New York City

Brooklyn Restaurant For Wedding Receptions | The Atrium Dumbo

We’re headed back to New York City in our latest venue review. Today we’re looking at the Atrium Dumbo, a restaurant/event venue in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn where we just recently DJ’d a wedding.

Atrium Dumbo Wedding

One of the hallmarks of a great DJ is not only have great skills (that should be a given) but also doing your homework on the event and being well prepared with plenty of back-up options in case of an emergency.  Part of our internal procedures is doing a site inspection of any new venue we haven’t worked at prior to the event (when possible).  Some of our DJs get booked to play all over the country and seeing a venue beforehand isn’t always an option.

Because this was in our backyard so to speak, I went and did a site inspection a few weeks before the wedding day. Right off the bat, I loved the layout!  It is a multi-level space with 3 floors.

Atrium Dumbo DJ

This venue works best for guest counts between 80-120 people.  The bride mentioned they had a sound system in-house which they (both the client and the venue) preferred we use.  I’m usually opposed to this because it has been my experience that most in-house systems aren’t “DJ Friendly”.  Especially for restaurants, in-house sound systems are usually installed for low-level background music and not intended for dance parties.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test the system due to customers being in the space at the time I visited but the manager assured me all the DJs who’ve worked there have used the system and actually prefer it because they have multiple speakers throughout the space so everyone can hear clearly.  It was only at the event that I realized I should have pushed harder to test the system (more on that later).

Another perk of this venue is that it is close to the East River so a lot of couples who have their reception at the Atrium Dumbo, will have their ceremony at the Brooklyn Bridge Park (a 2-3 minute walk) which makes for some amazing shots with the Manhattan Bridge as your backdrop.  One thing to note about the park is that there is NO power so all speakers and PA must be battery-powered.  Luckily, we have battery-powered systems.  It is also a bit windy being so close to the water, so it’s important to have windscreens for mics.

Brooklyn Park Wedding DJ

When I arrived the day of to plug into the venue system, there was no sound.  Of course, this was a little disheartening and I panicked for a moment as this was a little out of my control.  The manager called someone who was able to walk us through getting the system on.  The only issue once we got the sound working was that it was super quiet.  I couldn’t push too hard or the speakers in the space would distort.  I tested opening announcements and no one could hear me.

And this is where the back-up comes in.  I ended up plugging in my ceremony sound system as well so I could double up the sound.  Thank God I had it.  Without it, the event would’ve been extremely tough to not only create a dancing environment but to make any announcements for people to hear unless everyone was completely silent.  So until they update their sound system, bring your own!  You’ll thank me later.

Where this restaurant really shines, however, is with the food…both in quality and presentation.  They kitchen is very visible and clean so it’s actually kind of neat to watch it all unfold from the third level.  The staff was extremely nice to everyone and seemed to really enjoy working as a team.   The only thing that seemed off was that the staff wore their plaid shirt uniforms.  Not sure if that fits with a formal wedding reception event but it could be that the bride wanted it at this wedding.

With transportation, train stations are close by for locals who are coming from Manhattan and cabs frequent this area so you can get one pretty quickly.  If you drive in, there is an all-day parking garage close by.  With construction happening nearby, street parking is tough to come by.

If you’re looking to break away from the traditional “wedding venue” and have a trendier feel, I’d recommend this venue.  Just make sure the DJ brings his own sound gear.

The Atrium Dumbo

NYC Event Space: The Manhattan Penthouse

Beyond music, one of the biggest questions we get as an event entertainment company is where we recommend having their party. This makes sense because just about every weekend we are working at a different venue. It is one of our most searched blog topics. With that in mind, we’ll be giving you some ideas on venues over the next few weeks in each of our regional locations. There’s a lot to consider: guest count, indoor/outdoor, functionality, catering, and of course, price. Today we’re going to highlight the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. This venue and it’s sister venue, The Alger House, are run by Green Mansions Catering.

I’ve actually worked both venues and my experience at both have been great. They share a lot of the same staff at both venues and that cameraderie is on full display. It’s also obvious to see that they genuinely care about the client experience. They all are dressed in tuxedos and present themselves professionally!

As for the venue, it’s located in Greenwich Village off of 5th Avenue on the top floor (hence the penthouse in its name). It’s a very modular space and each time we’ve performed there, clients have also used it for their ceremony as well. You might as well take full advantage of the gorgeous rooftop views!

