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Wednesday
Apr302008

Mandarin Madness!

Starting October 29, the center’s Mandarin Oriental hotel will be host to some of Manhattan’s most lavish events. Renting the ballroom alone costs $100,000, then you must add on anything from $200 to $500 a head. But such prices aren’t deterring future brides or bar mitzvah moms, much to the chagrin of competing venues like the Metropolitan Club.

Antiques dealer Marla Helene was so excited about having her son’s December bar mitzvah at the Mandarin that she was willing to whisper sayonara to part of a “five-figure” deposit at the Metropolitan Club, which she’d booked three years ago. “I was dead set on it,” she says, “but this is the new hot commodity!”

The bar mitzvah for 350—with an elaborate Asian theme inspired by her son Jared’s second-degree black belt in karate—will definitely cost more. “We’re going to have geisha girls as greeters and a twelve-foot dragon,” says Helene. (It “was too big for us,” says a Metropolitan Club mouthpiece.)

The Mandarin’s event coordinator, Arthur Backal, who spent more than a decade at the St. Regis and the Pierre, says he’s already booked 44 weddings and 16 bar mitzvahs.

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