It was a cloudy day hopping off the LIRR to Old Westbury where yours truly was invited to sing the national anthem for the 28th Annual Harriman Cup – a legendary rivalry between the alumni polo teams of Yale University and the University of Virginia. The teams faced off at The Meadowbrook Polo Club to raise money for each school’s undergraduate polo team. It is also notably one of the last excuses for New England’s waspy elite to bust out the madras and seersuckers one last time before summer officially comes to an end. Although the polo match turned out to be quite a heated battle, ending with a close call to UVA’s 6-5 victor, the real show at The Harriman Cup is always on the sidelines.
The looks this year definitely did not disappoint, and were truly a homage to all things prep style. There were pastels, sundresses, bowties, and plaid galore – so much so that you might have thought these illustrious alumni all received a minor in WASP vs. Econ.
Even the tailgates stepped it up a notch. No roll away coolers full of Bud Light here. Sure there were koozies – but they were sleekly designed by Upper East Side favorite designer and The Harriman Cup official sponsor, J.McLaughlin…and they held glasses of Dom Perignon. To boot (no pun intended), the award for “Best Tailgate” really sparked the competitive spirit amongst the revelers. The Choate tailgate particularly turned it out with a real Persian rug to lounge upon, Veuve and Rose in their solo cups, and real china to dole out munchies.
Though many groups had a strong showing, the winner went to the “Pink & Plaid” tailgate. From their color coordinated outfits, to their bejeweled bottles of Ketel One and floral arrangements, to their adorable cupcakes, to their own “Harriman Cup” carved out of an aptly colored watermelon…. they left no detail unturned.
Many of the match’s sponsor had tents set up with raffles for some pretty enticing prizes. SWISS International Airlines was giving away a trip to two to Switzerland and accommodations in apres-ski chic St. Moritz. Nespresso had baristas set up giving away free coffee samples and a chance to win a Gran Maestra machine. One lucky person won an entire case of Veuve Clicquot champagne, donated by the Heron Financial Group. And What2WearWhere was donating $1 to The Ovarian Research Center for everyone who signed up for their newsletter and was also passing out glasses of Domanies Ott Rose for all to enjoy (just in case your tailgate was low on bubbly).
Despite it’s sideline grandeur, The Harriman Cup does have it’s roots in good cause. I had a chat with the event’s Co-Chair, MTV Producer and UVA Grad – MATT PACO, to tell me a little about the event’s history and how it came about. The Harriman was originally founded 28 years ago, not as a social bacchanale, but as a way for Yale’s struggling polo team to raise money to keep the program running. Much to my (and I assume many people’s) surprise, even at an Ivy League school polo is a privately funded sport that is not supported by university funds. But with such a long standing tradition (Yale’s team is the nation’s oldest founded in 1919!), students and alumni strove to find a solution. So they reached out to their friends and colleagues at The University of Virginia to set up what is now The Harriman Cup. UVA also having a very successful polo program, founded in the 1950′s with the philosophy of bringing “affordable polo for any student”, seemed like the perfect competitor for their charitable event. Founded in 1984, The Harriman Cup commemorates the life of W. Averell Harriman, a 1913 Yale graduate and polo player, who was the former Governor of New York, former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain and the Soviet Union, and was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Truman. Thus far the organization has raised over $600,000, all proceeds directly supporting each schools’ polo teams. I asked Matt what his favorite part about the event was besides raising money for his alma mater, and he said he really enjoyed the efforts that the board has gone to over the years to really engage the community in the festivities. They recently introduced a “Bike Polo” match as an opener to the real deal where volunteers are encouraged to participate, giving folks incentive to dress up and show off by giving out awards for “Best Outfit”, “Best Hat”, and as previously mentioned “Best Tailgate”. But perhaps the best addition is the big party tent afterwards where everyone can dance and get crazy to a live band with all their friends and fellow attendees.
