I got into the VIP lounge at an exclusive equestrian event on an island just off of Manhattan, where the daughters of Michael Bloomberg and Bruce Springsteen were competing. Here's what it was like.
Caralynn Lippo/Business Insider
- I recently attended the Longines Global Champions Tour as a VIP guest of Longines.
- The horse-jumping event was rumored to be attended by the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Bruce Springsteen, both of whom have professional equestrian daughters who were competing in the event.
- I spent five hours at the event, which more or less entailed sampling the extensive food offerings, watching horses trotting and jumping in the ring, and - oh yes, of course: interviewing tennis legend Andre Agassi.
- Here's what it was like to attend as a VIP.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Recently, I was invited to attend the finale of the 2019 Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT).The event, which took place on Governors Island on September 28, was the equestrian event's debut in New York. The LGCT is a globe-spanning competition, gathering the most accomplished riders and horses from around the world. This year, they competed at 19 events in cities around the world before finally ending the competition in New York City.Advertisement
Read more: Inside the glamorous life of Bruce Springsteen's daughter Jessica, an elite equestrian who's earned over $1 million in prize money competing against the daughters of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates
The likes of Michael Bloomberg and Bruce Springsteen were also rumored to be at the event - though I didn't see them myself, other reporters in attendance told me they'd seen the two. Bloomberg and Springsteen each have a daughter who is a professional equestrian. Georgina Bloomberg and Jessica Springsteen both competed, as did the former's team, New York Empire.Here's a look at what the VIP experience was like at this equestrian event.
The Longines Global Champions Tour was held on Governor's Island, a 172-acre island just about half a mile south of Manhattan.
First, I needed to get to the ferry terminal to travel to Governors Island. I had two options: leaving from Battery Maritime Building, located at 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan, or from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I live in Brooklyn, so I opted for the latter.Advertisement
I made it to the ferry terminal just as it began loading passengers. People were already lined up, but I got a spot on the top deck.
As the wind picked up, I soon regretted both sitting outside on the upper deck and have spent time blowing out my hair.Advertisement
Not everyone on the ferry was heading to the Longines event, but some people clearly were.
After a couple of false starts, turnarounds, and a golf cart ride to the wrong entrance, I finally made it to the correct VIP entrance to the event.Advertisement
As I walked towards the VIP tent, I had to cross the course, which brought me right up close to the animals and their riders.
En route to the VIP section, I passed by the general public attendees, who were seated in bleachers. There was free admission for the public across all three days.Advertisement
Finally, I made it to the air-conditioned VIP tent. A staff member checked me in and gave me a wristband before leading me over to the Longines table where I would be seated to watch the event.
There were more tables in the VIP tent than I expected. But it was a large, well-situated area, so it didn't feel crowded.Advertisement
I had a perfect view of the course from where I was seated — which was right next to the table set aside for Georgina Bloomberg (the daughter of former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg) and New York Empire, the equestrian team she owns.
I didn't personally see the former mayor, but another attendee told me they'd spotted him. Bloomberg did attend his daughter's post-event party later that evening, according to Business Insider's sources.Advertisement
My table was also right near the table where Charles Villoz, the VP of Longines, and Andre Agassi, retired tennis pro and the brand's "Elegance Ambassador," were seated.
Most VIP attendees were closely watching the event. I heard plenty of gasps (as horses didn't quite clear jumps) and claps (when a rider finished the course with a particularly good time).Advertisement
There were numerous food and beverage stations set up around the tent, and they remained open and available throughout the entire event. First, I hit up a smoothie bar.
There was an extensive selection of food, from a carving station to a pasta station, where a chef cooked you up whatever pasta or risotto dish you wanted.Advertisement
Over the course of the roughly five hours I spent at the event, I had a bit of everything. I mean, how could you not?
I particularly enjoyed a Bloody Mary, which had the perfect amount of spice.Advertisement
Roughly midway through the event, members of the press were invited to go onto the course for the "Course Walk," which is the only chance the riders have to walk the course themselves and count out how many paces are in between each jump.
I didn't realize how high the jumps actually were until I saw people walking near them.Advertisement
Agassi also joined in on the course walk, posing for official event photos and chatting with the riders.
Later on, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with renowned former tennis pro myself.Advertisement
Agassi was personable and friendly, not at all pretentious. He was happy to chat about his education initiative and the current state of tennis.
Eventually, I had to use the restroom. I had mentally prepared myself for a porta-potty situation, but these mobile toilets were actually sparkling clean.Advertisement
I also tried on a few watches. Longines had left samples of some of their newer collections out on the table for us to look at.
In the end, Ben Maher of the United Kingdom was crowned the winner, with Pieter Devos of Belgium and Daniel Deusser of Germany coming in second and third place respectively.Advertisement
Having never attended an equestrian event before, I was surprised by how easy it was to follow — and how easy it was to get invested.
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