Superstorm Sandy hit New York City just as awards season got into full gear.
While the Rockaways, Staten Island and Brooklyn neighborhoods including Coney Island and Red Hook were Gotham’s hardest-hit areas of the Oct. 29 superstorm, Manhattan didn’t escape unscathed. The devastating storm left many on the island without power for several days and in some cases, weeks; crippled mass transit and flooded many of the city’s downtown hotels, restaurants and theaters costing billions in infrastructure reconstruction.
On Oct. 30, every New Yorker awoke to survey the extent of the damage and questioned not just how long it would be before the city could get up and running again, but — for those whose livelihoods depend on producing parties — what to do about scheduled fourth-quarter events.
For Peggy Siegal, the doyenne of New York buzz, who puts on an event almost every day, the storm meant doing something that she has done only a handful of time in her 30-year-plus career — rescheduling.
When it came time for the East Coast premiere of Focus Features’ “Anna Karenina” and National Geographic Channel’s “Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden,” produced by Harvey Weinstein — both set for Oct. 30 preems in upper Manhattan venues — the uber party planner postponed both events due to transportation logistics.
“Anna Karenina” went from a premiere to a cocktail event at the Monkey Bar (on 54th Street). Siegel says, “We knew it was going to not only be an issue for guests to get to the premiere, but the studios were also having issues getting talent in and out of the city.”
For Andrew Saffir, a fellow high-profile premiere planner and founder of the Cinema Society, Sandy also required a juggling act of sorts.
“I was all set to do a screening for Sean Baker and Dree Hemingway’s film ‘Starlet’ on Nov. 2 with a screening at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, and a party on the rooftop at the James Hotel,” Saffir says. “But both hotels, sadly, were plummeted into darkness so we waited a couple of days to see what would happen and wondered if we should even persevere. Then at the last minute we moved the screening and party to the Lambs Club in midtown.”
While popular party venue Cipriani Wall Street endured power outages, according to Deborah Mella, director of sales, the venue did not experience flooding, allowing it to host a Thanksgiving meal — Our Table Is Yours — for close to 1,000 senior citizens and their families still suffering from the devastation of Sandy. The daylong gathering also hosted by Food Network, Cooking Channel and beverage distrib Southern Wine & Spirits of America simultaneously served as a fundraiser for the Food Bank for New York City.
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