What I Learned by Hosting My First NYC House Party

What a weekend! No, I’m not talking about this next one coming up, though I am looking forward to it.  I’m talking about last weekend, when I threw my first ever house(warming) party in the Big Apple!

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Actually, this was the first house party I’ve thrown pretty much anywhere.  It might seem strange coming from a twenty-something, as I’m sure most of my peers have hosted and attended such parties their whole early-adult lives, but for me, I’ve never lived anywhere long enough to feel at home hosting a party – and if I didn’t feel at home, it seemed kind of phony-a-la-Holden-Caulfield to host a housewarming.  I never planned on staying in Malibu when I graduated college. As an expat on a student visa in Italy, I always knew in the back of my mind that one day I would be leaving.  New York is the first city I’ve lived in for the last 10 years where I’ve felt like I am finally putting down permanent roots. I intend to stay here for the foreseeable future, and though I am no psychic, my time in the city that never sleeps is, at the moment, indefinite. It only felt right to celebrate my first REAL, significant move surrounded by the new (and old!) friends that I’ve made over the last 20 months.

Of course, if you’ve ever read my spirit animal Mindy Kaling’s book Why Not Me? (which hits close to home for many reasons because Mindy really is my spirit animal), you’ll know that hosting a party in a tiny, cramped NYC apartment comes with its own set of obstacles and challenges and oh-my-god-how-is-everyone-going-to-fit moments.

Thanks to those moments I learned some life lessons last weekend that I hope to carry forward for the next Friday night fête:

  1. Alcohol > Food
    I don’t mean this in a boozy “you shouldn’t have food because everyone will be too smashed on sangrias to enjoy it,” kind of way, more in the “when you’re budgeting expenses no one is coming for the celery sticks or radish slices, no matter how prettily you arrange them” kind of way. Two thirds of my budget went to wine because without vino, there would be no fun (see what I did there? Okay, enough with the dad jokes). Speaking of booze….
    giphy (31)
  2. Keep it SIMPLE
    I stuck to wine and it was the easiest party in the word with regards to cleanup, drinkability, and space/cost efficiency. No need to worry about having a variety of mixers and making ice and having enough glasses and straws and wine glasses and places to put everything AND…just no. Red, white, and maybe a rosé if you’re feeling fancy. Plus, I’ve got a fridge full of leftover whites and a shelf full of reds. Pretty stocked up for a while (House Party the Movie: Part II…?)
  3. Speaking of space
    I was convinced for a while that there was going to be no space for my guests. As you might remember from my previous post, my apartment is TINY.
    giphy (32).gif
    It’s a New York cliché, but it’s true: my flat is so small that you don’t even need a tour – you can stand in the middle of the kitchen and see all the rooms you need to see, and at nearly twice the monthly payment of my parents’ two-story, 3 bedroom, 2500 square foot house (location, location, location). Not to mention the fact that 4 chairs + 1 bed = all conceivable places to sit. I didn’t even think I was going to be able to fit four more chairs in the apartment, let alone the 10-12 invited guests plus myself PLUS refreshments.
  4. But thank god for neighbors
    …who stopped by with a couple of space-saving chairs and DIDN’T take me up on my offer to take up even more space stay for a drink.
  5. You really need a wing-man (or wing-woman, in my case)
    When I told her I was having a housewarming party, without skipping a beat or even giving this Type A semi control-freak a chance to say her usual “No it’s fine, I’ve got it,” one of my favorite New York friends stepped up to the plate and said “I’ll be there two hours before to help with set up and last-minute prep.” Sure enough, my wing-woman showed up early with extra wine glasses, two bottles of white, and my favorite neon yellow and pink marshmallow Peeps (yes, I am fully aware that no one else on earth actually enjoys Peeps, never mind names them their “favorite”).Typical party prep included me asking questions and my wing-woman ACTUALLY answering them, without hesitation. None of this “whatever you want” bullshit when what you WANT is a freaking answer.Me: “Should I put food and drinks on the table or on the kitchen cart?”
    Her: “Table, we don’t want to stain the cart plus you can keep your iPad plugged in for music.”Me:
    giphy (28)
    Her: Let’s find some Ed Sheeran.”

    Her: “What are you going to serve food on?”
    Me: “These little [ceramic] Ikea plates…
    Her: “Uhhhh let’s use paper. It will be so much easier for cleanup. While you prep food I’ll run out and pick some up along with more paper towels and napkins. And more wine.

    Her: “Let’s move your fruit bowl to the top of the fridge so we have more space for food.”

    Her: “Let’s arrange the chairs like this so it opens up the room. More important than the room, let’s open up that bottle of white while we’ve got a twenty-minute advantage on everyone.”

    Speaking of being thankful for friends…

  6. My friends are pretty freaking amazing
    I mean, I knew this already, but my friends went above and beyond to make the party a blast, not only by bringing fun, drinks, food, and helping hands, but also just by being them. Besides the fact that I woke up to a spotless kitchen thanks to their help, I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in a long time. Part of the laughing, of course, was due to:
  7. Telestrations After Dark – my new favorite party game
    I’ll say it – it’s even more fun than Cards Against Humanity. It’s like telephone-pictionary for adults. If you’ve never played it, get thee to The Uncommons and play immediately! Ladies, don’t wear mascara – you’ll probably laugh-cry it all off anyways.
  8. Make sure you remember to eat before you host a party with enough wine for Sparta’s 300
    IMG_5391Note: This was only the wine that *I* bought. About this much was still left over!Seriously. Don’t forget to eat dinner – your Sunday-morning self will thank you, unlike mine, which took out her revenge on my body for the next 12 hours.
  9. But thank God I live in New York City because:
    FullSizeRender (1)

 

Happy Friday everyone!

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