Your child’s coming of age is a truly momentous occasion. And if you’ve got a bar or bat mitzvah coming up in your family, understandably, you may be feeling some pressure around finding the perfect venue. Where’s the best place to celebrate after the ceremony? And how can you make this day something your family and friends are going to talk about for years to come?
When you’re marking a special milestone like this, waterfront venues can be a compelling option. Besides all the usual party amenities you’re looking for, a waterside setting provides a stunning backdrop for your guests, encourages wonder and reflection, and just generally underlines the sense of occasion.
In Westchester County, flanked as we are by the Hudson River and Long Island Sound, we’re fortunate to have an abundance of premier waterfront venues to choose from. Whether you want a happening downtown vibe or postcard pretty spot outside of town – and whether you want to invite everyone you know or prefer a more intimate celebration – there are plenty of breathtaking spots in and around the county that have that extra-special feel. So as your son or daughter reaches this significant stage, why not hit the waterfront for your celebration and create gorgeous memories that will last a lifetime!
23rd St. and Hudson River Park,
New York, N.Y.
The view – A stunning panorama of the Hudson River. Take in the New Jersey skyline, see the Statue of Liberty and ocean liners and luxury yachts drifting by.
The vibe – Modern, loft-like spaces coupled with expansive sports venues and acclaimed catering.
The space – Chelsea Piers offers several spectacular event locations depending on the size of your group. Sunset Terrace, a 3,400-square-foot riverside space, is popular for bar and bat mitzvahs, and offers magnificent urban views for parties of 50 to 300.
Unique features – “Experiences here are highly customizable depending on what you’re envisioning,” says Sherwin Johnson, vice president of Chelsea Piers. He adds that the venue can supply experienced staff and expert planning advice to bring your vision to life. Options here include formal sit-down dinners, and casual stand-up receptions with dancing. It’s also easy to keep the kids happy with the mind-boggling assortment of activities onsite – from ice skating to baseball, rock climbing and sand volleyball. Johnson says staff can create custom activities for you as well, like a mini-Olympics or pedestal jousting tournament. “No two parties are the same and we try not to put anyone in a box,” he says.
5 John Walsh Blvd., Peekskill, N.Y.
The view – “We have a gorgeous view of the Hudson river,” says venue representative John Sharp, adding that features such as plentiful floor-to-ceiling windows and glass railings all help to bring the outdoors in.
The vibe – Industrial chic in historic Peekskill.
The space – This 34,000 sq. ft. multi-event space accommodates groups of up to 300, and includes a well-equipped dance floor plus an outdoor balcony deck, one of the largest in Westchester. Sharp says, “The beauty of the space is there’s one large dining area but there’s also private party rooms that connect to it, so we can easily accommodate adults in one area and the kids in another – then everybody gets together in the big dining hall for dinner and dancing.”
Unique features – For the adults, there’s chef-driven seasonal cuisine and a craft brewery onsite. To help kids shake off extra energy, the lower level features activities such as laser tag, shuffleboard, rock climbing, ropes courses and a full arcade. Staff can also set up a pretty cool kids’ lounge complete with mocktail bar featuring lots of fun juice concoctions. “There’s lots of activities that people can add to the event here to give kids a full experience,” says Sharp.
500 Steamboat Road, Greenwich, Conn.
The view – The Delamar offers front-and-center breathtaking views of Greenwich Harbor, the marina, as well as passing yachts and sailboats.
The vibe – Elegant luxury with touches of Southern France.
The space – If quintessential luxury is what you’re after, this Delamar property is it. Named one of the top New England hotels in the 2016 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, this venue is ideal for a more formal mitzvah celebration. The 2,000 sq. ft. Antibes Ballroom can accommodate large parties or be divided to accommodate smaller ones. Tall glass doors reveal a waterfront terrace that runs the length of the building, as well as the Delamar’s private 500-ft. dock.
Unique features – Celebrated executive chef Frederic Kieffer kicks things up a notch with world-class cuisine. To entertain guests young and old, choose from a private yacht cruise (up to 100 people can be accommodated) departing right from the Delamar’s private dock. Or book facial massages and mani-pedi’s in the hotel’s full-service day spa to delight your beautiful bat mitzvah crew.
2 South Astor St., 3rd Floor, Irvington, N.Y.
The view – From this spot just south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, enjoy spectacular unobstructed sightlines of the Hudson River.
The vibe – Industrial chic in the heart of the Hudson Valley.
The space – A converted warehouse, this venue features 9,000 sq. ft. of raw space, a handy freight elevator and onsite parking. The interior offers hardwood floors, exposed ductwork, raw steel beams and exposed original concrete walls. And to help you realize the event of your dreams, the venue has a list of handpicked vendors, including caterers, event designers and photographers at your disposal.
Unique features – “We’re a unique space because we’re actually a raw space,” says Tracey Vitale, marketing events advisor. “I like to say we’re a clean palette, and tell clients to let their imaginations run wild in terms of color scheme, theme, whatever hoopla it is they want to bring in,” she says, adding that the flexibility can also make a raw space a more cost-effective option than traditional venues with set package pricing. “I think a lot of parents and kids really enjoy it because they just go to so many bar and bat mitzvahs and they get jaded pretty quickly in spaces they’ve been to time and time again.”
Connie Jeske Crane is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Westchester Family.