Plan A Holiday Party That Gives Back

NYC Events Booked On Venuebook.com Support Hurricane Relief Efforts

This holiday season, party planners can help New Yorkers in need by booking an event through new venue-booking site, VenueBook.com. From now until December 31, 2012, VenueBook will donate fifteen percent of its proceeds to City Harvest, a local food rescue organization working to meet the needs of Hurricane Sandy victims while continuing to feed hungry New Yorkers.

VenueBook is a free online service that allows planners to find and book New York City event space directly through the site. The platform’s cloud-based software streamlines the entire event-planning process, from venue selection to entertainment and décor.  Featuring a diverse range of event spaces, from ballrooms and lounges to museums and posh boutiques, VenueBook can accommodate events of every size and theme.

“Each event booked on VenueBook.com from now until the end of the year will support City Harvest’s efforts to feed hungry New Yorkers, including those affected by the storm,” explained VenueBook founder and CEO Kelsey Recht. “The holidays are about giving.  This is a nice way for VenueBook to give back to those in need after Sandy.”

In addition to daily deliveries to soup kitchens and food pantries across the five boroughs, City Harvest has been making emergency food drop-offs to Staten Island, Coney Island and Red Hook in Brooklyn, Breezy Point and Rockaway in Queens, and Manhattan. This year, City Harvest will collect more than 42 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to some 600 community food programs throughout New York City by a fleet of trucks and bikes. City Harvest helps feed the more than one million New Yorkers that face hunger each year.

About VenueBook:

VenueBook is a complimentary, online event-planning platform that matches event planners with New York City venues that meet their customized needs. VenueBook’s new technology simplifies and streamlines the event booking process for both organizers and venues by allowing users to search venues based on specific criteria, and venues to list their space to vet new leads and manage all their events on VenueBook’s cloud-based software program. For more information please visit www.VenueBook.com

About City Harvest:

Now serving New York City for 30 years, City Harvest (www.cityharvest.org) is the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women, and children. This year, City Harvest will collect more than 42 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to some 600 community food programs throughout New York City by a fleet of trucks and bikes. City Harvest helps feed the more than one million New Yorkers that face hunger each year.


Media Contact:

Sarah March

Regan Communications

212.710.0322

smarch@regancomm.com


Halloweekend: Something for everyone

Halloweekend: All Hallows’ Eve may technically fall on hump-day next week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the party started a little early. From haunted houses to children-friendly costume parades, the city that never sleeps is pulling out all the stops to ensure you have the best Halloweekend ever. 

For the thrill-seeker: Blood Manor Haunted House

WHEN: Open now through November 5th , Fridays & Saturdays 7:30 PM – 2 AM Sunday, 6 PM 11 PM

WHERE: Located in the heart of NYC’s Hudson Square District at 163 Varick Street

WHAT TO EXPECT: Goosebumps, high-heart rates, and potential nightmares. Designed to be “intense, creepy, and scream inducing,” this haunted house is for thrill seekers only. Trek by foot in groups of approx. 6 through the 5,000 sq. ft of themed rooms, corridors, and passageways.

Tickets range from $30 - $40 per person. For more information, tickets, as well as special group rates, click here: http://bloodmanor.com/2012/#/tickets
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The social butterfly: The Halloween Haunting Phantom Pub Crawl of the East Village, starring Harry Houdini

WHEN: Friday Oct. 26th, 6:30 PM

WHERE: Meet in front of the lion sculpture in front of St. Mark’s in the Bowery Church, northeast corner of Tenth Street and Second Avenue.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Join Harry Houdini, Edar Allan Poe, and other spirited ghosts known for knocking back a few at some of their favorite drinking establishments. Drinking isn’t required, but the tour will make pit stops in and out of taverns and pubs, so attendees must be over 21. Enjoy an evening of history, mixing and mingling with fellow pub-crawlers, boozing if you so choose, and who knows- maybe even some ghost sightings.

