Last weekend, hundreds of people packed into a bar in Lower Manhattan for a very exclusive party. “First name must be Ryan,” the flier for the event said. “No Bryans allowed.”
To gain entry, each guest had to show an ID to one of two doormen: Ryan Cousins, 32, a copywriter in Bushwick, Brooklyn, or Ryan Le, 24, a software engineer who lives in Hudson Yards in Manhattan.
Inside, partygoers were given identical name tags and encouraged to circulate. “Hi, Ryan, I’m Ryan,” was repeated throughout the pub, Ryan Maguire’s Bar & Restaurant.
Ryan Maguire, the pub owner’s son (and the inspiration for its name), was in attendance. He knew how special the occasion was — and was not. “The thing about being a Ryan growing up is there was always another Ryan around,” said Mr. Maguire, 34, who lives in the Bronx and works for a transportation company.
Ryan Rose, 26, a photographer in Brooklyn, started the Ryan Meetup, a monthly event, in February. She had attempted to create meetups in the past but always came away feeling that they never scratched a particular social itch for her. “I tried throwing a horror movie one and a paranormal investigating one,” she said. “They were fun, but I still wanted something more for myself. I never found my clique.”
One day over the winter, she created the Ryan party flier. “It just seemed like the next thing I could try,” she said. She distributed 20 of them throughout Bushwick, where she used to live, and posted her idea on Meetup.com.
Only two people — the bouncers — showed up for the inaugural get-together in February, but the three Ryans bonded immediately. “In a cosmic way, we were just connected,” Ms. Rose said. “We started texting every day.”
They decided to try another meetup in March. This time they distributed over 500 fliers in Brooklyn, Manhattan and beyond. “I put them up near the White House in D.C.,” Ms. Rose said. “I put them up at a Waffle House in Myrtle Beach. I even put some up at South by Southwest in Austin.”
The invite went viral. One meetup guest said he’d spotted it on Reddit. WhatIsNewYork, an Instagram account with 1.6 million followers, shared it.
“My friend named Bryan, who is a plumber, found a flier on Ninth Avenue and sent me a picture,” said Ryan Solomon, 32, a teacher who lives in Rego Park, Queens. “He said I had to come because he couldn’t.”
The meetup came along at the perfect time for the Ryans of New York City and the greater East Coast. Many of them said they had been looking for a sense of community as the isolating effects of the pandemic waned, and they wanted to socialize again.
“I generally tend not to be very social or outspoken, but it’s so easy to be here,” Mr. Solomon said. “There is this weird kinship.”
Mr. Solomon, a drummer, exchanged numbers with one Ryan who wanted to start a band and with another who invited him to a medieval re-enactment.
Ryan Minnifield, 38, an office manager for a construction company, took the train an hour and a half from Massapequa, on Long Island, specifically to find other female Ryans.
“I got made fun of growing up because people assumed I was a boy, but it hasn’t gotten easier as an adult,” Ms. Minnifield said. “Like even the Verizon person on the phone will make the weirdest comments and ask me stuff like if I was born a boy.”
She nodded to the other meetup attendees. “This is probably the most female Ryans I’ve ever met,” she said. “I love them all already. It’s like they have a vibe. They understand me.”
The flier for the meetup also promised to address “BIG and IMPORTANT Ryan Topics.” That was enough to persuade L.C. Freeman, 36, a travel agent who lives in Sunnyside, Queens, to show up with her 9-month-old son, Ryan Gearhart. “We need to know the very important Ryan things,” Ms. Freeman said.
Ryans looking to expand their networks were pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the crowd.
“So many different types of people are going to be here, because the only thing they have in common is their name,” said Ryan Fuchs, 34, who lives in Stony Brook, N.Y., and works in ophthalmology.
“A gathering where we all just have our name in common — it’s the most random, obscure, silly thing,” he said. “I mean, we are all wearing the exact same name tag. What more can you ask for?”
Ryan McNally, a server at Ryan Maguire’s who was called in specifically for the event, said the Ryans were good tippers. Organizers hope to hold more events there and are also looking into Ryan’s Daughter, a pub on the Upper East Side. They are discussing starting fan sections at sports events to cheer on athletes named Ryan. “There is a player named Ryan Lindgren on the New York Rangers,” Mr. Cousins said.
“My ultimate dream is to have a giant Ryan convention,” said Ms. Rose, who dreams of celebrity guest speakers like Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling. “I just want all the Ryans to be together.”
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