New York City Seminar and Conference Center sent its Flatiron Hot! News and Bulletin team out to report back on the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership's Fall get-together of the neighborhood's businesses, residents, and generally offbeat assortment of characters; This year the event took place at 230 Fifth's amazing roof top venue overlooking the district. It was a scenic and memorable tableau of everything that makes the Flatiron District the mecca all of us know and love, and make it a great choice for meetings and doings.
Horns blaring. Taxi drivers spouting off obscenities. Pigeons jostling for crumbs. Streams of frantic pedestrians wordlessly weaving about the busy streets. All of this is enough to confirm some of the worst stereotypes about New York City and its residents. But beneath the noisy tumult of daily life in the bustling metropolis lies a strong sense of community.
Case in point: the Flatiron District. Our neighborhood may lack the yard sales and barbecues that suburbanites and rural folk associate with the term, but when it comes to mutual obligation and respect, we’ve got it in spades. Nowhere is this more apparent than at events like Thursday night’s mixer at 230 Fifth’s rooftop bar and enclosed penthouse suite, sponsored by the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership. Luckily, we at the NYC Seminar and Conference Center and Flatiron Hot! had the opportunity to attend. Here’s our take.
The ostensible purpose of the event was for local businesses and entrepreneurs to network, and indeed, a healthy portion of business-card swapping and deal-making went down. But that was to be expected. Far more surprising was the level of comradery and goodwill on display between attendees. Direct competitors, even in industries known for being particularly cutthroat, shared toasts and swapped stories at the venue’s luxurious rooftop garden, equipped with a sparkling waterfall, abundant flora and a fully-stocked bar.
As the night grew cooler, attendees gradually filed downstairs to the spacious penthouse suite. Some chose to take advantage of the ample seating arrangements, while others preferred to wander or congregate in throngs. For those seeking liquid courage or just craving a tasty mixed drink, bars located on both ends of the room served a variety of alcoholic beverages, from high-quality beer, to champagne, to an impressive array of mixed drinks. Despite my usual preference for beer over liquor, I took a particular liking to the scotch and soda.
Fortunately, few of the attendees abused the abundance of alcohol. The closest thing to a drunken display that I witnessed was one young, sharply-dressed man carrying on a flirtatious conversation with a woman of around the same age over a raging bout of the hiccups. Surprisingly, she didn’t seem at all turned off. The lack of alcohol-fueled chaos is particularly worthy of mention, considering that those who paid the event’s $30 cover charge (made possible by the Flatiron Partnership’s generous sponsorship of the event) were entitled to unlimited drinks.
Perhaps the easy-going atmosphere permeating the event explains this impressive level of restraint. Attendees were open, even eager, to converse with strangers, regardless of whether they offered any business opportunities. To be sure, I departed having made many useful connections, which, I suppose, was technically the purpose of the event. But there are tons of networking opportunities in New York City.
What really impressed me were the diversity, good will, and openness of all involved. In a word: community. Take that, sanctimonious suburbanites. New York, specifically Chelsea and the Flatiron District, is home to some of the most genial, community-minded businesses and individuals I have ever had the privilege of “networking” with. It is probably fair to say that all in attendance eagerly await the next Flatiron Partnership event, especially if it is held at such a great venue.
For more on the latest networking and cultural events in the Chelsea/Flatiron area, go to Flatiron Hot! and follow us on Twitter (@FlatIronHot) for multiple daily updates. While you’re at it, follow the author as well (@EricShapiro3).