Although the cup has been awarded and game is technically finished, the festivities haven’t quite wrapped for the season. On Monday, September 24th at 6pm the Harriman Cup Board and J.McLaughin will honor international polo star NIC ROLDAN with the 2012 Harriman Cup Award for his inspiring leadership, public service, and unwavering support for equestrian sports. Winning his first major title, the US Open Polo Championship, at 15, Roldan has since become one of the best players in the world. Earlier this month at the match, esteemed D.U.M.B.O. real estate developer David Walentas was also honored with the award. The awards reception will take place at the J.McLaughlin Madison Avenue store at 1311 Madison Ave. (at 93rd St.) in NYC.
Although you may not be attending polo matches anytime soon, football season has finally come upon us and you can for sure take a chapter out of the Harriman-goers stylebook when it comes to tailgating. So for your next big game why don’t you give your tailgate a little panache with some polished details.
Tailgate food these days doesn’t have to come in a crinkly cellophane bag to be portable and easy. With a whole day of daydrinking ahead of you, why don’t you give your indigestion a break, skip the nachos, and pack your Tupperwear and tumblers with something special like some of these recipes from some of NYC’s most famous chefs.
MARCUS SAMUELSSON’S SWEET AND SPICY WINGSChef at Red Rooster and Aquavit
- 2 cups canola oil
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 6 stalks celery
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- dash of Tabasco or hot sauce
- 1/2 an orange, cut into segments
- Accompaniment: 1 bunch chopped chives and 1 cup sour cream
To make sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium sauté pan on medium heat and reduce by half, stirring often. Adjust heat to your liking with hot sauce. Add wings to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, turning wings to coat them with sauce. Finish with chopped chives. Serve with sour cream. Serves 4.
THE SPOTTED PIG’S BLOODY MARYAs served at The Spotted Pig in West Village
- 1/2 cup finely grated peeled fresh horseradish
- 2 ounces Worcestershire sauce
- 2 ounces Sriracha chile sauce
- Finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
- 2 teaspoons celery salt
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 32 ounces tomato juice
- 16 ounces vodka
- Lime wedges
- Pickled or fresh vegetables (optional)
In a pitcher, combine the horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha, lemon zest, celery salt, kosher salt and 2 teaspoons ground pepper. Add the tomato juice and stir well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
Pour the tomato juice mixture into 8 ice-filled rocks glasses. Add 2 ounces vodka to each glass and stir. Garnish each drink with a pinch of ground pepper, a lime wedge and pickled vegetables.
JEAN GEORGE VONGERICHTEN’S GRILLED BEEF TENDERLOIN SKEWERS WITH MISO GLAZE
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons red miso paste
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- Pinch of sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/4 pounds beef tenderloin, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Preheat a grill. In a saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until crisp, stirring, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a blender; reserve the garlic oil for another use. Add the soy sauce, miso, sesame oil, sugar and salt to the blender and puree.
Thread the meat on skewers. Lightly brush the meat with some of the miso glaze. Grill over high heat for 1 minute. Brush with the miso glaze a second time and grill, turning, until charred, about 2 minutes; serve. Serves 4
And let’s not forget attire…
Wearing your city or school’s colors is key to support any team, but that doesn’t mean you just have to throw on a jersey. And heaven forbid, please guys… leave the camo cargo shorts at home. (Or better yet, burn them) No matter what your colors, there are plenty of options out there to look sleek and stylish while still showing your support. My alma mater happens to be Louisiana State University, a school notorious for some serious tailgating – so for this layout example I chose to show off the look in our infamous purple and gold.
1. Silk Pocket Square by J.McLaughlin 2. Paisley Printed Silk Bowtie by Ken Scott 3. Sky Arrow Earrings by Kendra Scott 4. Silk Dupont Tie by J.McLaughlin 5. Kevin 8 Wale Cord Pant by J.McLaughlin 6. Nola Rivers Reversible Bowtie by Countess Mara 7. Bowery Ball Bib Necklace by Kate Spade New York 8. Tie-Front Jersey Dress by Old Navy 9. Beltmore Silk Sash by J.McLaughlin 10. Maddie Turtleneck by J.McLaughlin 11. Sleeveless Belted A-Line Dress by AGB Dress 12. Graduated Glass Pearl Collar by French Connection 13. Elm Diamond Pick Stitch Skirt by J.McLaughlin
◊ Post written by: KZJ