Manhattan Penthouse Wedding View

The building has three elevators which makes for little to no wait time. Upon exiting the elevator on the top floor, you will enter what is commonly used as the “cocktail hour area” or if you’re having your ceremony at the venue, it doubles as the “waiting area” before the ceremony. Lots of windows gives you a view down 5th avenue as well as 13th and 14th street. They have a large bar in that particular room and some seating as well as a few highboy tables to set your drinks on. This particular room is also equipped with a sound system…perfect for the client or the DJ to plug in an iPod solution for cocktail hour. It is a private room which can be closed from the main room so guests won’t get an early peak of the main room.

As you make your way into the main room, they have the asian style zen Shoji room dividers which hide the pre-set reception tables if you’re having your ceremony in there first. The is a very open room…no permanent bar in this room (guests generally go back to the other room when they are looking to get another drink) so it really is an open canvas to do what you want.

The main room can seat at least 150-200 comfortably for a ceremony. The DJ is set-up in their “reception spot” and can play music for both the ceremony and reception. They won’t be in the view of pictures and makes for a stress-free, one-time set-up for them.

Manhattan Penthouse Ceremony Wedding

Once the ceremony is complete, guests are led back to the other room while the venue staff transforms the main room to a reception-ready space! With tables pre-set, this transition is virtually seamless.  One of the other big perks of this venue are the pin-spot lights which can highlight centerpieces on every table as well as the cake table.  120-150 guest count feels comfortable with tables. The events we’ve worked there have had 100-150 in attendance.

Manhattan Penthouse Wedding Cake

Manhattan Penthouse Wedding Food

The food is excellent! The catering company does a phenomenal job not only with presentation but taste and service as well! The room doesn’t come equipped with any speciality lighting so the DJ would need to either bring dance effect lighting or the client would want to consider hiring a lighting company. The house lights are dimmable, however, which is great for dinner service and dancing. The main room has great acoustics and the sound is great! While there appears to be speakers in the main room, we’ve always brought our own PA system. I’m not sure if their sound system is rentable or not in the main room.

Manhattan Penthouse Wedding DJs

In closing, what separates this venue from a lot of others, is that this is strictly an event space. That means they know how to run an event. This can’t be overstated enough. Additionally, the views are magnificent. I’ll leave you with this picture I took in dining room where you could see the Freedom Tower through the sunset.  Stunning!

Manhattan Penthouse Freedom Tower View Wedding

Vendor Spotlight: Christina D’Asaro Design

“What I’m most amazed by is how you can change the entire dynamic of an event simply by the pieces of paper that you hand out to your guests.”

Those were my words to Christina of Christina D’Asaro Design the day we sat down to look at her portfolio. She specializes in custom paper-based products – everything from event invitations, to hand-held fans for an outdoor event, to coasters, to accordion-style programs for weddings. Her passion is to enable people to carry out the vision of their event from start to finish – from the second a guest receives their invitation to the moment they leave with party favors adorned with custom-printed labels.

Christina D'Asaro original coaster design

Christina D’Asaro original coaster design

Christina has a background in Fine and Visual Arts and a B.S. in Communications from Boston University. She spent ten years helping top-tier companies effectively market and brand themselves, and then, with her love of all things paper and her years of professionalism and experience, she left to create her own design company.

Christina D'Asaro Custom Favor Bags

Christina D’Asaro Custom Favor Bags

Christina provides personal consulting for her customers, and invests the time to get to know them well. She finds out what they care about, what they love, what they dislike, and if it’s a wedding, she gets to know the bride and groom’s story. She is then able to think outside the box, guided by the personality of her clients, to make their events come to life in ways they may not have otherwise known possible.

Christina D'Asaro Custom Save the Date

Christina D’Asaro Custom Save the Date

Christina D'Asaro Custom Save the Date

Christina D’Asaro Custom Save the Date

That’s what is so special about Christina – she pays attention to what her clients love and invents new ways to showcase it. She finds what’s special and makes sure it’s emphasized.

For a couple’s shower at a horse race track, she not only designed a beautiful invitation, but she also custom made bidding tickets that, instead of having horses to bid on, had trivia about the bride and groom. Far from being a formality, these unique pieces reinforced the summertime derby vibe that the couple wanted to bring to life.

