Will and Kate, aka Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived in New York City with great fanfare on Sunday for a 3-day visit. Their stay represents a pleasant diversion from the recent sad news and protests that have enveloped the city, though a continuation of the traffic jams. As media outlets converged on the Big Apple, we witnessed different types of stories emerging.
During a walk in the Meatpacking District and West Village on Sunday afternoon, we came upon Tea & Sympathy, an English-owned restaurant and shop. There NBC News was in the middle of interviewing the owner about the Royal couple. “The whole city erupts, and it’s great for my business”, she said. By the time we left, local newspaper reporters had also arrived.
So for PRs working on pitching stories where coverage may seem elusive, what does it take for the media to come calling? This brief episode confirms what we’ve often heard from pitching specialists. Tea & Sympathy hit all the high notes on the uniqueness scale: a charming shop in a quaint neighborhood, festooned with British flags outside, a colorful, video-friendly and photogenic venue inside. The media-savvy owner had an irreverent British wit, not to mention prior history observing the Royals in action, including Harry.
Naturally, later in the day large crowds and throngs of media outlets hovered outside The Carlyle Hotel, where the couple was set to stay. There were even cardboard cutouts of Will and Kate (though clearly not Matisse cutout quality), frozen tourists and paparazzi, all waiting to sneak a quick peak. We’re anticipating even larger masses outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as Will and Kate take in a basketball game on Monday night, and more gazing at the red carpet as the couple arrives for a gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday night.
But our vote for covering interesting angles is being away from the fray at Tea & Sympathy. Besides, per the Cambridge University Press, the expression carries a more universal meaning: “kindness and sympathy that you show to someone who is upset. It’s time for action, not just tea and sympathy.”