Lou Hammond Associates, one of my all-time favorite hospitality PR firms, happens to represent the 113-year-old Fifth Avenue Association. The association was the first endeavor of its kind to realize the need to create mutually advantageous ties between and among its members. One does not eat all day, one does not buy jewelry all day, one does not shop all day nor does one get beauty care or spa services all day. For all I know, one does not either sleep all day, visit art galleries all day, nor visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral or the (infamous) Trump Tower all day. Christmas carols and ice skating at Rockefeller Center are musts. And so is seeing Cartier’s building wrapped up in a giant red bow.
The “anchors” (or as they say in St. Tropez “Les Locomotives”) of the event are Saks Fifth Avenue and The Pierre (congratulations Francois Olivier Luiggi – you never miss a beat).
One more clear demonstration that the industry we deal with is not strictly hospitality. Nor is it fine dining or luxury retail: it is LUXURY, PERIOD. The one thing people need the most (way beyond money) is imagination. To the nice couple from Holland, Michigan, New York City is a big scary place, where only a few blocks are deemed safe. Those few blocks happen to be on Fifth Avenue, between 61st street (the Pierre) and Rockefeller Center (Saks Fifth Avenue.). Do the thinking for them, have the concierge pick the right restaurant and make them happy.
That, folks, is my gestalt: the whole is more than the sum of the parts.