Christina D'Asaro Custom Betting Slips

Christina D’Asaro Custom Betting Slips

Christina D'Asaro Custom Invitation

Christina D’Asaro Custom Invitation

Another great example of her creative concepts are “advice cards” for a wedding that depicted various scenarios. One said “When they have their first fight as a married couple.” Another said, “When they buy their first house,” and another, “When they have their first child,” etc. Guests could provide their piece of advice for the bride and groom, and place it in a box for the bride and groom to take with them to read and enjoy on their honeymoon. I told her how much that would change the reception – I could just see all of the guests going from table to table, trying to figure out how many different questions there were and what pieces of advice their friends and relatives gave. It’s these simple elements Christina creates that can add to the fun for guests and also serve as a great gift for the newlyweds.

If those examples aren’t custom enough for you, she can put her fine arts background to work. For one wedding that she did at the Bryant Park Grill, she hand-sketched the entrance and a side view of the venue. She then scaled down the one the client preferred and placed it on several pieces she created for the event. She did the same using watercolors to create safari animals for a custom photo album, given as a gift.

This attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile are what set Christina D’Asaro and her designs apart. Her level of skill and level of attention to her clients are rare even on their own, but together they make her an asset to anyone who is looking for custom-designed paper goods that help tell their story.

Christina D'Asaro Custom RSVP, Envelope, and Stamp

Christina D’Asaro Custom RSVP, Envelope, and Stamp

Christina D'Asaro Custom Gift Bag Tags

Christina D’Asaro Custom Gift Bag Tags

 

Loft227: The Event Space We’ve Been Waiting For

“I wanted to build New York. I wanted to build something that would stand the test of time.” Robin Sokoloff – jack-of-all-trades events extraordinaire – gutted and renovated a space at 227 W 29th St, turning it into what we at BBoy believe to be one of the best new NYC venues we’ve ever come across.

Robin Sokoloff

Robin Sokoloff

Robin, prior to investing in this space, spent a significant amount of time doing – well, just about everything. She has choreographed for The Atlantic Theatre School, NYSSSA School of Contemporary Dance, The Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory of New York, Students Live! on Broadway, and more. Her show “Spotlight Live” was featured on several notable news shows including “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” and “The Whoopi Show.” She was  a producer with Multi Image Group, she graduated from NYU and NEW, and is a member of The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

Why is all of this experience relevant to Loft227? It helped her see the need in NYC for a space like hers. “There are really big spaces and really small spaces. They’re all fantastic, but there’s no space for the middle ground – that place where you feel great and you can do what you want, but you still have intimacy. People want to meet each other and actually connect while having a great time. They can do that here.”

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The year she spent as a carpenter  helped give her the skills she needed to do all of the renovations herself. “I don’t buy that people have to pick one craft and master it. I believe in mastering all aspects of what you’re a part of.” She also did all of the lighting herself, which was one of our favorite perks of the venue. Most venues charge more to use their specialty lighting, and charge even more for someone to be there to operate it. Robin said of this problem, “I know a lot of people who kept complaining that venues didn’t give them any power to change what they didn’t like about the space, so I thought to myself, ‘Why not offer a venue that does?’”

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Loft227-Purple-Movie-View-w-logo-pxm

Clients can do anything they wish with the lighting – you can dim, turn off, or (our favorite) change the colors on each fixture to any color you wish with the simple use of a small remote. Robin joked about the simplicity: “Sometimes you just kinda feel like you need the whole room to be red, and people can do that here.” Cue the Halleluiah Chorus.

She’s already hosted a myriad of events from a private party for a professional chef to a club-like fundraising party to a fireside concert complete with cozy rugs, lamps and a faux fireplace upon which guests roasted marshmallows.

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“People always ask me, ‘What is this space?’ and I always respond, ‘What do you want it to be?’” Robin’s biggest aspiration for the space is for people to make it their own. There’s a fifteen foot retractable movie screen, two  flat screen TVs, a VIP area, a full (and fully-stocked) kitchen, fifty chairs and eight tables, and a private bathroom – all available to anyone who books the space with no extra charge.

