Ps&Qs: Assigned Seats

My friend Charlotte has a talent for connecting people. In fact, before she was even living in New York she set me up on a lady date with a friend of hers when I was new in town and in need of pals. It was a total success.

She has since moved to New York and, better yet, married my dear friend Jim from long-ago high school days. Together they are a generous duo who always bring excellent people together. And Charlotte always mixes up the seating arrangement whether we’re having a cozy dinner in their home or out at a restaurant. She breaks up couples (in a good way), pairs people by interest, and truly has a knack for ensuring that there is never a dull moment around the table.

At a recent gathering at their house I noticed Jim consulting a note as he invited us to sit for dinner. Above is the photo evidence of the seating chart brilliance.

So scramble who-sits-where at your next dinner party or night out, you never know where the conversations will take you.

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Create: Insta-NYE Party

We’ve lived in Brooklyn for five years and never once spent a New Year’s Eve in town. So this year we stuck around and gathered with a few friends who also weren’t traveling or otherwise engaged to greet 2013 with a lucky pot-luck. I’ve gotten into the communal¬† spirit of the pot-luck as of late, plus the collaborative effort makes pulling off a last-minute bash possible.

Having just interviewed Tori Hendrix of Sitting in a Tree Events about throwing a sparkling NYE event, I was brimming with ideas. However, I was short on time so unfortunately there were no sparklers (they are banned in NYC), wish paper ordered ahead of time or spray painted branches here. Instead I picked up gold and white balloons, paper crowns, glittery tiaras, black and gold noise makers and metallic confetti to give our place a NYE feel.

The spread and infamous cranberry shrub.

We had an abundance of incredible food: the eensiest roasted Brussels sprouts; a gorgeous onion and goat cheese tart; ginger cake; delicate mushroom pinwheels, potatoes gratin and savory puffed pastries to name a few. And everyone contributed something thoughtful to the bar too. Including a batch of cranberry shrub, a fruit and vinegar syrup which mixes well with everything from tequila to vodka. Too well, actually was my thought the next day as I nursed my aching head.

We live a block away from the Grand Army Plaza end of Prospect Park which is Brooklyn’s answer to Times Square for ringing in the new year. Moments before midnight our little group of revelers (two toddlers too) bundled up and,¬†with bubbly in hand, joined the procession of neighbors gathering for the fireworks countdown.

At the start of 2013 we were all a-glow beneath the twinkling, popping bursts overhead. We returned to our place for the one night cap which led to talking, listening to music and laughing-unitl-we-cried on a repeat loop into the wee hours. Uncontrollable laughter is an auspicious start to the year ahead. And when this next year gets tough, amazing, dark, scary or too-good-to-believe, I’ll remember that night and know where to turn.

Happy New Year! Where did you welcome 2013? Wishing all peace when you need it, joy where you can find it, lots of wonder and plenty of comic relief in the year ahead.

Welcome to Brooklyn: Believe the Hype! Borough President Marty Markowitz pouring the champs at Prospect Park. Photo Credit:Angie Chait.