In and around Westchester there is a wide array of venues where you can host your child’s bar or bat mitzvah, ranging from grand hotels to cool nightclub-style spaces. We got the lowdown from four local moms on why they chose their particular venue and found out some handy tips for parents when it comes to choosing where to celebrate your child’s very special day.
Club Infinity, Pleasantville
If your son or daughter is begging for a dance party-style event for their friends, then this super-cool venue, which has a New York nightclub vibe, is ideal. Club Infinity has 8,000 square feet of event space and a capacity of 400. As well as state-of-the-art sound and light systems, there is a separate entertainment room with a photo booth and an arcade hall.
Jen Abbey and her husband Jared, who are based in Mamaroneck, selected Club Infinity for their son Ryan’s bar mitzvah party last fall as he wanted a fun, dance-oriented party that his friends would enjoy. Jen was sold on Club Infinity because they offered an all-in-one solution, which meant everything other than food was taken care of, and that made things much easier to plan. The venue offers endless ways to customize your event depending on your budget. Extras include a T-shirt cannon, candy buffet and indoor fireworks.
Ryan’s party started off with a cocktail hour in the lounge where guests mingled before dinner and then friends and family danced the night away in the main room. Party motivators kept kids entertained with plenty of games.
Tip: When it comes to finding the right venue, sit down as a family and come up with a short list of what you want the event to reflect and represent, and use that to guide you.
Glen Island Harbour Club,
Rachel and Craig Felenstein from Rye have chosen Glen Island Harbour Club for their daughter Ayla’s bat mitzvah next year. This stunning waterfront venue can accommodate up to 500 guests and has two ballrooms with separate entrances. After looking at several locations, they decided Glen Island had the vibe they were looking for and Rachel loved the flow of the rooms. A big selling point was the setting and the outdoor space overlooking the Sound with the New York skyline in the distance. Given that the event will be in May, they wanted somewhere with outside entertaining potential, so this venue is ideal and the guests can enjoy the views. There will also be a cocktail area for the youngsters, a DJ and plenty of games geared toward the kids. The décor and theme will reflect Ayla’s tastes and interests.
Tip: As well as making sure you sort out the location well in advance, especially during busier times of year, get your child’s input when choosing a venue.
New York Botanical Garden,
The iconic New York Botanical Garden makes a unique and exceptionally beautiful venue for a bar/bat mitzvah. One mom very familiar with the space is Staci Pollack from Larchmont. After going to a bar mitzvah there, she was so impressed that she booked it for her first child’s event and subsequently for her other three children. Her priorities were to have somewhere within easy reach that also had high quality food. The Garden Terrace Room, which has a capacity of up to 300 people, features a ballroom and a tent space for kids’ entertainment.
At her daughter Jordan’s recent bat mitzvah, the caterer was Buddakan. As well serving Kosher-style food, they also provided Kosher meals for some members of her family. Staci loved that there was a place where the kids had cocktail hour, while the adults’ cocktail hour was held outside so guests were able enjoy the spectacular surroundings. This was the first time this option had been offered and Staci felt it really added to the event. Adults had a sit-down dinner, while the kids had food in the lounge area. Each of her kids’ events was tailored to the specific child. Jordan, who is into musical theater, chose an “On Broadway” theme for her celebration.
Tip: Find a venue with quality food and a space that works for the adults and for kids. There should be somewhere where both adults and kids can mix.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester, White Plains
Harrison-based local realtor Meredith Horowitz and her husband David knew they wanted a hotel for their daughter Raquel’s bat mitzvah party, so out-of-town guests could take the elevator to bed instead of facing the hassle of driving home. They decided on the Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester in White Plains because they loved its glamorous feel and they were able to have both the service and party in one place. The luxurious venue has a capacity of up to 320 for a sit down dinner with a dance floor. It also has valet parking and the family gets a complimentary suite.
The service took place in the impressive second floor Gallery with Meredith’s rabbi and was followed by a cocktail hour with an array of food stations and a mocktail bar for the kids.
After dinner in the ballroom, the DJ took to the stage and the kids hit the dance floor. There were party motivators, games, and prizes to keep them entertained all night long. Meredith brought in an outside kosher caterer to prepare the food.
Tip: Decide what kind of party you and your kids want right from the beginning. It’s not always about having a big blow out. In fact, one of Meredith’s friends had a party in their backyard and another had the entire event at their synagogue.
Janine Clements is Westchester-based freelance writer.
Where to Party
Local moms selected these locations for their child’s bar/bat celebration:
404 Irvington St., Pleasantville
Glen Island Harbour Club
50 Glen Island Park, New Rochelle
New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester
3 Renaissance Square, White Plains