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Liz Neumark Headshot

Teamwork

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Last week ended with a grand and glorious finale - a ticker tape parade tribute to the NY Yankees and their dedicated fans, and for this caterer, a day to be swept up in the enthusiasm of being a victorious New Yorker.

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Oh, to be a part of the fabric of the city. To watch game 6 of the World Series knowing that victory means the door opens on yet another great NYC experience. While my son and husband were at the stadium celebrating, I was preparing for an 8 AM meeting at City Hall with all city agencies and outside vendors (like Great Performances) in preparation for the following days festivities. With the Mayor's office at the helm, leaders and representatives of Fire, Police, Sanitation, Building, Transportation, Press & Info departments, and the MTA, converged to coordinate the activities of the next 48 hours - the details which would ensure a peaceful, smooth and picture perfect experience for New York (and the world) to see.

The clear absence of any pre-election tension was a gift. If anything, this baseball victory was icing on the cake and made for double congratulations, which the City Hall team accepted with a big smile. The timing was perfect.

Planning details - choreography of everything from marching bands to sanitation trucks. Placement of buses, detour routes, posting of schedule changes and thousands of other details emerged for discussion and dozens of off-line meetings followed this one. It was a room filled with important men (and fewer women) and the planning session is all business, but speaks to the boy in each of them. Details ... don't forget to relocate the Friday farmers market ... make sure that there is adequate cell phone coverage! This is a seasoned team. Perhaps the NY Giants won't mind that they were a dress rehearsal for the Yankees? And with all the advance planning - some calls tomorrow will be "game time decisions" - how perfect!

There is a brief talk about who leads the parade - the horses (how many?), sanitation trucks, what is the official lead off? One man raises his hand to volunteer - laughter fills the room.

Ticker tape details: distribution to begin at 4:30 to buildings on Broadway route. The starter kit is 1,200-1,300 lbs. (Need some, call 311!) No phone books out the window please. Sanitation dept will recycle as best it can. Total weight to be streamed from above - 50 tons.

Our kitchen jumps on the luncheon order - five kinds of sandwiches, assorted sweets, coffee, hot cider, popcorn and chips. Production begins and sandwiches are made with extra love and pride. Its not everyday we get to feed Derek Jeter and his pals.

I ask my son if he wants to go. We negotiate a good solution - come and work the early shift, help load in equipment and get things set up - then watch the ceremony. We agree that this is not playing hooky.

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Its pre-dawn on Friday. The GP trucks are readied - 4:30 AM - Todd, Kevin and John guide the crew, pushing the palettes onto the loading dock and into the truck. As the GP team off loads at city hall, dedicated fans are already staking out their strategic locations along Broadway. Everyone is giddy. The hours pass, the smell of fresh brewed coffee fills the air, blue and white linens are artfully arranged on tables, cases of NY State apples piled high in weathered are crates placed on the buffets, platters filled with hand crafted sandwiches come off the refrigerated truck, and the aroma of hot cider permeates the floor. The staff arrives, and a different choreography takes place. The party captain, Forrest, takes direction from the event planner, Josh, that organized all the details under the guidance of our Girardi - Dean Martinus. Chef Marc Spooner checks in to review the 'line up'. This team worked through the night. For them, every day is game day and teamwork is always the key to success.

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And after all the details are covered and reviewed again and again, the parade is underway. Next, the luncheon begins. The room is filled with Yankees, their families and friends. It is low key but vibrant.

We have catered countless celeb events to the point where we no longer turn our heads. But this was an unusual day. The theme was teamwork - the background victory for the mayor and his tireless supporters; the vast network of city agencies who quietly prepared for an uneventful event day; the support services staff (like ours) and of course - the players themselves. Sam took a look around the room - I have never seen him so in awe. His heroes were everywhere. And in the most unpretentious, warm and human way, he shook their hands, exchanged 'hey man' greetings and then watched them march out to face their city.

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