The New York and New Jersey chapters of the National Association for Catering & Events (NACE), along with the Banquet Event Strategic Task Force (BEST Task Force), held an in-person gathering in August, their first since the start of the pandemic. VERSA Rooftop and Restaurant in NYC served as the venue for 25 mask-wearing attendees, who met to discuss the efforts of the Live Events Coalition and the BEST Task Force’s efforts in government to pass legislation to open events back up safely, and to secure funding to avoid future closures. Speakers included Arthur Backal, CEO of Backal Hospitality Group and State of the Art Enterprises; B. Allan Kurtz, managing director of Gotham Hall; and Mike Warren, director of catering of CPS Events. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails were passed throughout the evening, as conversations about the future of the industry were shared.

The spirit of the French Riviera has found a home in the Rockaways. At Bar Marseille, French bistro classics, Provencal cocktails and plenty of seafood pair with views of the ocean, emulating the Mediterranean port city that the establishment was named after.


Just like the rest of the world, the hospitality and travel industries slammed to a halt when the pandemic hit last March. Some sectors within them had built-in solutions to focus on, such as hotels limiting capacities and restaurants focusing on takeout and delivery. But for many businesses within the related meetings and events realm, there were no natural alternatives to turn to.


With the events industry at a near standstill, Jess Doren realized this may have been the moment she’d been waiting for. Having produced large-scale events for big brands like Apple and Buzzfeed, she’d had little time in the past to develop events of her own, but this past summer, she and a team of fellow event pros set out to gather a community craving connection.