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Fun and games at STC NY's 2014 holiday party / by Portia Zwicker

“Hi Nitza, it’s Portia. Can you let me in?” I asked, after hearing the ring of the very phone I called just outside the Medidata doors.

Rain did not deter several members of the New York Metro chapter of STC and a few significant others from gathering on December 19 in downtown Manhattan for their yearly holiday potluck social. Attendees represented such companies as Medidata Solutions, which allowed the use of their space for the event, Goldman Sachs, Thomson Reuters, and my employer, MakerBot Industries. This year, however, the social was advertised as a game night. As a Scrabble enthusiast, I wasn’t going to miss this, and managed to get my fiancé to come along, too.

As expected, Scrabble, Boggle, and a few other games were available for play throughout the room. But surprisingly, the activity that attracted the most technical communications professionals was not a word game, but a pick-up tutorial and game of Texas Hold’em poker. Creatively using the Hershey’s Kisses and mini candy canes that had been strewn on the tables as chips (representing two different denominations, of course), it certainly seemed—at least to my nearby table of Scrabble players—that the poker table was having a blast, all while keeping it 100% deliciously legal.

At the Scrabble table, I played against four others, with two of them playing together as a team. No one played any bingos (words using all seven letters on one’s rack), but at least three challenges were made, including one initiated by my fiancé against me. I won that challenge. He’ll learn.

Food and drink were also major components of the social. Nitza Hauser, aforementioned phone answerer and immediate past president of the chapter, made sure that wraps, fruit and vegetable trays, chips, dip, and an unusually large bowl of guacamole were lined up for consumption at one end of the gaming room. Partygoers assembled festive jewel-toned cups from which to drink wine, and a few desserts were unveiled a bit later in the evening.

Similar to what I imagine the summer picnic was like (I unfortunately was unable to attend), it was nice to be at an STC event that didn’t focus on a particular topic in the field, that allowed us to socialize while celebrating the holiday season, and that also let us meet new people and network if we so chose to. For me, there were familiar faces—new chapter president Julie Waxgiser and Nitza, as always—as well as new ones, such as Ed Marsh, the chapter newsletter editor who asked me to write this.

I look forward to the next STC New York Metro chapter social, and in the meantime, if anyone wants to play some one-on-one Scrabble, let me know!