Xmas Event New York 2009

18 to 21-DEC-2009, New York, USA

The traditional Swatch The Club Xmas event took place in New York City.  About 120 collectors from all over the world participated at the event.  Originally, the event was planned for only 70 collectors (The Club:  "not sure if we can fill up all places...") but the event sold out in only 4(!) minutes (new record!).  So the number of participants was increased to 120 collectors due to high demand.  Xmas shopping in NYC seems to be extremely attractive...

Many collectors arrived a few days before the actual event, so did we.  Hence, it was time for shopping and sightseeing of Manhattan.  Here are a few impressions from New York in the winter:

Ice skating (free-admission!) at Bryant Park

Macy's decorated for Xmas

And as the weather was absolutely beautiful (but cold), we had a great view from Top Of The Rock Observation Deck at the historic Rockefeller Center:

And of course at night:  Xmas decoration/illumination at the Rockefeller Center, including the famous Xmas tree:

On the evening of 17-DEC, we met with a few German Swatch collectors for a nice dinner and found some time afterwards for a visit to the Swatch Store at Times Square.  The store was also very nicely decorated for the xmas season:

A unique maxi on top of the xmas tree

Many, many Swatches in the tree...

A unique lamp...

The hotel for the event was the historic Algonquin ****-Hotel, located very nicely on W 44th Street (between 5th and 6th).  You can read some information about the hotel on the metal plates below.  By the way, I just learned (after the event) that the brother of my Great-grandfather worked as a night chef in the Algonquin in the first half of the last century.  The world is small!

The official start of the event was on 18-DEC at 6pm.  We met at the nearby Kellari Taverna ("Enter as strangers - Leave as friends"), a very nice greek restaurant.

welcome desk at the Kellari Taverna

As this was the first international Club event in the USA for many years, it was the chance to meet again a few US collectors which we had not seen for quite some time.  A few bottles of red wine for the evening, great food and lots of nice talking...

The next morning (saturday), it was a bit unusual to see an almost empth 6th avenue in the morning when we walked over to the nearby Bistro Saju which had been chosen by Swatch for breakfast.

After breakfast, it was time for an extended bus trip around New York with nice tour guides explaining a lot of details about the city.  In the south of Manhattan, it was time for a stop for a visit to Ground Zero Word Trade Center construction site. 

From the Two World Financial Center building, we had a good view of the construction site.

The Sphere sculpture at Battery Park

China Town

Stop-1 deli.  Note the unique paintings by Marco, also known for his Alien Baby Swatch!

After a few hours, it was time to change the bus.  Now we used the historical bus...

Our bus journey finished in the historical Old Town Bar & restaurant.  Besides a few beers and a nice lunch, we also played...

...a liquor smuggling game.  It was explained to us before entering the bar.  I am not sure if everybody understood the rules (I did not) but that was probably part of the game too :-)  The whole Swatch group was divided into four different smuggling groups (clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds; everybody had received a poker card).  The task of each group was to smuggle alcohol from one end of the bar to a dark corner of the first floor without being discovered.  Each group also had a detective who was allowed to search and to arrest smugglers of other groups.  It was a fun game...

One of the Barbershop music singers also had the secred codeword for Absinthe (worth more than normal liquor :-)
[but I won't tell you who it was!]

the secret(?) talk of smugglers at the bar...

In the late afternoon, we walked over to the Ambassador theater.  Another highlight of the New York event was on the agenda:  A visit to the musical Chicago (with Ashlee Simpson-Wentz in the lead role).

But before the theater, it was time for dinner!  This time, it took place at another excellent restaurant, the Thalia.  Highly recommended, great food, nice atmosphere.

After the theater, we had a completely different, unexpected experience!  A blizzard passed through the New York area during the night, bringing about 6 to 10 inches of snow.  Fortunately, we had brought our sturdy boots from Europe :-)  I probably will never forget the snowball fight at Times Square...

snow ball fight!

The Swatch store surely looked different compared to a few hours before!

Click here to read part 2 ("A visit to Brooklyn") of my New York report.

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