A social event for the masses! What young, urban, professional, New Yorker doesn’t love a little champagne sipping soiree? Polo has its reputation for supporting an upper class clientele, but Argentinean professional polo player Nacho Figueras has a different vision in mind. In collaboration with Veuve Clicquot, the famous orange-label bubbly manufacturer, an annual event has begun where locals can partake in all of the typical polo match rituals at the astounding cost of… Nothing! World class teams (Prince Harry played last year), picnicking, half-time-divot-stomping and the only time where ladies can don an enormous hat and BLEND! In fact, you are sure to stick out like a sore thumb, if you aren’t wearing some kind of ornamental head gear (Fascinators are welcome!). This was obviously a 2+2 must, or at least an A+K must.
The Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic was staged at the of-late hot spot, Governor’s Island. Just a short (free) ferry ride from the shores of Manhattan, this locale has been the host to a series of outdoor events like music festivals, art exhibits, and sporting games. The short boat trip across the water is your only option for transit to the island, so we knew that an early arrive was key! The actual match began at 2:30pm, but if you’ve ever been to a polo game before, you know that the majority of the spectators are really there to people watch and chat, rather than view the match itself. Therefore, we headed in early and parked the car just before 11 am.
We rounded the corner and were met with another one of those heartbreaking lines… massive. Regardless, it was sunny, laughter was in the air and fashion was everywhere! This was no day to sulk. Our time spent waiting was consumed with hat watching! We, Americans, were giving the English a run for their hat-wearing money. With ferries every half hour (and sometimes more frequently during events), once the boat arrived, the line was consumed by the ferry deck very quickly… hundreds poured on! We apparently were quite lucky, as there are both massive ferries and tiny ferries and you never know which one you are going to get. Others we spoke to weren’t as fortunate with the transit situation, with some saying they joined the back of the line at South Street Seaport at noon, over 8 blocks away and waited for hours!
The scenic trip over provided a great view of the true ‘island’ life we New Yorkers live, and so often forget. Boats arrived from Brooklyn, the Staten Island ferry passed by, and some patrons even grabbed a water taxi. Having never visited Governor’s Island before, we weren’t quite sure of what to expect. As we pulled up, we noted the building-populated-skyline… people lived here? As we walked through the paths from the ferry terminal, it was quite shocking to witness the vast number of abandoned buildings lining our walk. We just couldn’t help but wonder who the heck would leave such a piece of prime, waterfront real estate undeveloped (cha-ching!). Later we learned that there are some plans in the making!
After a 15 minute walk, we arrived at the event site, and it was sure to capture your attention. Everything was decorated in the classic Veuve orange… tents, kites, umbrellas, merchandise! The scene was definitely set. The fashion forward attire of men and women alike (we particularly loved the guy with the white captain’s hat and neckerchief!). The hats. The media. The champagne in hand. The gorgeous men on horseback (Have you seen Nacho Figueras?! There is a resemblance to A’s Argentinean husband!). Had you just entered into another dimension? Onto a movie set? Gone back in time? Quite a sight. A+K were in love. L+M couldn’t care less.
After selecting our little piece of polo real estate right behind the goal post, we set up shop… snacks, more snacks and bubbly! Bottles of Veuve were available for purchase at one of the many champagne tents, as well as plenty of quite stylish merchandise like polos, sunglasses, and wine holders (all in orange of course). We were actually quite astounded by the prices, as we expected them to be much higher. The event was really about catering to the masses!
After chats with neighbors, a walk of the grounds, views of the Manhattan skyline, and a round of half-time-divot-stomping, we decided that we would beat the crowds back to the ferry to avoid being stuck on line for hours on the trip back. Unfortunately, everyone else was just as smart, and we witnessed a true ‘ants-marching’ sight down the path. Thankfully, on L+M’s ADHD walk around the island (those boys can’t sit still for a moment!), they directed us to another way to the dock. And as if the gods shined down upon us, we popped out right in front of the line thousands deep, and just as a ferry pulled up… and we boarded… and didn’t look back. Opportunity knocked.
Just a couple of blocks away, we decided that Stone Street was our next stop. A+M had never visited before, but K+L insisted that it was different than any other part of the city and was not to be missed. How could it be that it was different than everything we’ve already seen? Winding, covered in cobblestone, narrow enough to barely let two cars squeeze by each other, and the only street in NYC solely open to pedestrians, it was now clear to see why. It was like a movie set from Gangs of New York! It was OLD New York.
Lined with nothing but pubs and restaurants, dining tables take up the whole width of the street. Tables from each venue are merely inches away from each other, and walking can prove difficult. The streets are sure to be mobbed on a sunny day when everyone is dining al fresco. Even the inside dining rooms are packed as the outside overflow reluctantly grab tables inside for less of a wait. The feel is casual and lively and tons of fun, and apparently THE place to go for St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls (note to self). After a couple of beers and some finger foods, we headed home, with two new NYC discoveries under our belt…
Activity and Picnic- 2+2+1www.vcseason.com/polo/ Champagne, Polo Match, Governor’s Island
They say the best things in life are free… good company, breath-taking views, sunshine… and POLO! One can have all of the above thanks to Veuve Clicquot’s annual Polo Classic on Governor’s Island in NYC. It’s the only day New Yorkers will collectively don their biggest hat, pack a feast, and jump on the FREE ( ! ) Governor’s Island Ferry for a ten minute ride to one spectacular event.