$30 by credit card online, $40 in person if space is available. RSVP and get tickets here:http://www.ghostsofny.com/calendar/?ee=353
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The entire family: Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail

WHEN: 3 PM – 5:30 PM

WHERE: Central Park, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (enter at E 110th St and Fifth Ave)

WHAT TO EXPECT: Kid-friendly costume parade, ghosts stories, live music, and more at this free event. Ever heard of a pumpkin sail? Us either. Carve your pumpkin to perfection, drop if off from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm at , watch it coast the Harlem Meer at nightfall alongside other illuminated pumpkins.

How Do I Throw an Office Halloween Party?

Last week, you were given the task to throw the office Halloween party. (insert curse word here). Never fear. Your Event Mavens are here!

Here are some tips to ensure that you, your colleagues, AND your boss will have a good time on the 31st.

1. Play background music

Here’s our Halloween Playlist 2012 curated especially for you:

25 songs that include Stevie Wonder, Superstition; The Searchers, Love Potion No.9; and Time Warp- Rocky Horror Picture Show….

2. Serve Halloween themed snacks-  

Spiced Popcorn recipe 

Halloween Sunset Cocktail concoction 

If your budget is dismal, ask your co-workers to potluck snacks. Award a prize for the most creative food display to spice things up.

3. Plan Activities that involves everyone-

Ghost Story Telephone (we all know a game of telephone is fun at all ages.)

Scary Movies Themed Trivia

Photobooth it up with fun props 

4. Designate a Photographer- 

Self-explanatory. Everyone wants to have pictures of themselves having fun, especially when they’re dressed in costume. 

5. Throw the party off-site at one of these great locations-

Offsite on 52 West 39th St. A trendy 3-level space with a full kitchen and plenty of sofa seating. 

116 MacDougal on 116 MacDougal Street. Rock/Drink/Love is their slogan. Where Dylan, Hendrix, and Springsteen have played. Jukebox+Photobooth included. 

Ramscale on 463 West St. A gorgeous open air space perfect for an upscale throwdown. 

Aicon on 35 Great Jones St. Great for art lovers, this gallery hosts contemporary Indian, Pakistani, and Western art that you can drink around.

Brooklyn Terrace on 216-228 Duffield St. Boasts a partially enclosed outdoor space with a chic and stylish indoor space.

Williamsburg Lookout on 440 Kent Ave. Offers a beautiful view of Manhattan and includes a full kitchen with a grand piano.

Tips On How To Trim Your Event Budget:

·         Party On An Off Night; typically you can land a really good deal on “slow” days at most venues which include Sunday, Monday & Tuesday. The most desirable/expensive nights for holiday parties during high season are Thursday, Friday & Saturday.

·         Put A Cap On The Tab; to manage the budget you are working with start a tab at the bar in the beginning of the night. Once the limit is reached, the bar tender/manager will kindly advise your guests to pay for drinks going forward. Don’t worry; this will not offend your guests!

·         Raw Space Potluck/BYOB; if you are on a tight food & beverage budget, prioritize and spend your money on renting a raw space. Raw spaces will allow you to bring your own food/beverage. One fun idea is to host a byob/potluck!

·         Cocktail Vs. Sit-down; cocktail parties are less expensive to host than sit-down affairs. At cocktail parties you can get away with ordering stationed/buffet style food which requires less wait staff/servers.

·         Share A Space; Don’t mind mingling or have a small guest list? Share a cool space to cut down on costs. Many bars and lounges have semi-private areas that allow multiple parties to share the dance floor, allowing you to spend less on space and more on food/drinks!

·         Believe In Your Budget; you don’t have to have a huge budget to plan a great party. There is a venue out there that will work with you, so don’t fret! VenueBook seamlessly acts as a virtual venue matchmaker, uncovering venues you never knew you could afford or existed. VenueBook’s Budget Calculator feature will keep your budget in-line by making you aware of service fees and factoring in tips/tax and avoid hidden costs https://venuebook.com/price_calculator/

·         Impromptu Party Planner; if you were the “lucky one” tapped this year to plan your office or boss’s holiday soiree, don’t quit just yet! With over thousands of spaces in NYC to choose from, VenueBook simplifies the overwhelming process by only suggesting venues that fit your criteria, eliminating the need to source through hundred of options. You will save time and money by reviewing appropriately suggested locations and comparing venue proposals all on one website…and perhaps land that holiday bonus!

https://venuebook.com

Weekend forecast:

