ADOTAS – I’d like to welcome November – or what we like to call “end of summer” down here in South Florida. November is when we usually get our first cold snap, which indeed we are – tomorrow’s high is only 79 degrees, but we’ll be back into the 80s by Saturday. I’m told that the weather isn’t quite the same in other parts of the country – that a big nor’easter actually hit somewhere last weekend… probably in the Northeast. I’ve even heard stories of extended power outages, which makes me sweat at the thought – I couldn’t imagine being without A/C for more than 10 minutes.
November also brings many familiar annual events – the crowning of a new baseball champion, the thrills and spills of midseason football, and an annual pilgrimage to New York City. So, congratulations are in order for the St. Louis Cardinals, mourning is apropos for my once mighty Florida Gators, and anticipation mounts for next week’s interactive, advertising, and technology conference – ad:tech!
For the third year, ad:tech will be held at the Javits Convention Center, so plan your lunch meetings accordingly. Last year, one of my clients gave me a midtown address for a lunch meeting when she actually meant the Chelsea location. It’s also the first time in recent history that ad:tech is not taking place before or during the New York City Marathon, so we won’t be fighting with runners wearing those metallic-heat-reflection-sheet-thingies for hotel elevators.
In addition to thousands of digital marketers descending on the city, ad:tech also offers a heaping helping of great keynote speakers. This year’s keynote is Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute and former chairman of CNN. He is the official biographer and author of “Steve Jobs,” and he will be speaking during Wednesday’s delegate lunch. Other notable keynoters include Christian Oestlien of Google, David Fischer of Facebook, Wendy Clark from Coca-Cola, Marc DeBevoise of CBS Interactive, Mitch Spolan of LivingSocial, and Clara Shih of Hearsay Social and the author of “The Facebook Era.”
ad:tech also populates a plethora of parties to pontificate with people on potential partnerships. (Yes, I minored in alliteration at UF.) There are a couple events that I’ve been invited to on Tuesday: Evan from Experience Advertising and Hagai from Digital Moses will be rockin’ out in Brooklyn during the ad:tech NYC Rock and Roll Party. Also, XY7 Elite and Mailer Meetup will be holding their Affiliate After Party at Traffic Bar in Midtown East.
Most of the events are taking place on Wednesday. I’ll definitely be hitting a couple myself, starting off at ultra-chic La Pomme for the event thrown by my friends at AdKnowledge and OpenX. If you’re into music, there is CPA Way’s XPOSURE 2011, featuring Mike Posner, Slick Rick and Naughty By Nature. This event is co-sponsored by FriendFinder Networks, Adscend Media, Digital Bulldogs, Payvment, OfferVault, Adotas, RushCard, Performance Marketing Insider, CornerBlue, Yippy and Fresh CPA.
I’ll end my night at Clickbooth’s Affiliate Awakening, which has been a great event the last couple shows. This mega-party is sponsored by Clickbooth CPC, Calculated Creativity, Authorise, Optizmo, Brain Host, Molding Box, BeNaughty.com and Click&Flirt.
When you’re in New York City, there might be a thing or two going on outside of the conference as well. But don’t take my word for it – I’m just a relaxed, slow-moving South Florida transplant. Allow me introduce this year’s guest author, Jennifer Farrell from AdGent Digital – take it away, Jennie!
JENNIE: Thanks, Warren! Welcome everyone, once again, to the Big Apple! I wish you all successful networking as you celebrate our wonderful industry and the up-and-comers showcased at this year’s ad:tech. If you can manage to slip away from the convention for a few hours, I highly recommend the following for stellar ambiance, great cuisine and people watching:
• The Standard Biergarten: Located right under The Standard Hotel, this is a great group meet up spot to begin a night before heading out in the Meatpacking District or West Village. Throw a few back before heading to Pubmatic’s Nerd:Tech party just upstairs. You may wait in line for about20 minutes, but once in it’s a fun place to have a lot of beers very quickly. Yes, the evening weather may be brisk, but Biergarten is fully equipped with heat lamps to keep everyone toasty.
• Abe & Arthurs: Great New American cuisine — the place to see and be seen. Beautiful crowd so ladies, please dress up, and gentlemen, get ready to pull out your credit cards! The wine list is great as is the food…a great spot for a pre-party client dinner.
