop! And if you think some of the most recognizable names on Broadway would thumb their noses at "Hamilton", think again. Andrew Lloyd Weber, who himself transformed Broadway's look and sound, tweeted: "Just seen #Hamilton, it raises & changes the bar for musical. Brilliant lyrics, staging, cast. Creator/les @Lin_Manuel is special. ALW."

Shackman Associates New Yok provides unique Broadway experiences to corporate meeting, association convention, and destination incentive attendees that have included backstage tours and interaction with key performers.

Monday, February 09, 2015

After-Hours at Destination Meetings: Tapas Come "Marcha" In

Whether you call them "small plates" or the more "old-school" label, Tapas, they are everyone on menus in New York City. They are a free-time must-do for corporate meeting attendees, but the question is whether they have become too trendy for their own good.

That's why we are thrilled to find out that Marcha Cocina, which makes about as satisfying a tapa as you could imagine, is expanding to the East Village. Originally in Washington Heights, the gamba and chorizo will be a huge hit with your group. And the mojitos and sangrias are pretty darn good too!

Friday, February 06, 2015

Heat Up Meeting Breaks and Menus with Micro-Souperies

Are you into cleansing? A lot of people are, but it's not always easy during a business trip or destination corporate meeting.

Until now.

While juicing venues are everywhere in New York, it doesn't always incorporate the entire vegetable, especially the fiber. We might not be experts on the science, but we do know that this process can leave your attendees hungry and angry, better known as "hangry!"

Soup-makers here are providing a very delicious solution, and these homemade products are making their way into corporate meeting breaks. Often vegan and gluten-free, "micro-souperies" are a hot food idea.  They are even becoming venues themselves!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Jean-Georges' Daughter Launches a Unique Dining Experience in NYC

We blogged yesterday about how exciting it will be to see a new Hotel featuring world-renown chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Meanwhile, his daughter Louise, has launched one of the most creative dining venues in New York.

She has developed an incredible concept that brings in visiting master chefs to a "studio" kitchen environment where they try out crazy new plates on those who are lucky enough to taste them. That's where we come in. They like groups, and from what we can tell, your attendees could potentially have an opportunity to taste and cook.

And it obviously helps when your master-chef and entrepreneurial father can drop in as a guest in the studio.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Matador Chef to Headline New Hotel in Nolita, Manhattan

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the world’s most famous chefs and soon might be taking his talents from South Beach to the Nolita neighborhood in Manhattan. He is partnering with restauranteur and entrepreneur Phil Suarez to develop a new hotel property that features "an exciting new food concept."

We're excited!

While Vongerichten has 11 restaurants in New York and 16 additional restaurants worldwide, many foodies recognize him for his Matador restaurant brand in Miami.

Jean-Georges has published several cookbooks reflecting his influential style of cooking, including Simple Cuisine (Wiley, 1990); Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef (Broadway Books, 1998), for which he won the Best Cookbook Award from the James Beard Foundation in 1999; and Simple to Spectacular (Broadway Books, 2000). In October 2007, he released Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges, featuring beloved recipes from his restaurants Spice Market, Vong, and 66. Most recently, Jean-Georges released Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes (Clarkson Potter 2011). Courtesy: