The Annual NYC Hospitality Alliance Awards
New York City has long been recognized as one of the most remarkable cities in the world. The source of New York’s greatness stems from the myriad of quality restaurants, bars, lounges, and destination hotels that span the five boroughs. The NYC Hospitality Alliance, founded in 2012, is a nonprofit association made up of thousands of businesses. The alliance is dedicated to ensuring the continued prosperity of New York through advocating for its members in government and encouraging investment in the hospitality industry.
On Monday, April 8th, over eight-hundred industry leaders attended the NYC Hospitality Awards to honor the people responsible for operating the businesses that make New York a truly extraordinary city. Guests included the New York Nightlife Mayor, Ariel Palitz, the man behind NYC Restaurant Week, Tracy Nieporent, and Celebrity Chef, Marcus Samuelsson.
Hospitality extends far beyond receiving a simple “please” and “thank you” from your waitress; a multitude of factors must be taken into consideration when determining what merits exceptional service. To encompass the various aspects of hospitality, more than two dozen distinctions were awarded; from The City That Never Sleeps Award to the Philanthropy Served Here Award. I was very excited to see that one of my favorite restaurants, Veselka, was given The True Taste of NYC Award. I was equally enthused to learn about numerous eateries that I was previously unaware of. Even in a metropolis, such as New York, which is sprawling with tens of thousands of dining and drinking establishments, it is surprisingly easy become overwhelmed by choice, and consequently circulate through the same five restaurants every week. The hospitality industry is vital to the success of New York City. It was wonderful to celebrate the many business that are committed to quality service.
I greatly appreciate NYC’s Hospitality Alliance acknowledgement of restaurants and nightlife establishments from all five boroughs. This rare recognition has encouraged me to explore beyond the limits of Manhattan. Additionally, it further illustrates that the Hospitality Alliance is not only dedicated to maintaining already thriving establishments but seeks to support up and coming, lesser known businesses.
The awards were held at TAO, a subterranean restaurant and nightclub located in the heart of Chelsea. Guest entered through a long, dimly lit, brick corridor decorated with murals of Chinese calligraphy. The corridor opened to a large multi-level space, curated with detailed artwork reminiscent of ancient Chinese artifacts. Guest engaged in cheerful dialogue over dinner catered by TAO while sipping on Asahi Beer, Tito's cocktails, or wine from Rodney Strong Vineyards. Every facet of the event was an embodiment of incredible hospitality, ultimately creating a memorable and dynamic night.
The highlight of my night was when Melba Wilson, President of the NYC Hospitality Alliance and owner of Melba’s restaurant, took my hand and led me to the dance floor. I let loose to the Café Wha? Band, who played a series of classics as well as some of today's hits. Overlooking the dance floor was a larger than life statue of The Quan Yin; her twenty-four hands lend her the ability to aid those in need, a very fitting symbol for an event commemorating hospitality.