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Day 3 (Part B): Holiday Party Crash - Forbes Life

Forbes Life President Bob Forbes, Publisher Jack Laschever, Boss Editor Chris Buckley and ... me

The Forbes company likes its parties on home turf.  Whether that turf is the yacht, the townhouse, or their venerated Forbes building, if they’re hosting a party, it’s probably going to be at one of them.  So when Forbes Life, the “lifestyle supplement” with glossy ad pages headed by the cheerfully sardonic editor in chief Christopher Buckley, invited us to crash its holiday celebration last night, we weren’t surprised to read “60 5th Avenue.”  And when we walked up to the offices, it seemed incredibly appropriate that, instead of a Christmas tree, there sat a shiny white Rolls Royce with an enormous red bow.  Merry Christmas from the Capitalist Tools!

Inside the garland-and-tinsel-laden lobby, the 12 person editorial staff mingled with the business side, and both chatted up the advertisers.  (Unlike most magazine’s holiday parties, they were warmly – shrewdly? – invited to join in the festivities.)  A four-person brass band played from the stairwell, and the two front rooms held upwards of 60 guests, as well as a silent auction to benefit the Salvation Army, an ornament engraver, and a magician who did tricks with a dollar bill (of course).  The building’s revolving doors were shut off to hold a makeshift bar, and the red-tablecloth’d buffet looked like a slightly bigger version of your family holiday party – carrot & celery sticks with dip, crackers & cheese, a ham, and a big tray of red and green sprinkled Xmas cookies.  We almost missed the sushi station with fresh sashimi and California rolls because we were too busy staring at the eggnog.  It was the first party we’ve been to that actually had eggnog, although it didn’t look like anyone’s actually sampled it.  “I’m told it sits like a bowling ball in your stomach,” confided associate editor Taylor Antrim.  “This is my third Xmas party and I’ve never had it.”  Buckley thinks he knows why. “We put polonium 210 in there.”

Sartorially displaying holiday cheer with his bright red Christmas-tree tie, Buckley admitted that he’s been doing this whole “Forbes holiday party thing” for a while, and, he told us, “If I die tomorrow I want it on my tombstone: ‘I made it through 16 consecutive Forbes Christmas parties in the temple of capitalism.’  That’s enough for a posthumous bonus!”  “This party is very calm,” said one staffer who we’ll refrain from naming, “The one that’s really good is facilities – security, kitchen, IT.  It was on Monday and apparently it was WILD.”  “You really can’t compare it to other outside parties,” explained senior editor Thomas Jackson.  “You have to compare it to other FORBES parties. This is like a house party – it’s a known quantity.”

Just then we spotted Bob Forbes, President of Forbes Life (and brother of Steve and Tim and Chris).  So, we asked him, why choose to have the party here instead of … “going to a really cool hotel in Singapore?” the eavesdropping Buckley interjected.  “No,” we insisted, turning back to Forbes.  “Instead of, you know, another space?  Here.  In New York.”  “Well,” said Forbes, pretending to muse philosophically, “the reason is very simple: Scottish thrift.”  Ah.  That explains the Rolls!  We snagged a gift bag on our way out – Amstel light glass, a Thank You for Smoking DVD, and Armani code cologne.  Sometimes we love capitalism.

Verdict: Food: 2.5; Drink: 3 (If you like eggnog: 3.5); Venue: 2.5 (If you don’t work there: 3.5); Debauchery: 1.5; Exclusivity: 2

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