You’ll want to arrive early, as the majority of the playing field is open to the public. You’ll want to pick an optimal viewing place, but close to the “bathrooms”, and near one of the Veuve Clicquot lounges in case you run out of snacks or need more champagne! There are also bleachers available for spectators, and of course, VIP tents for those willing to pay a pretty penny (tables are available for purchase). The VIP tents house the hosts and committee members, including Hugh Jackman, Donna Karan, Mark Jacobs, Vanessa Kay, president of Veuve Clicquot USA, and many more
2+2 packed a huge picnic, landed a great spot behind one of the goal posts, and eagerly awaited the 2:30pm match as we people-watched, noshed, and chatted. Everywhere you looked, you saw seas of bright orange… the crowd boasted Veuve Clicquot blankets, umbrellas, sunglasses, and many bottles of champagne! Veuve Clicquot merchandise tents were aplenty for those spectators who were unprepared for the day!
In addition to Veuve Cliquot lounges with gourmet snacks, attendees also had the option of selecting menu options from one of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group’s restaurant stands, including Blue Smoke, Tabla’s Chef Floyd Cardoz’s El Verano Taqueria, Public Fare, and more. Although we certainly didn’t need any more snacks, everything looked and smelled so good!
The event benefitted the Urban Zen Hope Help Rebuild Haiti, an organization founded by Donna Karan after the tragic January 2010 earthquake, in hope of bringing the community together to help rebuild Haiti. Behind the glamour, champagne, and polo, there is a great cause!
Immediately following the match is an awards ceremony; however, spectators may want to use the opportunity to head back toward the ferry, as the line grows at rapid speed once the actual match is over. It’s probably best to not wait until 5:30 when the gates close to head to the ferry… you’re likely to be waiting for quite some time. Fortunately, we hopped on line just in time to catch the ferry back to the Battery Maritime Building. We already can’t wait for next year! It’s an event no New Yorker should miss!
A: Love it! Everything about it! The most fun thing about this event is it’s unique nature… there is not a single thing like it!
K: I love any excuse to picnic, bask in the sun, and sip on some champagne… the Veuve Cliquot polo match is one of the BEST reasons to do all of the above!
L: The ferry situation is a bit crazy but all in all it was a great event. Its not every day you get a taste of the Hamptons in Manhattan.
M: Not really sure I even know the rules to Polo, but I love the act of going to see one. It always means a big picnic and lots of awesome hats!
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- A fabulous, glitzy, New York social event for all!
- Food/Drinks- 4: The selections were Stellar! All the major food groups… BBQ, Mexican, and Champagne!
- Coordinates- 3: City- 10 minute ride to fun
- Return Rate- Green light!
Park/ Recreational Area, Lower Manhattan
Once a home to the United States Army and then to the US Coast Guard, Governor’s Island is now open to the public. It’s just a 10 minute ferry ride (FREE) from lower Manhattan, and an even quicker one from Brooklyn. One of the many things that makes this island unique is the fact that there are no cars. But not to worry, bikes are allowed for exploring the island. If you don’t own one, there are bikes of many shapes and sizes available to rent when you arrive. They even have those 4+ person surrey bikes with spots in the back for kids. With paths all over the island, it will keep you busy for hours!
Between the regular art exhibits displayed throughout the grounds and the breathtaking, panoramic views of NYC (they are epic!), the sights are worth the trip across the water. The island even boosts one of the best views of the Statue of Liberty. In addition to the views, the island is host to free outdoor sculptures displays, a trapeze school, the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, tons of sporting events and an array of concerts, including the Dave Matthews Band Caravan this summer. New events are being added every week so be sure to follow the Governor’s Island Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute details.
Packing a picnic basket is the best way to eat on the island, but if you didn’t bring one, food vendors are located in different areas for a quick bite. Water Taxi Beach is the only place that serves alcohol and offers up a great harbor spot to enjoy the view and watch the boats pass by. Located right next to the ferry terminal, it’s convenient too. Throughout the summer, the venue also plays host to live concerts (check out their events online- not free). This little island is the perfect place to spend a sunny day just doing nothing, while spending close to nothing too.
K: Wow! Who knew Governor’s Island was hiding these amazing views and activities right here in our own backyard. This place would be prime for real estate…when they start building, I want in!
L: Have to go back for some bike riding and trapeze. The views of downtown Manhattan are amazing from the walking/ biking path along the water.
M: The views are sick. Wish I had the GoPro to get the wide shots. Need to get the wheel fixed on the bike and get back here soon!
