Working in New York has many advantages aside from the extra cash you get to pay your bills and entertain your life style. Annual Christmas parties and celebrations are surely part of these good sides. Last year it was the Hanukah-Party to look forward to (I was working for a Jewish company). This year, my new job was hosting a small Christmas-get-together at a restaurant around Times Square. My company doesn’t have many people yet. There are 10 employees in New York, so our party was rather small. Not less fun, though!
The Da Marino in New York is located on the Restaurant Row at the upper end of Times Square. It is owned by Chris Noth aka as Mr. Big from Sex in the City. Despite a well-known actor owning this place, it is not as glamorous as thought but a rather comfortable spot to sit and eat. Our bosses thought it would be funny to make everyone wear a Santa Claus hat (good call, as I had wanted to buy one for Christmas anyways, now I have one!). We were seated at the far end of the restaurant, in our own secluded area, which was a nice idea of the staff and probably earned them an extra tip. Aside from one coworker showing up half an hour late, everyone was on time and indulging in the Italian bread with lentils and a well-tasting green-bean-mix. One of our employees went ahead and ordered two bottles of wine, one red, one white, for the entire group (our CEOs didn’t disapprove, or at least they didn’t show it). Then the guy sitting next to me was “forced” by our boss to finish up his martini so he could order another one. He ended up drinking four of those strong vodka drinks. An ongoing flow of three generations was represented at this table, with me being the youngest and a 60-year-old the oldest. The older generation thought it funny how none of us younger ones were really drinking and claimed how their generation would have taken advantage of the free booze. Well, nowadays we don’t really feel comfortable getting drunk in front of our bosses for the sake of a Christmas party or any other work-related event. The day after might be too embarrassing…
The food was decent, albeit not mind-blowing, and the atmosphere at the table was great for a party with people you see most of the time during the week. The dessert was a surprise as the American cheese cake tasted better than the Italian one (just another sign that this restaurant does not know how to prepare Italian food right, for your information).
All of a sudden three coworkers return excitedly to our table and claim they’ve seen Chris Noth sitting at the front end of the restaurant. I usually always take advantage of seeing a celebrity in New York, since it is after all the Big Apple and I don’t get to see them back home, so I jump up to the front, with my camera in my hand. Just to be stopped by the headwaiter, who says Mr. Big does not want to be disturbed. Excitedly I look around, seeking out faces at every table. I then promise I won’t take a picture of the actor, so eventually the waiter nods to a table right next to us, where indeed the actor is sitting. And probably overheard our entire conversation. No time to be embarrassed, though. I get a good look at him and retreat back to my table – unfortunately with no picture to show as proof of fact. But then, Chris Noth does not look as good as in those famous movies, either. The person sitting there looked like an aged version of how I remember him, with gray streaks in his fading hair and wrinkles on his face. Profound wrinkles, that is. My friend thinks he must be wearing a hairpiece at work, and, after seeing him, I totally agree. So I guess a small highlight of this fun Christmas-party was seeing a celeb at his own restaurant, and that surely does not happen every day.
The group parted at 11 PM, which means 4 and a half hours of sitting and eating together were over. Three of those ten people ended up staying out until 3 AM. One didn’t make it to work the other day, the other two were seemingly hungover (and one even still drunk in the morning). The smaller the company, the more intense these experiences, so I am happy to have said I had my first real, official Christmas-Party in New York for 2011. Of course this does not compare to the DJ-Party at my friend’s work. He works for a huge company in Hell’s Kitchen and his company hosted 2 dance floors with well over 200 party-hungry-folks. I prefer mine, as it was more intimate and entailed more personal conversation.