Blog: Crawfish for Cancer 2013
Not even the threat of darkened skies and an impending downpour would deter more than eight hundred philanthropic guests from heading to the outdoor space of the Upper West Side’s Boat Basin Café on Saturday afternoon. The now annual “Crawfish for Cancer” benefit event would celebrate its fifth anniversary in rain or shine fashion for five full hours encompassed by a day filled with savory eats, live music, and an open bar, all in the name of a worthwhile cause.
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation would be just as much a beneficiary from the New York City crawfish boil as would the attending guests themselves. The organization’s focus on the research and acceleration of developmental drugs for patients in their pursuit of innovation for life extension and an eventual cure has been nothing short of enduring. And with the proceeds raised at similar functions in Boston, Washington D.C., and now in New York City, the MMRF can continue its imperative pursuit in perpetuity.
Despite fair warning in advance, the skies were shining down upon guests right at the 2pm start time as the outdoor seats were quickly occupied by locals longing for a warm afternoon to bask in. Sounds emanating from the live five piece band and the smells of freshly boiled food could be experienced far outside of the Boat Basin’s entry points. But the collective energy and fun spirits of the guests already inside made for a welcoming atmosphere regardless of attendees’ arrival time. Cleverly, the event organizers laid out several tables underneath the Boat Basin’s canopies where the steamed buckets of fresh crawfish, tasty sausage chunks, corn on the cob and hearty potatoes doused with fiery old bay seasoning would be laid out. Grabbing a plate, each dumping of the crawfish became an every-man-for himself attempt at grabbing enough helpings of all you can eat fare, with smiles abound from the hungry collection of eaters. With hundreds upon hundreds of pounds available however, there was never even a momentary shortage of eats for us.
Admittedly there is an art to eating crawfish (we may have had to watch a YouTube tutorial or two) and the meat inside can sometimes be diminutive. But the peel is part of the fun and with each bite having such an intensely spicy salt-filled kick, pours of beers and specialty cocktails, all included in the price of admission, became an essential part of the afternoon. Just as we were getting into the swing of the afternoon, the overcast sky opened up into a full on storm, thunderously raining down upon the event space. Fortunately, with ample preparation done in advance, there was plenty of room for guests to seek shelter in several covered areas with access to each bar. Bathroom trips were a bit more challenging but as long as you brought an umbrella, the short walk was truly not a nuisance.
As the afternoon rolled on, the rain dissipated and the music continued as the increasingly drunken guests danced and ate to their heart’s content. From the outdoor patio, the views across the Hudson River were nothing short of picturesque after the storm subsided as attendees flashed picture after picture in their desire to savor the moment of a fun-filled afternoon. While the sun may have made scant appearances for much of the day, the 2013 “Crawfish for Cancer’s” main focus and event’s execution shined enough of a light for most of us on a memorable Saturday in May.
- Jane Van Arsdale