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The Party Primer

Surely most of your friends aren’t natural-born master-logisticians. Here, ideas for the festivities they’ll be planning for you in the months to come.


ENGAGEMENT PARTIES
Held: Two to four months after the proposal
Hosted by: Bride’s/Groom’s parents or bridal party
No Gifts Required


Fancy Garden Party
Amid all the mayhem of the meatpacking district is a private garden inside the flower shop L’Olivier Floral Atelier (213 W. 14th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-255-2828). Book their 1,500-square-foot grassy space for an open-air cocktail party of 150 or a seated dinner for 40 ($4,500 for six hours after 6 p.m.; $650 per additional hour). Relish, a caterer in the neighborhood, will put together anything from an hors d’oeuvre party to a swank four-course dinner (from $120 per person including rentals and alcohol; 212-228-1672; ). After midnight, leave the yawning crowd behind and carouse with close friends. Options abound, but try the retro Cabana at the Maritime Hotel. The North Cabana is great for winter parties, as it’s fully enclosed with a fireplace; the South Cabana is its outdoor twin (tables of eight are $300 minimum; 363 W. 16th St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-242-4300; e-mail cabana@themaritimehotel.com). Then, for dancing, go to PM, a Caribbean-themed hot spot with palm trees, leather banquettes, and a runway, where partyers and hired dancers showcase their moves (50 Gansevoort St., nr. Ninth Ave.; 212-255-6676). Call ahead and get a large private table and a no-hassle guest list at the door (for ten people, four-bottle minimum, from $250 per bottle).


The Stable at Frankies 457 Spuntino in Brooklyn.  

Low-Key, Family-Style, Early-Bird Dinner
Palma, a lovely Italian restaurant in the West Village, is a perfect place to celebrate with a small, quiet party (28 Cornelia St., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-691-2223). If it’s spring, book a table for fifteen in the quaint outdoor garden ($90 per person). In the cold months, spend the night with a dozen of your nearest and dearest inside the cozy and super-authentic Tuscan farmhouse ($90 per person). Dinner is served at a rustic table, family-style, inside a snug, candlelit room. The house and garden are fantastically transporting—far more Siena than Sixth Avenue. Linger at your private table over vino-fueled conversation until 1 a.m., after which it’s time to say buona notte (there’s a neighbor-imposed curfew). For a similar scene in Brooklyn, reserve the Stable at Frankies 457 Spuntino (457 Court St., nr. Fourth Pl.; 718-403-0033). Once a turn-of-the-century blacksmith’s stable, it’s now a dining room (pictured above). Plug in your iPod, and if the weather’s nice, take over the two gardens for a larger party of up to 80 (minimum is $2,000). The curfew here is 11 p.m., so roll into nearby dive Brooklyn Inn (148 Hoyt St., at Bergen St.; 718-625-9741) to continue the party—there’s a quality jukebox and a pool table. For a cool, old-world-style scene and an outdoor garden, try Brooklyn Social (335 Smith St., nr. Carroll St.; 718-858-7758), also in walking distance from Frankies.


The Gulfstar in Sag Harbor.  

Waterfront Bender
The Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City is great for a large, casual summer party (though it’s only open twenty weeks out of the year, weather permitting). Get your family and pals together at one of the city’s Water Taxi stops. If you want to party on the boat, you can (74-person capacity; from $2,000 for two-hour minimum; 212-742-1969, ext. 217; nywatertaxi.com/charters). Cruise around the East River, drink (they’ll provide the liquor if you don’t want to BYOB), blast your music, and dance on the roof deck of your own little yellow yacht. Arrive at Hunters Point and it’s just a five-minute walk to the famed fake beach for cheap beer, burgers, hot dogs, D.J. tunes (there’s usually someone spinning under the tent), and a spectacular backdrop of glittering Manhattan. The beach is a sprawling 20,000 square feet, so call ahead to square off some private space for your people, and share the beach with regulars (2-03 Borden Ave., nr. 2nd St., Long Island City). Call a car service to pick you all up at the end of the night (the water taxi stops running at 8 p.m.) to take you to Spiegelworld’s cabanas for the last leg of your roaming party. Reserve one cabana (holds fourteen people) or more—pull the dividers to create one large, private area. There’ll be a D.J. spinning Afro-Brazilian, funky soul, or house music (from $200 to rent a cabana; Pier 17, Fulton Fish Market, nr. the Brooklyn Bridge; spiegelworld.com; 646-536-8130; open in summer only).

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