Well, if you really must know, temperatures will be in the pleasant mid- 70s and sunny this weekend.  If saying goodbye to summer humidity isn’t reason enough to celebrate, have a look here at VenueBook’s roundup of some of this weekend’s happenings:


If you aren’t busy checking out the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Met
(see yesterday’s post www.facebook.com/VenueBook), check out…


FRIDAY AND SATURDAY 9. 21 + 9.22 : Derelicte Fashion Show- 8 pm – 11:45 pm
Zoolander-themed event? Need we say more?  This BBQ Films event will not only screen the favorite Ben Stiller-flick, but also bring the masterpiece to life, offering attendees a chance to sip on orange mocha Frappucinos in the company of male models or show-off their best “Blue Steel” in a Derelicte Fashion photo shoot with a professional fashion photographer.  Go Friday or Saturday!

For more info on various ticket options: http://bbqfilms.com/2012/derelicte-fashion-show/


The 86th Annual Feast of San Gennaro (9.13- 9.23):
Little Italy hosts the 86th Annual Feast of San Gennaro pays tribute to the Patron Saint of Naples through a variety of celebratory activities, including live-music, an annual cannoli eating competition, and a a variety of ethnic culinary delicacies from over 300+ vendors.

http://www.sangennaro.org/

SUNDAY 9.23: The Brooklyn Book Festival- 10 am- 6 pm
Head to Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza for the Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday! The festival, which hosts more than 280 authors and an additional 50+ “Bookend” events, has a tightly packed program of over 104 panels, workshops, and readings, throughout the day on Sunday. The best part? Free admission!

To read more and see schedule (10 am – 6 pm) have a look here:
http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org/BBF/FestivalEvents


Fashion’s Night Out is TONIGHT. Where are you going? (http://fashionsnightout.com/)

1. Beauty- http://www.allure.com/beauty-trends/blogs/daily-beauty-reporter/2012/09/fashions-night-out-the-top-beauty-spots-in-nyc.html

Awesome August Adventures: Part II


For the last week of August, we’ve got a series of activities you can check out and enjoy. The best part is, many of these suggestions will continue past August, so there’s no excuse for not checking them out!

For a breath of fresh air:


  • Alongside planning a summer picnic, a day in the park is a nice break from the bustling city atmosphere and a good way to relax. The Central Park Conservancy sponsors volunteer-led walking tours year-round to highlight several areas of Central Park, and each tour lasts from an hour to two hours. The different tours offer a range of accessibility options (from easy-to-negotiate to very hilly) and a popular favorite is the Cross Park Promenade tour. These guided tours are free and no reservation is required for individuals or groups of six people or less.
  • A lesser-known but equally fun activity at Central Park is the catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem Meer. Fishing poles are available to borrow and instruction and bait are also provided. This program runs to October 7 and groups of five or more people must make reservations two weeks in advance. Although this program is free to families and individuals, please note that persons ages 16 and older must obtain a fishing license - $5 for NY state residents and $15 for non-residents.
  • Take a splash with the the Rockaway Beach Surf Club this Saturday. Celebrate one of your last summer weekends at the beach with live music and $3 beers. The surf session is Sat from 4pm-11pm. You’ll also find the Rockaway Yard Sale with trendy goods for less from 11am-6pm. Hope on the A train to The Spot, 302 Beach 87th St, at Rockaway Fwy for the surf. Beach 96th St, at Rockaway Beach Bldv. for the sale. 


For an indoor arts-and-theatre experience:


  • The Mostly Mozart Festival runs from July 28 to August 25 this summer and showcases performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and others. The theme of birds will be explored this summer with performances by Artists-in-Residence, the intrepid Brooklyn-based International Contemporary Ensemble, artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller at the Park Avenue Armory and a variety of other events.
  • Independent film screenings at the IFC Center allow you to enjoy new independent foreign and documentary features, cult movies (Fridays and Saturdays at midnight), as well as indie classics (Fridays to Sundays at 11am).


For an outdoors film screening:


  • There are many film screenings and film festivals that happen in the summer. The films shown will range from independent movies and documentaries to popular classics and recent blockbusters. For mainly indie films check out Rooftop Films and their 2012 Summer Series that runs almost every day this August. For cult classic films, the Central Park Conservancy will be holding its annual film festival from August 21-25 and is free of charge.