Cocktails and Snacks- 2+2+1212-785-5658 www.stonestreettavernnyc.com Pub Fare, Pints of Beer, Manhattan
Sometimes you need to keep it simple. Sometimes all you want is a pint and burger. Is that so much to ask for? Well, sometimes finding a quality pint of Guinness and a juicy burger is harder than finding fresh sushi. For years the Stone Street Tavern has been serving the local Wall Street business men and woman exactly that: nicely poured pints and fresh burgers. It doesn’t matter whether you just lost or made a million, a great tasting beer and burger have no feelings. This is what makes the Stone Street Tavern so great. It doesn’t matter if you’re a millionaire or construction worker, everyone is treated and served the same.
The Tavern is probably best known as a mid day lunch and an after-the-closing-bell pint spot. Though one of the best times to go may be late night or on the weekends when the surrounding area is quieter and you and your friends can be left to your frosty beverages and conversation. It’s even a quick 5 minute walk from the touristy seaport. During the summer sitting outside on Stone Street is a must (April to November). Pull up a bench and enjoy the people watching or just daydream about what it would have been like here 100 years ago when it was the center of the city.
- Shiraz (A)
- Guinness (K+L+M)
- Guacamole and Chips (2+2+1)
A: Where has this place been hiding? I can’t believe I’ve been within a block of this place on numerous occasions and never stumbled upon it. A true time warp exuding 1800s charm.
K: This place is a NYC icon. One of the best Guinnesses I’ve had and it has one of the best outdoor ambiances ever.
L: A New York classic. Stone Street itself is a time warp to the turn of the century. Blink and you might miss it.
M: Love the communal tables. Could have sat outside all day if it wasn’t for the fact that it looked like it was going to rain. One more Guinness please.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Wall Street meets old New York
- Food/Drinks- 3: Pleasantly Surprised
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity Included. The waitress was a little flustered, but the place was packed.
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Perfect for the Wall Street business man or late night drink
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green Light
Cocktails and Snacks- 2+2+1
Ulysses Folk House95 Pearl Street/58 Stone Street, NYC 212-482-0400
www.ulyssesfolkhouse.com Pub Fare, Pints of Beer, Manhattan
Ulysses Folk House, named after the James Joyce novel, Ulysses, is a traditional Irish pub paying tribute to the Irish-Jewish fictional protagonist, Leopold Bloom. An interesting inspiration for a pub for sure. We would love to meet the original owner of the place and ask… Why Ulysses?
Regardless of the interesting name, the bar has been a mainstay of Stone Street’s “restaurant walk” (we just made that up) for a very long time. The pub is broken up into two separate sections, the carvery and the main pub. In the carvery or main dining room, you can order from the full menu or the daily carvery menu. I know what you’re thinking: “A carvery? That is so 30 years ago.” Well you’re almost right, except that the Ulysses carvery has stood the test of time. Offering many contemporary dishes, as well as classics, the carvery is fresh and apparently delicious. Not wanting to spoil our drinking, we shared the huge combo platter off the main menu. It was a managerie of finger foods. It was the perfect size for the 5 of us. Having eaten here in the past, we highly recommend the Guinness tempura battered fish and chips, as well as the Irish Bangers and Mash. One day we will come here for the famous raw oyster and clam platter.
Food aside, the pub at Ulysses is classic Irish. The bar is centered in the middle of the room with the counter stretching 360 degrees around it. On the outside of the bar are many little cozy booths, many of which are secluded from one another. It has that private feel, while not being private at all. Unique to the bar itself are dividers that separate standing areas from one another. Scoring your own can be difficult, so plan on staying and drinking for a while if you do. The bar has 18 draught beers and over 50 bottled beers. Even better, try a pint of real cask ale. We were lucky enough to be there when they had a banana bread cask ale. It was awesome; though, it could have been a touch colder.
On Saturday nights at 10pm, Ulysses hosts the Stone Street Sessions music concert series. Besides Saturday night music, there are promotions including trivia night, Monday lobster night, Tuesday brewery night, and Wednesday oyster night. We also hear the brunch is amazing. We see an updated review in the near future.
What we ate…
- Mini Cheese Burgers (2+2+1)
- Combo Platter including Wings, Mozzarella Sticks, and Spring Rolls (2+2+1)
- Prosecco (A+K)
- Banana Bread Cask Ale (L+M)
A: A dark, inviting place to let the hours pass. Perfect for meeting with friends and catching up.
K: Ah! When one thinks of James Joyce, it’s hard not to think about Ireland, and strolling around Dublin..and of course, sitting along Grafton Street having a good ol’ pint. A trip to Stone Street and stopping by Ulysses might be the next best thing… and it’s the only pub I’ve seen Smithwick’s (besides Boston) on this side of the pond!
L: Certainly one of the most classic bars in the city. The inside has the feel of a real Irish bar. I love the little booths and walls separating parts of the bar from one another.
M: Love the style of this bar. Felt like I was in Ireland again. The Cask Ale is still calling my name.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Wall Street Business, Irish Pub
- Food/Drinks-3.5: Pleasantly Stellar
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity Included. The bartender was a bit salty… in a nice way.
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood. Perfect for the Wall Street business man or late night drink
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green Light