Mitzvah Market Magazine: A Bar Mitzvah at JFK’s New TWA Hotel

Mitzvah Market Magazine: A Bar Mitzvah at JFK’s New TWA Hotel

By Brynne Magaziner

The only turbulence at Benny’s Bar Mitzvah was on the dance floor. His celebration was the very first Bar Mitzvah to fly at the new TWA Hotel at JFK Airport on September 7, 2019. The unique venue restored and redesigned the 1962 TWA Flight Center into a retro hotel and event space with nostalgic touches everywhere.

The venue was a perfect and meaningful location that combined Benny’s love of aviation, geography, history, and travel. Benny’s mom vividly remembers traveling through the terminal as a child and Benny’s parents took their very first trip together from its gates. Because of all of these factors, the family took a leap of faith and booked the property while it was still under construction.

There were a lot of uncertainties in planning a party without having actually seen the completed venue, so they worked closely with the venue, planner Amy Rubel of Rubel Event Management, and event designer Tina LaMorte of Oh So Fabulous. They also used artist renderings to utilize and enhance what was planned for the TWA Hotel.

Guests knew they were in for something special from the start, when they received their passport-shaped invitations. The rest of the event stayed perfectly on theme. The hosts provided bus transportation from New York City to the event venue. While waiting in traffic, adults enjoyed beverage service by bartenders. Kids munched on popcorn served in custom containers with Benny’s logo and drank juices with names like Malawi Mango and Costa Rica Clementine.

Once they arrived at the hotel, guests walked through the jetway (which you may have seen in the movie “Catch Me If You Can”) to receive their first-class tickets on BNF Air. The adult cocktail hour took place in the Landmark Hall named as a nod to the building’s landmark status. Adults sampled various “Captain’s Cocktails“ and “In-Flight Snacks,” surrounded by historic TWA artifacts. Then they “boarded” the party through the giant airplane hangar doors to the Constellation Ballroom.

Inside the ballroom, red, white, retro, and aviation elements were everywhere, from centerpieces of airplanes and runways, to tables named after airport abbreviations, to “Inflight Menus” and “First Class Mocktails.” The family carefully chose the menu knowing they wanted to serve primarily dairy and fish during cocktails and ensuring that all meat was certified kosher. Benny’s friends relaxed in the First Class Lounge with comfy couches featuring pillows declaring “Born to fly” and “Up, up and away!” Gobo lights included his logo and airplane propellers on the wall.

Benny’s logo was a play on the “TWA” tag, with his initials “BNF.” The venue’s iconic Solari split flap message board (like you once saw in all transportation hubs) said “Mazel Tov Benny on your Bar Mitzvah.”

As a different twist on the traditional photo booth, a photographer shot vignettes of guests in front of TWA artifacts with decade-appropriate props. The photos were then made into luggage tags.

Even the dance floor area kept to the theme with its custom logo wrap and giant screens which projected images of airplanes, moving propellers, and cloud-filled skies. Guests danced the night away with the help of MC Jordan of Xplosive Entertainment. Jordan and his dance crew wore shirts that said “Ground Crew.” When it came time for dessert, flight attendants served nostalgic candy, mini apple pies and churros from an inflight food cart brought right to the dance floor.

Benny’s friends and out-of-town guests received white retro toiletry bags with a variety of helpful and fun items for travel, including LED message fans, an inflatable neck pillow, a lip balm, screen cleaner/earbud combo, and mini suitcases filled with jelly beans.

Mom offers the following advice for parents planning their own celebration: “Make it personal and get creative. There are so many ways to incorporate a theme in a fun way and keep it Jewish. I love that we offered guests an opportunity to color a traveler’s prayer keychain for their luggage.”

Vendor Directory

The following vendors helped to make Benny’s celebration special. If you contact them please tell them you read about their services on MitzvahMarket.com:

Venue: TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, 212-790-373
Planner: Amy Rubel, Rubel Event Management, 917-886-8609
Decor: Tina LaMorte, Oh So Fabulous, 201-981-7280
Invitations: Out of the Box NY, 914-934-2323
Montage: Marvelous Montages, 732-431-4391
Graphics and Logos: Robin Hammer Design, 917-439-5889
Photography: Cynthia Chung, 646-678-0777
DJ/Games/Photo Novelty: Xplosive Entertainment, 732-866-1620
Projection and Lighting: Lumi Events, 718-850-5864
Dance floor decal: Holo-Walls, 818-735-3565
Dancer T-shirts: Custom Ink, 800-293-4232
Ipad artist: Drawing Booth, 347-593-8663
Favors: 4imprint.com, beau-coup.com, and bigpromotions.net
Transportation: M&V Limousines Ltd, 800-498-5788
Bus Snacks: Colby Ridge Popcorn, 800-328-2676 
Bus Bartenders: Nadine Personal Bartending Services, 347-670-6166

Mitzvah Market Magazine 2019-2020

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