For some healthy eating and free food samples:


  • Going to a farmers market is a great way to explore different food options and perhaps lead a healthier lifestyle. Greenmarket Farmers Markets in NYC is a 54-large outdoor urban farmers market in the country, with over 230 family farms and fishermen participating. Visit their website for a list of markets here and check out the closest one to you!

Awesome August Adventures: Getting the Most Out of the Summer! Part I

Summer 2012 ends on September 21st in the northern hemisphere, but quite often it feels like our summer fun is over by the end of August. But don’t despair – we’ve still got a good three weeks left in August! And the best part is, whether you’re looking for something to do on a weekday, a weeknight, or a weekend, we’ve got a list of ways to take advantage of the NYC summer. Party on!


For a Friday afternoon:

  • Partying on Friday afternoons is the latest trend to hit NYC and you’ll find party-goers at the Thompson LES hotel or the Standard, High Line Hotel. They’ll range from being self-employed youngsters, office professionals lucky enough to get summer Fridays off, to professionals intent on networking and making connections. A Friday afternoon party can be your start to a great weekend, and at the hotels we’ve mentioned, you’ll even have a great view of the NYC skyline!

Email us to book your event here at info@venuebook.com


For a way to get out and be active:

  • The NYC Department of Transportation presents the fifth annual Summer Streets on August 18 from 7am to 1pm. You can rock climb at Spring Street, receive a free bike helmet at 51st Street, soar through the air on a zip line at Foley Square or just stroll along and experience the city’s streets in a new way – all for free.
  • Be sure to look into the calendar of events at City Parks Foundation. CPF works in over 750 parks citywide (including the five boroughs) and presents a broad range of free arts, sports, and education programs to all. Upcoming programs include professional jazz performances for kids, the high energy Dirty Sock Funtime Band, the Get Up and Go! Family Adventure Race, Master Classes in dance and music, and the 20th annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival.


For a NYC Street Eats Adventure:

  • Street fairs and food festivals are popular throughout the boroughs and they tend to get even more packed with people during the summer. Weekly street fairs include the Hester Street Fair in the Lower East Side and the Brooklyn Flea Markets at Fort Greene, Williamsburg, and the East River Waterfront.
  • Food festivals this August include the Times Square Summer Fest on August 11th from 10am to 6pm (45th Street from 5th – 7th Ave), 15th Street Union Square Fair on August 24th from 10am to 4pm (15th Street from Irving Place – 3rd Ave), and the Blues BBQ Fest  on August 25th at Hudson River Park’s Pier 84.


For an evening of culture and entertaiment:

  • The ever-popular Shakespeare in the Park is The Public Theater’s annual offering of free plays at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park. This summer, Into the Woods will run from July 23 – August 25.
  • SummerStage is a part of the City Parks Foundation program that presents over 100 performances in eighteen parks throughout the five boroughs. Performances range from pop, Latin and world music, to dance, spoken word, and theatre.


Be sure to tune in for part II of our Awesome August Adventures. We’ll be talking about other NYC-sponsored events, where to find some greenery and fresh air, and listing a bunch of arts-and-theatre performances. See you then!

Beat The Heat: What to Do on Those Hot Muggy Days, or When It Rains

There will be days this summer when the heat outside just becomes way too unbearable. Or, it’ll suddenly start pouring cats and dogs and ruin that picnic in the park you had planned. On those days, how about staying indoors and doing something fun? You’ll still be active and possibly sweating, but all in air-conditioned comfort. Here are a few suggestions for indoor NYC activities!

Check out an amazing museum. One of the perks of being in NYC is the chance to explore a wide variety of museums. There’s the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, free on Fridays), the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art, pay as you wish), and the Guggenheim (pay as you wish Saturdays) for artsy folks. There’s the Museum of Natural History and Museum of the City of New York for history buffs and the naturally curious. If you’re looking to head out of the city, there’s also the NY Hall of Science that has with lots of exciting hands-on exhibits for children and adults alike. And the best part of these places – they’re kid-friendly and for the most part, will be free on certain days of the week. Just check out their website for further information!