• 230 Fifth: A great, heated rooftop bar in lower Midtown with a spectacular view of the city. Good music, good crowd, expensive drinks.
Yes, the Christmas tourists have already arrived. Ahh, tis the season for people walking a mile an hour with their heads permanently up and using their shopping bags as weapons! Leave plenty of time to maneuver around the city as cabs are a rarity in midtown this time of year. Safe travels to you all and I hope to run into you at the Javits Center!
WARREN: Thank you, Jennie! You know, I always hear that my yearly ad:tech New York article primarily focuses on Manhattan, but there’s much more to the city that never sleeps! Well, prepared to be schooled by ADOTAS Senior Editor Gavin Dunaway….
GAVIN: This is going to be my last ad:tech as a member of the Adotas team, so I wanted to impart you conference attendees with some insight into my neck of the woods. Whenever you guys come to shows at Javits or in Times Square, you venture as far out as Chelsea or the East Village, but you’re missing out on the far cooler scene across the East River.
If you’ve peered at a map of the five boroughs, you’ve probably noticed that Brooklyn is freakin’ huge, so I’m just going to give you a primer on the Williamsburg area this time around. Once pretty dangerous (it’s where Serpico was shot!), many consider Williamsburg hipster central (depending on when you travel over, you may see a lot of recent graduates in outrageous outfits desperately seeking attention) but massive condo development has actually sent many of the artists further east (such as my “up and coming” neighborhood of Bushwick). Despite its growing yuppie population, Billyburg still has lots of charm and countless activities for visitors.
First on your list of things to do when getting off at the Bedford L stop (yes, it’s best to ride the subway to Williamsburg — I know, so common) should be a quick walk to East River Park at Kent and N. 8th. The view of the Manhattan skyline is fantastic, and if you’re staying the weekend, there is a food market on Saturday and a flea market on Sunday. Right down the street is the Brooklyn Brewery — on Friday nights and Saturday and Sunday days, you can take a tour and hang out in their hall, sampling craft brews and eating pizza (which you bring yourself — I suggest Vinnie’s on Bedford)
Shopping is great fun in Williamsburg: everywhere you turn you’ll see inexpensive vintage clothing shops full of killer threads as well as small designer shopfronts with cool clothes at half the price of the niche stores. You can’t go wrong with any cafe in the ‘burg, but I suggest Verb because their coffee is rich and you’re likely to see some local musicians of some renown — Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio used to work there and still frequents.
As for eats, those visiting on the weekend should brunch it at The Lodge (biscuits and gravy or the chorizo corncakes) or Ella (kielbasa skillet with eggs and potatoes), but roam around as bad brunch in Billyburg is an oxymoron. For dinner, Thai restaurant SEA may get all the hype (its dining room was featured in Zach Braff’s “Garden State”) but I much prefer Tacu Tacu next door, which blends Peruvian and Southeast Asian cuisines. Munch on the plantain chips and Aji Amarillo sauce, but leave room for my favorite dish, the Malaysian-Indian Mee Goring — noodles, meat (or tofu, which is very tasty), potatoes and tomatoes stir fried in a slightly spicy chili sauce. If you’re not feeling Asian, no worries: there’s Peruvian-style roasted chicken as well as numerous other South American specialties.
Also, Southern-style cuisine is quite big at the moment in the neighborhood, and the place that does it best is probably the Brooklyn Star — killer meatloaf in particular. And sure, you’ll find giant mugs of fine German beer at Radegast Hall & Biergarten, but you won’t believe the quality of the sausages and hamburgers cooking on the grill out back. For those that want the starving artist experience common to many Brooklynites, Oasis serves $3 falafel sandwiches that have become near legendary — well, maybe just to musicians who have spent the rest of their paychecks on music gear and booze.
But Gavin, you’re saying, aren’t you a musician? Where do I go to hear the Brooklyn scene? Well, many places. First, I’d check the website ohmyrockness.com to see who is playing, but adventurous types can hit up Spike Hill, Pete’s Candy Store, The Charleston, Trash Bar (free PBR and rail drinks from 8 to 9 if you pay to see the show), Public Assembly, Cameo, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Glasslands Gallery, Death by Audio, Union Pool and probably a few more I am forgetting…