From the New Yorker, a glimpse at the work of a Manhattan party planner. Here, Mauro helps a young Jewish private school girl and her mother prepare for her bat mitzvah, the ceremony in which a girl marks her entrance into the fullness of communal religious life:
Mikayla, a seventh grader at Chapin, arrived with her mother, Amy Shecter, who is the C.E.O. of CorePower Yoga. Mauro began his pitch: “This is your bat mitzvah,” he said. “Don’t let me go down a wrong road because you feel like you’re going to hurt my feelings.”
Mikayla, who wore a plaid T-shirt and had her hair in a ponytail, nodded.
“So where is this party?” he asked.
Shecter said, “It’s at Arena”—a Times Square night club with interiors reminiscent of the Death Star. “We’re having our ceremony there, too. We thought we would put velvet curtains around anything you have to set up early.”
“My stuff at a service is ugly,” Mauro said. “You don’t have a photo booth in a temple.”
Shecter said, “I think it’s important to understand that this is a family event for us. We want it to be about the celebration of the bat mitzvah. I know Mikayla feels very strongly about this.” She went on, “We’re taking a very artsy approach to the ceremony. I’m Jewish, my husband is Greek Orthodox—so we’re using poetry and music.” She added, “Mikayla’s at an all-girls school, so it’s going to be more of a girl-power event.”
Mauro: “Are you inviting boys that you’re friends with or just cousins who are boys?”
Mikayla: “Um, cousins, and maybe camp friends?”
Mauro: “Then we need that one item to make them know we didn’t forget about them.” He suggested an L.E.D. air-hockey table.
Shecter: “Maybe something that’s unisex?”
Mauro: “I’m not going lipstick station here.”
Shecter: “We should tell you about our ideas, because we definitely want a makeup area. Mikayla’s initials are M.A.K., like MAC Cosmetics, so we thought we could play on that.”
Mauro pulled up a photo of an illuminated vanity table. “This is our beauty bar,” he said. “We could do some type of photo station with it.”
Shecter nodded. “Did we talk about anything else?” she asked her daughter.
Mikayla said, “Airbrushed stuff? Hats or something?”
Airbrushed hats. Think of it.