It's called Taste of the Jets, but for the second year the gala was held at 4 World Trade Center on Monday night, and sight again competed with taste and sound as the senses of the evening.
"Oh, man, the view's unbelievable," said rookie quarterback Bryce Petty of the sightlines of New York City from the tower's 54th floor.
"You get to see the 9/11 Memorial, the Freedom Tower," fullback Tommy Bohanon said. "I got to walk around a little bit before the fans came in and got to take in all the views. It's really cool to see."
Another great sight was the crowded event floor as Jets fans mingled with team executives such as President Neil Glat and general manager Mike Maccagnan, almost 20 players, several Jets alumni and Flight Crew members for the 12th annual Taste of the Jets, held in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue and sponsored by Saks, ShopRite, Celebrity Cruises and ESPN 98.7 to benefit ShopRite Partners in Caring to fight hunger in our community.
The seventh annual Taste Fashion Show featuring looks from Saks kicked off the evening, with 10 Jets walking the runway. The first five — Leger Douzable, Nick Mangold, Leonard Williams, Nick Folk and Demario Davis — were decked out in business and evening wear. The last five — Dexter McDougle, Calvin Pace, Buster Skrine, Ryan Quigley and Eric Decker — modeled Saks sportswear.
All the players then posted up at the 20 stations representing restaurants from the New York area, plus dessert stations by ShopRite and Calandra's, where fans could meet the players and get autographs, purchase raffle tickets, and sample "tastes" of each restaurant's signature dish.
"When I was in Cleveland, we never did anything like this," said Skrine, still dressed in the outfit he modeled an hour earlier. "I really enjoy this, being able to interact with all the fans, and for the first time doing a little runway. It's fun."
"First and foremost, the reason why we're here is the best part," Petty said. "But I think it also gets you involved with the fans and gets them to see a face without a helmet, which sometimes is cool for a lot of people. Everybody's real supportive of what we're doing, we're trying to achieve, so it's a good pick-me-up."
Bob Wischusen, voice of the Jets, emceed the event. Alumni Chad Pennington, Greg Buttle, Tony Richardson and John Nitti chatted with the fans. Eric Allen and Larry Hardesty conducted a special edition of "Inside the Jets," the weekly Monday night 98.7 ESPN radio show on the floor.
"This is all first-class," said Quigley, scanning the scene. "And anytime you can give back and can do it as a team, just show what's important, what's real and what we care about, that's good."
More than $120,000 in net proceeds from Monday's event will benefit ShopRite Partners in Caring, a year-round, community-based hunger-fighting initiative that works with more than 50 food industry manufacturers to provide $3 million annually to more than 1,700 qualified charitable agencies in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Players & Alumni Attend Annual Charity Event at 4 World Trade Center