British Invasion: NYC’s Big British Invite
This past weekend, Britain invaded the cobblestoned streets of New York’s Soho neighborhood with the Big British Invite. Visit Britain and British Airways teamed up to sponsor this two-day pop-up exhibit to showcase the attractions shaping the scenes of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Instead of iconic castles and Harry Potter tourism adverts, we were welcomed by the best of Britain’s nightlife, food, music, and fashion as we packed into the 15,000 sq. foot Mercer Street loft. After champagne greeted each new arrival, the guests of the night were whisked away by British Airways staff, who directed them to the check-in desk where boarding pass and news of departure times awaited. British Airways chefs showcased the best airline food, while flight attendants ushered guests into first class seats. Before you knew it, your flight was called, and you were quickly transported across the pond.
The London Candy Company set up an installation of candies in the shape of famous British landmarks. London’s Sanderson Hotel hosted a mini Mad Hatters tea party, while East London’s Wah Nails were on board to paint Union Jack flag manicures. We tasted Scottish shortbread with whiskey ganache, sipped on traditional British cocktails, delved into Welsh cheese, danced to British music in a silent disco, and listened to a personalised playlist by Glasgow’s famous concert venue: King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. The final stop was a styling session with Liberty London’s key stylists, who demonstrated the perfect way to wear the silky Liberty London scarf.
Organizers said that they wanted to build on the excitement created by last year’s Summer Olympics in London and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, marking the 60th anniversary of her accession. “This is about carrying on that momentum and showing the face of Britain,” said Karen Clarkson, vice president of North America for Visit Britain, the country’s tourism organization.