We can book your special event at any of these museums. Email us- info@venuebook.com.


Go rock-climbing. If you still want to be active but don’t want to worry about heatstroke, a great alternative is to stay indoors and go rock-climbing. There are lots of climbing gyms in and outside the city, and many of them will offer day passes. Alternatively, if you’re going with a group, places like Brooklyn Boulders will offer group day passes at $18 per person, which includes a one day pass, gear, and gym orientation upon arrival. You’ll just need to schedule with them at least 4 days in advance.  

Watch a show. Everyone always talks about going to see a Broadway show when they’re in New York, but what about those off-Broadway shows? Many of them are equally entertaining and at a fraction of the price. If budgeting is an issue, a great way to save on show tickets is to check to see if there’s a ticket lottery for the show of your choice (for example, Wicked holds a lottery drawing for front row seat tickets priced at $26.50 two hours before curtain) or visit the TKTS booth in NYC. Little known fact – while many tourists will visit the TKTS booth in Times Square, there’s also another TKTS booth at South Street Seaport. That one will have a much shorter line, and if you’re there on a Tuesday, you can also purchase Wednesday matinee tickets!

These are only a few of a bunch of great ways to enjoy New York City without even stepping foot outside. If you have any suggestions of your own, be sure to let us know!

Celebrating Summer Restaurant Week 2012

This summer, NYC Restaurant Week runs until August 10th – which means you’ll have more than two weeks left to check out some great food at a manageable price! The 3-course prix fixe menu is priced at $24.07 for lunch, and $35.00 for dinner. It’s your chance to see what some of the best restaurants in NYC are offering, and also a great place for a first date, anniversary celebration, family outing, or girls’ night out. We’ve listed a few pros and cons of Restaurant Week for you to consider, and when you’re ready to make that reservation, we’ve also provided some delicious places for you to try!

Pros.

  • You’re trying out food offerings from NYC restaurants at a fraction of the price.
  • You’re exploring one of NYC’s biggest attractions – its restaurants!
  • You can get $20 back when you register your American Express card and dine four or more times at participating restaurants.
  • You’re enjoying stellar food service (usually).
  • Did we mention that there’s food involved?


Cons.

  • Tip, tax, and beverages (excluding tap water) are not included.
  • The lunch and dinner RW menus might be the same, but at different prices.
  • Limited selections on the RW menu – about three to four choice for appetizer, entrée, and dessert.
  • A restaurant’s ‘signature’ dish might not be available and if it is, could has a supplement charge attached.
  • Saturday lunch and dinner typically excluded, and Sunday lunch and dinner also optional. If you’re looking to do RW on those days, we’d suggest you call ahead to see if your restaurant of choice offers the RW menu then.




Still think it’s worth trying out NYC Restaurant Week? Great! Here are a few recommendations and comments about participating restaurants, grouped according to theme.

For big groups and family outings: The Post House on 63rd and Park provides quick service, large tables, and a delicious RW menu featuring steak, fish, and chicken.  www.theposthouse.com

For a classy anniversary celebrationLe Cirque is the quintessential upscale French restaurant that is elegant in both its food and décor. Their signature crème brulee is worth trying (there’s a little surprise on the bottom!) but keep in mind that the noise level can get pretty loud on Fridays and weekends. www.lecirque.com

For the more selective eaters: At Riverpark, not only are you enjoying a great view of the East River in Kips Bay, you’re also getting an amazing selection of food to choose from. Your dinner is grown right at Riverpark Farm, and they’ve got generous portions so you won’t be leaving hungry. Plus, while it’s a 10-15 minute walk from the nearest subway, if you bring your own vehicle you can park right downstairs and they’ll validate! www.riverparknyc.com  

For a lovely time away from the masses: VenueBook offers the chance to enjoy a private dinner for as few as 10 people at some of the best restaurants in NYC. Just book a private room through VenueBook at a restaurant of your choosing, and since it’s also RW, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious menu at an even more delicious price. Participating Restaurant week places with private rooms include Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, BLT Bar & Grill, Quality Meats, and Smith & Wollensky.

And don’t forget – if you somehow missed out on Summer Restaurant Week 2012, there’s also Winter Restaurant Week in January!

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