In the hours before the party kicked off, as the tables were being arranged and the food prepared, the quiet halls of Oheka Castle were a study in stately, refined elegance. The sunset glow filled the library, falling on a portrait of Otto Kahn, the man who built the castle almost a century ago. Among the crews setting up there could be sensed a palpable excitement, but the great building’s towering beauty and gentle grace had a way of hushing their voices and sounds.
But when the Long Island Press’ Best of L.I. 2012 Winners’ Celebration kicked off, the volume could not be contained. From the Game Street Mobile Video Game Theatre in the castle’s courtyard to the free psychic readings in the Addie Kahn Room, the gala was truly an indulgence, an event…a party.
In some respects, it was as spectacular as a three-ring circus or a Fellini film. One could look in any direction and find something to dazzle or captivate. Here, the Terrace Room, was the Hofstra Cheerleaders, putting on an aerial display to a pounding club mix provided by Double G Entertainment; there, in the Grand Ballroom, was a zookeeper from Jungle Bob’s Reptile World, with a Chilean rose tarantula crawling on her hands and a bearded dragon on her shoulder. Here, in the Formal Dining Room, was delectable buffet fare and a well-stocked bar; there, in the Library, was a photographer, from Lifetime Photography, taking portraits of guests. And then there was the pole-dancing exercise display, the rock band (the Electric Dudes), the mascot of the Long Island Ducks (Quackerjack!), the medieval re-enactors, the exotic dancers, Jimmy Gambina from Rocky, the John Travolta (circa Saturday Night Fever) lookalike…
It was, in a word, chaos.
But chaos of the most colorful, wonderful, intoxicating sort; chaos that felt like a truly incredible dream.
Of course, it was all on hand to honor the Long Island Press Best of L.I. 2012 winners, many of whom were on hand, too—some who set up tables and displays to boast of their services and wares, some who walked around and met their fellow winners and ate and drank and danced. In all, some 600 people poured into the castle that evening, and their revelry shook the place, lit it up—not unlike those magnificent parties that occurred on these very grounds in the Roaring ’20s, the same parties that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to write The Great Gatsby.
To describe the event invites accusations of hyperbole or fabulism. But anyone who was there knows: It was every bit as wild and memorable as it sounds. Better than that, even. The best.
(All photos by Lifetime Photography – www.lifetimephotographyny.com)