Most companies are kind enough not to have their holiday parties on a Friday. After all, you have enough personal holiday parties to drag your ass to this weekend (we saw you all waiting in line at Trader Joe’s for your half-dozen $4.99 bottles of Merlot). But what does Rupert Murdoch care about your piddling little plans? News Corp. was having their event on Friday, and all one billion of their employees damn well showed up. Their gargantuan party took over several ballrooms in the midtown Hilton, and of course, we duly waited in line (halfway down the block!) to get in, just because we knew you’d do it for us. We were not disappointed — it turned out to be the biggest private party we have ever attended in our lives. After the jump, find out what theme room caught Bill O’Reilly’s fancy, and which video games made the News Corpsies shake their bones.
News Corp. We estimate that there were roughly 10,000 people at this party. Trying to get in was like waiting in line to get to an 8 p.m. performance of The Color Purple. Only, you know, Republican. Security was tight at the door, but they let us in anyway. Once we went up the escalators, we were greeted immediately by the thematic “Climate Change” party décor. As we walked to the coat check, we passed warning signs reading “No Coal Mining In or Around These Premises” and “Oil Spills Are Strictly Forbidden in This Location.” Men and women in hazmat suits wanded us and passed us Champagne shots in test tubes. When we finally entered the party, we found ourselves in the “Wind Room” (everyone at News Corp. received a map with the invitations and was advised to keep them in hand as they wandered around. We didn’t have a map and wished we did). Rotating fans blew at pinwheels, and people milled about, unsure of where to begin.
First, we decided to tackle the “Cold Room,” where we found ourselves sprayed with snow and saw the first dance floor (later, we would notice that every dance floor was populated by a maximum of two people showing off moves from their Tuesday-night Ballroom Club). Upstairs was the “Mercury Rising” room, where Bill O’Reilly was holding court by the bar, trying to ignore the howls coming from the nearby karaoke stage. Every room had its own bars and selections of food, but we held off on eating until we were in the “Fun Room,” which was equipped with video games, Wiis, and a stage for Guitar Hero performances. The food in this room (adjacent to the “Tropical Island” room and near the “Rainforest Lounge”) was by far the best. There were chips, a variety of salsas, chicken fingers, and Bagel Bites. We thought we were in heaven, until someone handed us the single best food product that has ever been invented by America: A PIZZA POCKET. And not any of that Croissant Pocket bullshit. A real, old, soggy delicious Pizza Pocket with pepperoni. We knew then that we were in hell, because God would never let people get away with eating trans fats and mechanically separated chicken in heaven.
The highlight of the party was the main ballroom, though, which was turned into News Corp.’s version of Central Park. The entertainment was an NYU a cappella group, which quietly howled into the microphones. We didn’t catch the name of the group, but a quick Google search tells us could have been either “Mass Transit,” “The Cleftomaniacs,” or “The Mixtapes.” In the center of the room was an ice-skating rink (really), and as the night went on, people actually skated. At one point, we ran into an employee of the company’s (actually real) charity and nonprofit outreach wing, the sector that deals with environmental and social issues. “They didn’t consult us about any of this eco theme,” she said. “They just went with what they thought was ‘green.’” We considered this as we ate a BBQ rib in the middle of the “Rainforest Room” and then decided that News Corp. at least deserved an A for effort. We left full, tipsy, and a little bit whiter than when we arrived.
Verdict: Food: 4 (the variety and inspirations were great, the quality was medium); drink: 4 (heavy pours — we wonder whose influence that was?); venue: 5 (not a fancy place, but an absurd amount of effort went into it); debauchery: 3 (but we saw either Tia or Tamera from Sister, Sister!); exclusivity: 2 (hard to get into, but thousands were invited…).