MEET on Bowery Spurs Creative Collaboration

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MEET on Bowery, meeting
Rosé on the rooftop at MEET on Bowery

“Is it time for wine?” That was the saying on the coffee mug I chose to start my day at MEET on Bowery in New York City.

There’s a huge selection of colorful ceramic mugs to choose from, most with cheery sayings meant to bring a chuckle. But like everything else at MEET on Bowery, they are an intentional touch serving an important purpose. “People will choose a mug that’s a reflection of their personality,” says MEET Co-founder Sara Schiller. “It can be a great icebreaker at the start of the day.”

Frankly, every touch you experience at MEET makes you want to talk about it, from the original Banksy on the wall to the delicious lunch from a local eatery that’s all the rage, The Meatball Shop. Who knew they only serve meatballs but never spaghetti, the out-of-towners marveled (after all, it’s all about the meatballs), while the New Yorkers in the group explained that you can order ziti, but only on the side.

Prevue has used the MEET conference centers for two of its Visionary Summits. In May, the Global Meeting Summit was held at the Bowery location, which was a huge hit with attendees, who applauded us for trading a Midtown location for this hip part of the city. The Salon, located atop a historic building, comfortably sat 38 in pods of custom tables designed with wallpaper from Flavor Paper in Brooklyn. There’s also a restful Meditation Lounge, decorated with hand-painted Buddahs from Nepal and silk fabric draped from the ceiling, set back from the action—a perfect place for attendees to make calls in private.

A highlight was rosé on the roof—when it was time for wine—served in the rooftop garden. With ivy-covered trellises, comfortable seating around café tables and sweeping views of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, this gem of a venue left attendees feeling like they had an authentic neighborhood experience.

MEET’s flagship venue, MEET on Chrystie, was the setting of the opening reception for last year’s Global Meeting Summit. The bright and colorful Bee Room overlooks a Lower East Side park and, with its comfy velvet sofas and bookshelves filled with books on art and design, feels more like a private apartment than a conference center. A favorite touch was the 21 Chen Karlsson Favorite Things lamps that allow the clients to customize and fill them with objects they choose.

The latest property is MEET in SoHo with two fully private meeting spaces, The Breakthrough Studio and a separate conference room. It was designed for larger groups and can accommodate various layouts for up to 150 guests. Like the others, it draws from the neighborhood’s charm.

MEET Co-founders (and couple) Sara and Marc Schiller started MEET with Meet at the Apartment in 2008, tapping into a craving for creative meeting spaces (as Sara, a former Starwood exec, puts it, “No more beige!”). But this conference center product is not just about look and feel. The tech infrastructure and support were top-notch; at Prevue’s Summit at Bowery, attendees were commenting on the fast Wi-fi speed. Instead of a convention services manager, we were assigned our own meeting concierge to fill our requests. Everything went off without a hitch.

MEET, whichever location, is a fascinating and unparalleled intersection of art, design, technology and service.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.