A Willy Wonka (post-Sandy) Bar Mitzvah!

Now that things are starting to normalize in Manhattan, last week feels like a blur. I had several friends without power and water due to the aftermath of Sandy, all looking for places to relocate. Even though my apartment building was right on the border of the outages I lucked out and continued to have all utilities which enabled me to take in friends who weren’t so lucky.

While all of that was happening, the bar mitzvah that I had been planning with my client since July had to be completely re-planned in three days. The venue was located in Chelsea and they were not expecting to have power back until sometime on Saturday, the day of the bar mitzvah. Since we couldn’t take that risk my client and I discussed alternatives with the most viable solution being to have it at their Synagogue. The final decision to change venues was made on Wednesday and I knew I would need to see the space as soon as possible to get a better idea of what we had to work with. Public transportation wasn’t in service and cabs were rare to find due to the gas shortage so my only option was to ride my bike to the Synagogue. I meet with the special events coordinator and the catering representative, Shari Vermeulen. Before we met we were told that the Synagogue had restrictions on the food that could be served – it all had to be kosher which we hadn’t originally planned for. This presented another obstacle but the executive Chef, Angelo Sessa from Sezz Medi and Shari didn’t miss a beat – in less than 24 hours they presented us with a new menu that met all of the kosher requirements!

The next hurdle was to make sure that all of the vendors could still deliver. Our A/V company Tallen had to be relocated from their New Jersey office to Philadelphia, our DJ company Scratch Events was without power and staff were working from home, our Long Island gluten free baker was without power and had no means of communication and our custom 36” balloons were trapped in the Party City on 14th Street with no way of getting them back in time. Needless to say we had a lot of challenges ahead of us!

In the end the bar mitzvah was a success! All of the vendors were able to make it into the city and my friend who had to relocate to my apartment due to not having water or electricity was nice enough to help me pick up balloons from another party city and deliver them personally by a Zipcar that was already running on empty due to the gas shortage.

Although the plans for the party weren’t exactly what I had prepared for, the most important thing was that the bar mitzvah boy was happy and had a great time!

To see pictures, please visit the Karen Brown New York Facebook page.