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Local Hero: Gotham Gourmet Robyn Wolf

Michael’s New York director of special events rolls with the punches and maintains high standards to keep the party going

JOB DESCRIPTION

Robyn Wolf helms a small operation at Michael McCarty’s Gotham restaurant, where she plans the parties and deals with hairy logistics, last-minute shuffles, peculiar requests and high-profile guests. Wolf has worked with stars such as Barbara Walters and has managed parties attended by the likes of Martin Scorsese, the Rolling Stones and Bono. Though she mainly handles fetes, she also functions as a support system for the management team, balancing booking clients with the day-to-day of being in a restaurant. Says Wolf: “It’s sort of like theater, because all the sudden, you’re on! It’s a little different than just being in a space and doing events. Every day we’re also open for breakfast, lunch, dinner — it’s a never-ending cycle that needs a lot of love.”

SPECIAL CHALLENGES

One of the biggest challenges Wolf faces is telling her clients “No.” At a media luncheon and kick-off event for the New York Giants, which was hosted by Steve Tisch and Harvey Weinstein, an idea to turn the water blue kept popping up. “We are not turning the water blue,” Wolf says. “Could you imagine huge media people leaving here with blue teeth and a blue mouth? Some people throw out ideas that I have to rein in a little.” Another obstacle is tempering the mood from time to time. “When Mark Green was running for mayor of New York, everyone assumed he was going to win,” Wolf recalls. “It was Election Night and he had a big celebratory afterparty with his family and friends. But — he lost. So we had a room full of depressed people, and it’s like what do you do? Besides pour more drinks. A lot, a lot
of drinks. You’re a party planner? You roll with the punches.”

BACKGROUND

She’s approaching two decades at Michael’s, but Wolf actually got her start doing film and musicvid production. After a while, though, she decided she liked the people more than the job. One summer, she ventured into small-time event planning — and the rest became history: “What I loved about (planning) was the immediate relationship that happens when someone walks through the door and says they want to do a party. Boom! There’s an instant connection and trust that’s created.”

SIDE INTEREST

When Wolf isn’t running the show at Michael’s, she’s tending to her family and cheering on the New York Rangers. She boasts that she’s the squad’s “biggest fan.” Her husband and son are also huge fans, so they attend and watch as many games as possible. Adds Wolf: “Since I’m their biggest fan, I’m hoping that they would invite me to one of their parties, or maybe even let me plan one of their parties. That’s definitely next on my list.”

STATS

Name: Robyn Wolf

Title: Michael’s New York director of special events

Function: Responsible for planning parties and assisting the management team

Domain: Michael’s New York

Years on the Job: 15+

Number of Events Worked: Several thousand

Showbiz Events Worked: 1,000+

Number of Meals Served: Several thousand

Showbiz Events: Afterparties for pic premieres, showbiz luncheons and Cosmo 100, among others

(Local Hero is a tribute to the people who are invisible but invaluable: They’re not in the spotlight, but the biz couldn’t function without them.)

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