New FiDi Association holds luxe night out


BY Janel Bladow

Under a clear sky and with a cool breeze in the air, people took to the streets in the Financial District Thursday night for the first annual “Luxury Night Out.”

Sponsored by the newly formed FiDi Association, a group of local business owners organized to promote commerce in the neighborhood, the event appeared to be a super hit with residents and visitors alike.

Taking a cue from the successful Fashion Night Out uptown, more than a dozen local high-end retailers along Wall and Broad Streets joined forces for a night of shopping and sipping and snacking.

The luxe fun began in the afternoon and continued through the early evening at Andaz, 75 Water Street.

“We had a great crowd,” said spa manager Holly Byerly, who offered free reflexology treatments. “About half were local workers and half live here.”

At BMW of Manhattan on Wall Street, revelers sipped wine and nibbled cheeses while checking out the new MINI “Countryman,” which doesn’t officially go on sale until 2011.

“This is the first preview of this model in Manhattan,” said Jeffrey A. Falk, president of MINI of Manhattan, who greeted guests at the door. “This event is spectacular—great for downtown.”

He noted that BMW, which opened its Wall Street dealership in 2005, sent out 2,000 email blasts to its customers.

“BMW is instrumental in the FiDi resurgence as an upscale residential community,” Falk added.

A few doors west at La Maison Du Chocolat, people tasted hot guayaquil chocolate and dark chocolate ganache with lemon zest. Farther up the street at Tiffany’s, guests shopped for jewelry while savoring canapés and signature Bellinis prepared on the spot by Cipriani Downtown.

Shannon Cassadayho with her husband Calvin and their six-month old son, London, enjoyed the glittery moment chatting with Concierge Tony Vaughan.

“This is a wonderful night,” said the Jackson Heights resident who heard about the event in an email blast. “We started with foot massages at Andaz, then had chocolate ganache at La Maison and now having a Bellini! It doesn’t get better than this!”

At Pink, Daniel O’Donnell of Bank of America Merrill Lynch sipped white wine with store manager Karen Stanton and seven of his colleagues. “A couple glasses of wine, two new shirts and two ties make for a great night,” joked O’Donnell.

J.P. Connolly, managing partner of the Capital Grille, served Pink guests tuna tarter on potato crisps. He moved to FiDi two years ago and now is a major champion of the area. “Downtown is a great place to be,” remarked Connolly.

Michael Winston, general manager of Tourbillion, (marking its 16th month on Wall Street) said it was a wonderful night.

“It’s great. All these businesses got together to pull off this night for the neighborhood. Love it.”

On Broad Street at Bobby Van’s, both bars were packed and some local residents were enjoying themselves so much they didn’t get beyond the bar’s heavy wooden doors.

Many participants wound up the night at the Setai Spa on Broad Street, where they were treated to mini-reflexology massages and rejuvenating facials.

“I think this is great for business and residents,” said Battery Park local Lena Rodriguez, who enjoyed the pampering. “Very upscale. Very chic!”

Only one person had any regrets.

Jiovanni Olando of Hirsute at 82 Wall Street, said he was enjoying the night out but was sorry his salon wasn’t part of the stellar event.

“It’s a great networking opportunity. I’m in next time.”