Learning the Ways of “Fam-Trips” — In Brooklyn and Queens

moving_image

At Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image, my untrained eyes see this as a lobby; my colleagues see it as an event space.

When Convene editor-in-chief Michelle Russell wished me well on my first “fam-trip,” I was puzzled. What exactly did that mean?

She clued me in that it was shorthand for “familiarization trip,” and I was about to embark on my first one — of Brooklyn and Queens. I’d joined Convene only a few days prior, after several years of writing about food and drink at a Vermont newspaper. Until now, my work-related trips usually consisted of visiting dairy farms or going incognito at restaurants — definitely not whirlwind trips of hotels and meeting spaces.

And so at 8 a.m. yesterday, I climbed the escalator inside the bustling New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge and made my first acquaintance with event planners. All of them were old hands at fam-trips, and all of them were effervescent and warm in a way that writers, especially New England writers, are not used to.

The tour had been arranged by NYC & Company, an organization that handles tourism and marketing for the city of New York. It was a revelation to me that there are a string of new hotels and unique event spaces outside of Manhattan proper — which, I guess, was the point of the trip: outer borough education.

We began the day in a neighborhood I rarely visited during my years in New York: Downtown Brooklyn. On Duffield Street, a trio of hotels have opened since 2010, and new buildings are rising nearby. After breakfast inside the boutique Hotel Indigo (or rather, the Brooklyn Brewhouse, which operates on its ground floor), my tour-mates and I cooed over the funky rooms upstairs. Across the street, we drank in the sunshine and views from aloft Brooklyn’s rooftop lounge, then descended into the adjacent Sheraton Brooklyn’s meeting spaces.

greek_cookies

Greek cookies, one of the many carbs we ate during the day

Three hotels down, two to go — and (as I was soon to learn), lots of food, too. Up in Astoria, brassy tour guide Susan Birnbaum plied us with Sicilian pizza before shepherding us to a few neighborhood joints for powdery Greek cookies, feta, olives, and Middle Eastern-style baklava.

A mile away, at the Laguardia Airport Marriott, “Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day” was in full effect — and the staff’s gathered children shouted “welcome” as we walked in. Then it was down to the ground-floor meeting rooms for more food: Dumplings, chicken Milanese, fried rice, and steak with chimichurri, a display designed to show off Queen’s multicultural riches.

After a visit to the sleek Museum of the Moving Image, we hightailed it to JFK Airport to visit a pair of hotels nearby. Though one planner confided that airport hotels are a “difficult sell” to her clients — who choose New York partly for the Manhattan experience — she nevertheless admired the spaces in each spot. I began to suspect that event planners are relentlessly positive people, no matter the circumstances, no matter if they’ve already seen five hotels that day.

wineryEight hours in, and it was clear that Brooklyn and Queens harbor a wealth of options for event planners — a few of which, such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I didn’t get to see. I’ll write them up in Convene‘s June issue — so stay tuned. What I probably won’t recount, though, are my rookie mistakes: Never wear heels on a fam-trip, and forget about carting around your laptop. By the time we made it to the funky Brooklyn Winery for dinner, I was a limping, bleary-eyed Quasimodo, watching in wonder as my tour-mates (most of them now in evening wear, and looking as fresh as daisies) cast experienced eyes on the winery’s barrel-filled rooms and brick-lined event space. After we polished off some  buttermilk fried chicken and escarole salad, a flurry of business cards exchanged hands, and my fam-trip virginity was no more. I still, however, have a lot to learn.

 

 

This entry was posted in Brooklyn, hospitality. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Learning the Ways of “Fam-Trips” — In Brooklyn and Queens

  1. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a
    comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    Cheers!

    Review my page home inspections questions

  2. Hi, its nice paragraph regarding media print, we all be familiar with media
    is a impressive source of facts.

    Here is my web site … Local Digital Content Service Vancouver

  3. Write a brief introduction for this articles to get your subscribers thinking about it.

  4. I used to be able to find good advice from your articles.

    Feel free to surf to my weblog :: Cheap Freight Shipping Sumas

  5. Very nice article. I certainly love this site.
    Thanks!

    Here is my site; Foundation Repair Kits Colorado Springs CO

  6. Some fans have their rooms with printed images of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael.
    Mini nunchuka, or mini chucks, are about eight inches in length and be concealed more easily than the typical nunchuka.
    Get a discount by signing up for all three seminars INCLUDING the weapons for only $99.

    my web page: custom made bo staff

  7. My partner and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought
    I might as well check things out. I like what I see
    so now i am following you. Look forward to looking into your web page yet again.

    my web page … Transfer Video Tape To Dvd Vancouver

  8. Hi there friends, good paragraph and fastidious arguments commented here, I am really enjoying by these.

  9. This is not to say there was no science involved with
    ninja weapons. This will help the students understand the applications behind each weapons technique
    much better. The same exists for firearms training and competition.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post :: martial arts kamas

  10. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and will eventually
    come back at some point. I want to encourage that you continue your great work,
    have a nice day!

  11. Emile says:

    I like the valuable information you supply on your
    articles. I’ll bookmark ykur blog and test once more right here frequently.
    I’m somewhat certain I will be informed lots off new
    stuff propewr here! Good luck foor the next!

    Also visit my web-site canon digital camera case (Emile)

  12. twitter goes says:

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this
    blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if
    it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

  13. Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone
    3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Carry on the outstanding work!

  14. Magnificent site. Plenty of helpful info here.
    I am sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious.

    And obviously, thank you for your effort!

  15. Hey this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted
    to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly
    appreciated!

  16. cheap viagra says:

    all the time i used to read smaller articles or reviews that also clear their
    motive, and that is also happening with this post
    which I am reading here.

    Visit my site; cheap viagra

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>