Over the past 20 years, Landmark Hospitality has built a huge and diversified portfolio of restaurants, venues and boutique hotels in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas. (Hudson House in Jersey City hosted a party for Nancy Shevell’s family freight business and hubby Paul McCartney actually performed!)
To celebrate the “Big 20” milestone, owners Frank and Jeanne Cretella (pictured above with daughter Maddy) curated a memorable night set against Liberty House’s breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Evening highlights included a long and diverse DJ set from rap legend Grandmaster Flash who helped bring “scratching” into vogue, food and drink from the Liberty House team, a celebratory toast from the Cretella’s, circus style performers and a spectacular fireworks display over the Hudson River. It just so happens that the “backyard” of Liberty House has the best view of the skyline of any NJ restaurant and it even feels like you can reach out and touch Ellis Island when you are standing on their second floor balcony.
There were plenty of surprises including acrobats, a 3D selfie machine (as picture above), glamazons dressed up like the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, a giant gold picture frame that created the perfect “framed” photo op with the NYC skyline in the background and a live ice sculpture session! You can see Maddy Cretella and two pals taking advantage of the selfie machine in the photo above!
As for the food, Liberty House is a premiere wedding destination and so you just knew that everything served would be fabulous. There were two different “cold” food tables that included the world’s greatest locally made buratta, pasta salads, focaccia and more. There was a pasta station serving buttery fettuccine out of giant wheels of Parmesan cheese, a long table of sushi, and even a Hawaiian favorites table with coconut shrimp, chicken with vegetable fried rice and beef skewers with various sweet dipping sauces.
There was a very glamorous cake made in the image of Liberty House and its environs. It included an adorable little Statue Of Liberty made out of fondant and I wondered at the end of the evening if someone took it home as a souvenir or actually ate it! The cake was covered in white buttercream and the layers were yellow with a colorful confetti effect. It was quite delicious and had that classic birthday cake taste!
The Cretellas took the stage in the middle of the event and thanked everyone who had worked at their many properties over the years, along with legendary musical artists who have performed at Liberty House. (I could not believe the list of legendary artists who have performed there!) Frank Cretella mentioned that at one point in her pre-fame days, Mariah Carey was a waitress at a LI resto that he owned! The guest DJ was Grandmaster Flash as noted above and he did a solid 90 minute set of classic dance floor tunes that went from about 1978 to the early 00s. This member of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame played everything from Neil Diamond to Michael Jackson and back again–there was a healthy helping of disco classics and naturally, he played Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s biggest hit, “The Message.” Grandmaster Flash looked like he was having a great time even though at one point he was competing against the fireworks. Other celebs spotted at the event were members of the Wu-Tang Clan and Constantine Maroulis.
Speaking of fireworks, they were absolutely gorgeous and on a par with the Grucci Family fireworks presentation given each year by Macy’s. The effect of fireworks against the NYC skyline was amazing, as you might imagine. The whole “shebang” lasted about 20 minutes and no one could take their eyes off the sky–you would see a new starburst style design seemingly every ten seconds!
I hope to go back to Liberty House for a quiet brunch or dinner. It will undoubtedly be different without fireworks and a fun-loving crowd of 300 partygoers, but I would love to peer out on that skyline on a sunny day. I would also like more of the fabulous Vodka Lemonade that I so easily kicked back at four or five open bars at the 20th anniversary event. The Liberty House holds all sorts of events all year long so be sure to keep up with them as well as their sister properties on landmarkvenues.com.
Photos by Kyran John and Michael Dempsey except for cake, food table and 3D selfie machine shots.