Robin noted of her own experience working with venues, “I worked casting commercials for four years, and rental spaces just weren’t cutting it. I wanted to give people a little more.” With Loft227, you don’t just get more – you get it all. With full use of everything in the venue and full freedom to rearrange and decorate based on each event, this is the ideal space for any event for 20-100 people. Check out New York’s best new venue and book your event today here: www.loft227.com

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Vendor Profile: Sugar Flower Cake Shop in NYC

Sugar Flower Cake Shop

Note from Brian Buonassissi:

I’ve always known the importance of networking in the event industry. Blame it on my semi-introverted personality; I’m just not great at those things. However, when I do go to meetings, I’m always so glad I went. I meet fantastic individuals and usually always gain a nugget or two out of the content. A few months back, I went to a networking lunch in NYC and met Amy Noelle from Sugar Flower Cake Shop. She brought her iPad and started showing off some of her work. I was blown away. The creativity was the first thing to catch my eye. With each image, I saw the attention to detail and the uniqueness she brought to each cake. Then she started sharing about how she used as many locally grown ingredients she could find and that nothing was fondant (I’ve never been a fan of fondant). Her signature is the sugar flowers. They look so intricate and some could actually pass for real flowers!  Needless to say, she’s one of a kind. I ended up hiring her to make my wife’s birthday cake and she nailed it! The design was awesome and the taste was unbelievable. When I find someone of Amy’s caliber, I have to share it with the rest of you!!  Enjoy.

Tara's birthday cake from Sugar Flower Cake Shop. Awesome!

Tara’s birthday cake from Sugar Flower Cake Shop. Awesome!

When an outdoorsy couple tied the knot at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, Sugar Flower Cake Shop created a massive, six-tier cake, and offered it up on slices from a tree.

When an outdoorsy couple tied the knot at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, Sugar Flower Cake Shop created a massive, six-tier cake, and offered it up on slices from a tree.

When another groom proposed in front of NYC’s Alice in Wonderland statue, they created a “toppling” fantasy cake.

When another groom proposed in front of NYC’s Alice in Wonderland statue, they created a “toppling” fantasy cake.

How about a cake that looks like a Monet or a Dutch Master’s painting?

How about a cake that looks like a Monet or a Dutch Master’s painting?

Whatever you need for your wedding or special occasion, the Sugar Flower Cake Shop can build it … your imagination is the only limit!  And the best part? No gross fondant! It’s all make from local and sustainable ingredients iced in delicious buttercream. Sign up for one of their cake tasting parties to mix and match all of their different flavor combinations. SO much fun!

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Have you ever thought of learning to decorate cakes yourself? You’re in luck! New York City natives can sign up for a multitude of decorating classes at Sugar Flower Cake Shop, including classes for sugar peony making, sugar rose making, advanced piping techniques, and even a special three-hour carved Jack-O’-Lantern Cake class in time for Halloween. Not in NYC but still interested in learning some cake decorating skills? Check out their cake decorating videos for some professional training.

And now an introduction to the owner of Sugar Flower Cake Shop, Amy Noelle:

In 2005, Amy Noelle didn’t envision herself founding one of New York’s most innovative food businesses. She didn’t think she’d be hiring staff, indoctrinating hundreds with her techniques, or seeing her creation featured in The New York Times.

The baker was no stranger to accomplishment. Growing up, she’d been one of the country’s most fiercely competitive—and highly awarded—baton twirlers. After college, she became an actuary, then a math teacher. Her life was quiet: she lived in the Hudson Valley, and raised fruit and vegetables—albeit in a dress and heels. “I got milk from the local dairy, and everything else from my soil,” she says.

But life would not stay peaceful for long. Driving her tractor, Amy was struck by an idea. Why make overly sweet cakes from pre-made mix, when you can get explosive flavor from scratch? she thought. So she learned how to bake well. She developed her recipes, then opened Sugar Flower Cake Shop, which designs custom wedding cakes using local ingredients, tasty buttercream, and an impressive range of sugar sculpting talents.

Before long, Amy was demonstrating her cakes in Martha Stewart’s test kitchen, and at Macy’s. Later, she opened her first cake studio in NYC’s fashion district—an ideal spot for her vivid, “couture”-style cakes. Still later, a Sugar Flower cake appeared in The New York Times. Word spread, and business boomed.

Now, Amy and her staff have baked hundreds of wedding cakes … and counting. They also lead lively sugar flower and cake-making classes in the cake studio, plus online video learning sessions.

Amy is glad she made the leap. “Running a business gives me enormous energy. I can’t imagine life now without this daily challenge,” she says.

Contact the Sugar Flower Cake Shop:
Phone
– 212/993-6441
Webhttp://www.sugarflowercakeshop.com
Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/SugarFlowerCakeShop
Twitterhttp://twitter.com/SugarFlowerShop
Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/SugarFlowerCake
Instagramhttp://instagram.com/sugarflowercakeshop