Each year in May, a super sophisticated, dressed to the nines crowd, flocks to lower Manhattan on a Saturday morning. At first glance, one would assume it’s a summer wedding but with a closer look, you start to notice the picnic baskets, umbrellas and the undeniable look of people dressed for a polo match. This is a crew like none other that can be spotted from miles away. Just to give you a clear picture, they are dressed more stylish than any fashion show I have ever attended. Looking through the crowd, you will see everything from bonnets and fascinators to couples dressed in custom-made matching outfits.
Last year, I noticed this well-dressed crowd of people fluttering down towards Battery Park and couldn’t help but stare with envy. Where were they all going and how could I get in on the fun!? After much questioning and complimenting people’s outfits, I found out they were headed to the annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Liberty Park. I made a distinct note in my calendar to buy tickets for the 2018 Polo match so I could be a part of this spectacular event.
So this year, I’m excited to say I was part of the dressed to the nines crowd that was walking towards Battery Park. In order to get to “heaven on champagne” you have to line up and wait to take a ferry. I would like to point out that I am not a person who typically waits in line…in fact I detest it! However, waiting in line for the ferry was not as bad as I had expected. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised. We were all in the “same boat” so to speak, or at least waiting in line for the same ferry to take us to Liberty Park. All aboard were dressed to impress and happy to mingle.
When you check in for the ferry, you are given a wristband to wear in order to enter the event. The two gentlemen in line behind me were quick to inform me that the wristband was an important part of the day, not just proof of entry. The wristband was decorated with the classic Veuve Clicquot logo along with a champagne bottle and two wine glasses. The gentlemen further explained that once you entered the event, you were only allowed to purchase one bottle of champagne and two glasses (due to New Jersey state laws). I assumed a glass of champagne would be included in the cost of the ticket but oh contraire!
This is where the lovely gentlemen became even more helpful. Being that they were Veuve Clicquot Polo veterans, they gave me the scoop on the do’s and don’ts of the day. Many people trade wristbands with each other depending on how many bottles versus glasses they want to purchase; some people will trade a glass for a bottle or vice versa. They also told me to make sure to share my unused drink stickers from my wristband to someone in need haha! If you aren’t going to use them, might as well let someone else enjoy them! The lines to buy drinks and food are very long and the venue is extremely crowded. The gentlemen recommend throwing down a blanket and claiming your spot before heading straight to the gourmet food trucks. Food sells out rather quickly so get it before it’s gone. This was all great advice so thanks guys!
In term of style, I felt prepared with my outfit but logistically, not so much. Because this was my first time attending, I wasn’t sure which tier of tickets to purchase. I purchased the VIP tickets, not the pricey “VIP Rose Garden” tickets. Note to self, I will most likely opt for the Rose Garden next year. The Rose Garden has covered seating and bottle service along with it’s own private area to order food. I honestly had no idea this was going to be an all-day type of event. I thought I would head to the event, have a drink, watch a little polo and head home. Not so much. I was pleasantly surprised with how much fun I was having and decided to enjoy the day at Liberty Park. It was, after all, my first polo match so I decided to stay for the whole match. Plus, it was a 15-minute walk from the ferry to the venue (YES, you heard me right…15 minute walk). Make sure to bring a tote with a pair of flats to wear during the long walk. Trust me, the people wearing heels were not happy. Once I made my way over to the venue and ordered a glass of Veuve, I was in it for the day and there was no turning back!
Many people (the veterans) had set up beautiful picnic blankets, chairs and incredible food spreads! It was so nice to walk around and see everyone’s setup, each one better than the next. Once I settled in with my champagne, food, I was excited and intrigued to watch the polo match! But to my dismay, there was NOWHERE to sit! If you didn’t bring a blanket, chair or purchase the VIP Rose Garden tickets, you were kind of out of luck. I ended up finding a spot in the far back but note to self, pack a picnic blanket for next year (think beach with out the sand or water).
There were plenty of photo ops set up by Veuve around Liberty Park. Since I am an avid Instagrammer, I was all about waiting in line to get the perfect picture. As I mentioned before, waiting in line is not my favorite thing to do but this time it was different. It was a great time to mingle with people in line and well; champagne was involved so all was good.
Let me also mention that this particular day in May was a scorcher! I mean it was truly one of the hottest days to date. No, I mean like really HOT, HOT, HOT! The forecast had said it was going to rain but they were wrong. Even though I was beyond hot, I kept reminding myself that it was better to be hot than cold! Plus, cooling off with an ice-cold glass of Veuve Clicquot helped quite a bit. Ok, now lets talk about the amazing drink options! You could choose to order a classic glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne, Veuve Rose, Veuve Rose infused with cucumber or my personal favorite, Veuve Rose infused with pineapple. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a goblet of Veuve (or 2) so much in my life. Funny enough, the only line that went rather quickly was the drink line. I opted for the glasses instead of the bottles (Whoa, Nelly, keep in mind I still had a 15-minute walk back to the ferry and a rocky ferry ride home). So two (large goblets) was good for me! Between the scorching heat and lack of shade, this was the most refreshing drink. There is just something so nice about drinking rose during summer. Try infusing it with pineapple and it takes it to another level. This was truly one of the best drinks I have ever tried!
I have to admit that I didn’t know much about polo except from watching the classic 1990’s scene from Pretty Woman! Thank you Julia Roberts for the intro!! I actually noticed many people wearing polka dots, including one fashion forward lady with a replica of Julia’s look! Go girl! Remember how chic her outfit was in the movie? Do you also remember the stomping of the divots? Yes, they actually do it at every match. It was so fun to mingle with others during the stomping of the divots! This is where you really were able to see everyone’s incredible outfits. Bottom line, if you wear a nice summer dress and a fascinator, you will fit in perfectly!
All in all, even with the heat, the lines and 15-minute walk (each way), I had a fantastic time. We should all go next year, who’s in? I really can’t believe it took me as long as it did to attend this fabulous event. It’s truly one of those amazing pre-summer kick off events in NYC that you just can’t miss. Book your sitter now and plan a day (and plan your outfit) for next year and I’ll see you there. But this time, I’ll be prepared with a picnic, blankets, chairs and flat shoes!