The 2013 Long Island Hospitality Ball, to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, was held on Monday, June 3, 2013 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY.
The gala was created and organized by Keith Hart, a hospitality industry mainstay and cancer survivor, to raise funds for charity by showcasing offerings from the region’s top restaurants, wine and spirit brands, nightclubs and entertainers as well as hotels and catering halls.
Newsday’s Jim Bernstein and Erica Marcus called the 2011 inaugural event “one of the largest fundraising events in years to raise money to battle cancer” and “a food-industry showcase.” The night of sensory delights — light, sound, food and drink — raised more than $170,000, was enjoyed by 1500 guests, and made possible by more than 150 industry sponsors.
Continuing at the heart of the affair in 2012 is Keith Hart, who is best known for his eponymous marketing agency on New York’s nightlife and entertainment scene. Hart’s private battle with thyroid cancer, now in remission, inspired him to go public with his mission, and rally the industry to join the fight against cancer, through an extraordinary evening of dining, dancing and donating.
In the spirit of generosity, three industry peers were honored in 2012 for their achievements:
- Anthony “Tony” Greco, a 40-year hospitality industry veteran and owner of York Grill in Manhattan who is best known for directing operations of premier nightspots in New York City and Long Island including Uncle Sam’s and “Malibu” Beach Club. He is also a founding member of the Long Island Hospitality Ball’s 1980s forerunner, the Bartenders’ Ball, serving for several years as chairman.
- Steve Haweeli, founder and president of WordHampton Public Relations, the region’s number one hospitality PR firm, in addition to being known for strategic counseling, media expertise and as an early adopter of social media to build brand reputations, is responsible for the creation of Long Island Restaurant Week, Hamptons Restaurant Week and Long Island Restaurant News.
- Larry Romer, a 30-year veteran of the beverage industry, since 2004 has overseen the spirits business for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York and for many years held senior roles with Jim Beam (Future Brands), The Coca-Cola Bottling Company and the Paddington Corporation. Coming full circle with this award, Romer was a sponsor of the fundraiser’s forerunner, the Bartenders’ Ball, in the 1980s.
The Long Island Hospitality Ball, reflecting the breadth and depth of the region’s now mature hospitality business, was modeled on the Bartenders’ Ball, an annual fundraiser, originating in 1978, that spread to Long Island and other major markets from Washington D.C., to aid local charities and honor industry leaders.
Opportunities for industry sponsorship and participation are also available.