Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Another Sunny Jazz Age Lawn Party

This Saturday, I went to the Jazz Age Lawn Party for the third time. It's something I've come to look forward to and really plan for. If you don't know, the Jazz Age Lawn Party is a fabulous 20s-themed picnic on Governors Island that happens twice every summer. It's absolutely beautiful, like you've traveled for hours outside of the city to this beautiful green space but then you look up and see the amazing skyline. Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra and other great acts play songs from the period. They set up a big wooden dance floor right on the lawn for all the dancers. Food and vintage vendors, including one of my favorites Wildfell Hall Vintage, set up their wares. And with cocktails from St. Germain, what more can you really ask for?

Although I love planning my outfits, this year it was a no-brainer. I wore a fabulous Stop Staring dress, a gift from the owner and CEO herself, Alicia Estrada with some crochet lace gloves from the 50s I picked up last year from Dandelion Vintage. Admittedly, the look is perhaps more 30s than 20s but I find the looser silhouettes and dropwaists of the 20s so unflattering to my curvy shape. I end up looking pregnant and ridiculous. I got so many compliments and my picture snapped by Getty!

Taken for Getty. See more photos from Metro
It was blazing hot, a very sweaty afternoon on the lawns. I didn't even do much dancing. It was almost too crowded, anyway. The Gatsby movie plus well-deserved coverage for the event has made it so that the Lawn Party was jam-packed full of people. And plenty of those people aren't people that don't go to burlesque or speakeasy or swing dance events, people who picked up flapper costumes for the day and stuck them on. Or who thought a headband from Forever 21 would be enough to make a very modern dress appropriate for the event, or who did 20s-inspired evening wear in the middle of the day. What's beautiful about the Jazz Age Lawn Party is that people really put effort into their outfits and even their picnics. It brings together collectors of vintage, swing dancers--people who get it.

So while it's great Michael Arenella is doing so well, there's a part of me that really feels ownership over this event. I found this party by becoming part of a community of like-minded weirdos who like old things, old music, old clothes. And it's definitely a community or a scene, if you will (I hate that term, but there you have it). So when people crash your party because it's the flavor of the week--oh my God, Baz Lurman was at the party in June! It was covered in Vogue!--it feels like something gets lost. Saying you liked something first can come off as obnoxious and petty because who cares? You still like it. I know I sound grumpy and selfish but I wouldn't mind a less-crowded Lawn Party next year.


  1. Oh so cool that you got photographed for Metro. You look lovely and this looks like a fabulous event to attend!

  2. I feel the SAME WAY, Desiree. I went last year and loved it and danced my heart out, but this year the ridiculously enormous ticket price increase alone kept me from going, more out of principle than economic strife. I feel snotty thinking this way, too, but part of what's so nice about the scene is the sheer, intelligent, well thought-out dedication of the attendees.

    1. Oh, phew! I thought I was a horrible snob for saying that but I'm glad you agree. Yes, the dedication was/is inspiring and beautiful. And the price hike was pretty crazy and annoying, considering you still have to buy cocktails. Maybe one day it'll go back to being $7 (ha!)

  3. This looks like so much fun! And yes, that lady did nail it :)

    A Coin For the Well


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