Where to meet a development exec near Penn Station?
August 30, 2012 2:13 PM   Subscribe

I'm meeting a network development exec near Penn Station next week for a mid-morning coffee over which we'll be discussing a show I've pitched. His assistant has asked me to pick the spot. Help?

I've lived in NYC for years, but the Penn Station area is the city's culinary black hole, and I don't want to underwhelm. Suggestions? Bonus points for tangential, informed advice for a seasoned writer with less experience in the TV world. The exec and I have been discussing a show for a few weeks over email, and now he wants to meet in person to talk further. What should I expect? Should I go armed with additional ideas? And so on. Thanks!
posted by bassomatic to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Starbucks, across the street, 2nd floor, private, hardly anyone there. Free wifi.
posted by Kruger5 at 2:15 PM on August 30, 2012

It's literally for coffee?

The lobby of the Ace Hotel. 29th and 5th. New York's Stumptown flagship is attached, as well as The Breslin if you had something more upscale in mind (probably depends on what sort of development person we're talking about. Scott Rudin will need The Breslin. Somebody who used to be an assistant last year, Stumptown in the lobby).

Or, if that's not close enough to Penn Station, there's an Argo Tea on 28th and 7th. This is a Starbucks-ish sort of place, but it's less of an obvious chain. Locations I've passed before look nice inside.

If this guy is getting off a train or has a meeting at MSG and you must be a stone's throw from Penn Station itself, I'd suggest Local, which I think is technically more of a bar but they have light snacks and I'm sure they serve coffee and tea.
posted by Sara C. at 2:29 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Macaron Cafe - 36th St & 7th Ave.

Andrews Coffee Shop - 463 7th Ave at W. 35th St.

I've been to both. The Macaron Cafe is a bit chi-chi and Andrews is a diner
posted by essexjan at 2:32 PM on August 30, 2012

Just re-read and realized that it's a network exec, and it's TV. The fanciness there will depend on how high-level of an exec it is and what network. If it's the head of development at CBS, fancy. If it's someone with a title like "coordinator" or "assistant to the VP", less fancy.

I would not do Starbucks, no matter what. Creatives are supposed to be cooler than network people. Even if your exec loves Starbucks and drinks their coffee every day, your choice of Starbucks will signify that you are not cool. Even if you end up at a slightly less ubiquitous Starbucks clone, or somewhere that is not a chain but is of the same level of formality as Starbucks, don't go to Starbucks.
posted by Sara C. at 2:34 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Macaron looks good.

I would not take a network exec to a diner unless you're trying to sabotage your career. Or maybe if you're 20 years old and pitching some kind of gritty urban drama, and the executive might think it's eccentric of you (a la that scene in Taxi Driver where Jodi Foster pours sugar on top of the jam on her toast). But even then I think you're really stretching your luck on that. Especially with so many better options.

Seriously, though, if you can be liberal with the "Penn Station Area" concept at all, Ace Hotel is your answer. It is The Official Hippest Place To Drink Coffee in midtown. You will at best impress the pants off your exec, and at minimum perform as expected.
posted by Sara C. at 2:38 PM on August 30, 2012

Yes, you need to have more ideas than just the 1--but you've been emailing this guy/gal ideas without any sort of agent, manager, NDA?
Lee Goldberg.
Ken Levine.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:00 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Andrews Coffee Shop - 463 7th Ave at W. 35th St.

If you do want a diner, Stage Door Deli (33rd and 8th) is both closer to Penn Station and better than Andrews. (Sadly, I've eaten at both of them dozens of times.)

I've not eaten at Lugo Caffe, but that looks like a possibility? (Will have to eat there soon...)
posted by Jahaza at 3:08 PM on August 30, 2012

Thirding the lobby of the Ace Hotel - I've seen people having interviews there all the time. As specific of a niche it can be, it fits the "understated, well-dressed, young, competent" feel.
posted by suedehead at 3:16 PM on August 30, 2012

Thanks for the links, Ideefixe. Great advice in both. I do have a literary agent and lawyer who provide good advice, so the requisite paperwork was signed before talking ideas.
posted by bassomatic at 3:36 PM on August 30, 2012

I used to use the Ace for things and in theory it's perfect for this. Be forewarned tho it can be absolutely slammed and impossible to get a seat at peak times. If you arent worried about being too fancy the library bar at The NoMad is literally perfect for a coffee meeting.

Also The Eventi Hotel just opened up a coffee place at 30th and 6th that looks pretty nice. Don't know what the seating situation is there tho.
posted by JPD at 3:48 PM on August 30, 2012

The Ace Hotel, I'll fourth, is casual, not too loud, and "impressive" if that's really a factor here. I guess most importantly it's not some dumpy coffee shop and it fits the functional requirements of finding a spot to sit and talking to another person. There's also Birch Coffee and the adjacent lobby which is not quite as lavish. But it works and the coffee's delicious.

The reason why the Ace Hotel works so well, though, is it's casual enough to not seem like you're trying to impress and stylish enough to make some small impression.

I'm going to also suggest going to some of these places and seeing if you're comfortable there, because ultimately isn't the goal to show him you are the impressive one? If you can tell this exec "this diner may not look like much but it has the best coffee in the city" that's way cooler than just going for the highest rated place on Yelp.
posted by dr handsome at 3:52 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Former network executive here (marketing, not development); I'm also a writer who has been to many pitch meetings. Choose somewhere you'll be comfortable being yourself and communicating your ideas. That's really the only thing that matters.

Feel free to memail me if you want my super top secret insight on these meetings.

I have to say, it's unusual that his assistant passed the decision on to you.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:53 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

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