Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Monday, December 20, 2004

Welcome to Our Town—I Mean, Party

So I went to the office holiday party on Friday. That was a bit mind-blowing.
For those of you who don’t know, I should mention a few background details. I work for a publishing house which is part of a larger company. In this case, NewsCorp. Yes, Rupert Murdoch. And this was not our company (which is pretty big on its own)’s party—it was NewsCorps’ party. As in, the holiday party for every NewsCorp employee in the NYC area.
We heard later that they actually had busses for the people out in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and other outlying regions. I believe it.
For us, the trip was a lot easier. It was at the Hilton, which is right near our office. So after work we—myself, my boss, her husband, my co-worker, our freelancer, our boss, his wife, our newest co-worker, and his wife—all trekked over there. And no, my wife didn’t go—she wasn’t feeling all that well, and she’d already decided that this wasn’t going to be something we could bring our daughter to. She was right.
The Hilton, not surprisingly, is huge. They have an entire floor dedicated to conference space, including a massive ballroom. NewsCorp rented that. Not the ballroom, mind you—the floor. It was divided into four areas, each one its own room and each with a smaller anteroom before it. Each room had open bars all around. One had dessert trays and appetizer tables all around. Another had several massive buffets. A third, the movie room, had old-fashioned popcorn poppers, mixed nut roasters, and candy girls. The fourth had a live swing band and a dance floor. Needless to say, NewsCorp hadn’t exactly stinted on this shindig.
My favorite room by far was the movie room, Fox is part of NewsCorp, and the movie room had something like eight big screens, and each one was showing random clips from various Twentieth Century Fox movies, including Miracle on 34th Street (the original), Zorba the Greek, Sound of Music, Titanic, The King and I, Mrs. Doubtfire, and a whole lot more. I had to get out of there after a while because otherwise I’d have stood there for hours, just identifying each film as it came up on one of the screens.
One of our group heard from someone who worked there how many people were in attendance. It was loud, though, so I can’t be sure whether she said 7,000 or 70,000. Either way, that’s the size of town. And probably a lot more money in that room—both in terms of the net worth of some of the attendees, and in terms of the money spent on the party—than many towns can muster.
The only downside I could see to the thing was the lack of door prizes. They handed out little sparkly glowing pins, glitter-encrusted hats, glowstick-necklaces, and little flashing rubber necklace-things. And, as you were leaving, they gave you a bag with a book (a Simpsons cartoon collection) and two DVDs (I, Robot and the other is a surprise). Come on, this is the best NewsCorp can do? I was planning to win a Plasma Screen here, people, and that’s hard to do when you don’t even offer one! Hell, my friends in Illinois won a Plasma Screen last year, and I bet this party cost more than their departmental budget! On the plus side, I did get the sparkly things, and I had wanted to see I, Robot but missed it in the theaters.
I had a lot of fun, though that was because I was there with my friends and co-workers. It’s the type of party that, if I had gone to it alone, I would have ducked in, walked quickly through each room just to see them, grabbed some food off the buffet, and then left. Instead I was there for four hours, and enjoyed myself. I didn’t touch the free bar, alas, because I was still recovering from my cold, but the food was good, the desserts excellent, the company exceptional, and the setting—well, it was something to write home about.
And would you look at that, that’s exactly what I’ve done.

1 Comments:

  • At 12/28/2004 1:12 PM, Blogger Gareth said…

    That reminds me of when we went to Laura's office X-Mas party in '99-- She was working for Bacon's Information Systems, which was a subsidiary of Primedia. Primedia's party, for every Primedia employee in NYC, was held at the Library. (Yes, that's right, "between the Lions"). They rented out the ENTIRE space. Swing dancing, multiple buffets, open bars....and we spent most of our time in the Special Collection Display room, where, at the time, they were showing a collection of 16th and 17th century maps.

    Gotta love corporate excess.

     

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