This is the true story of how I ended up dripping in sweat in a white suit on the streets of New York City last Tuesday. And loved it.
To rewind, I love a good theme party. One time, I painted my face like a cheetah for a case-race just to demonstrate similarities between my ability to drink beer quickly and the fastest wild animal I was aware of.
As a brief digression, some examples of random theme parties I've enjoyed over the years...
Anyways, for several years now I have observed FOMO-inducing social media posts about Le Dîner en Blanc from around the world. Le Dîner en Blanc is a pop-up picnic in white that takes place in various cities throughout the year under the leadership of Dîner en Blanc International. Each dîner is organized locally and planned with utmost secrecy, with invited guests showing up on the event date at a specified meeting point without knowing the whereabouts of the event itself. Guests take care of their own setup and cleanup for Le Dîner en Blanc, bringing picnic tables, chairs, white linens, table décor, and food, which reinforces the pop-up style of the event.
When my good friend Michelle told me that she was going to help organize this year’s Dîner en Blanc in New York City, I jumped at the chance to be there.
From there, I knew the first order of business. I pulled the white suit out of my closet and had it dry-cleaned.
When the day finally arrived, Kristin (my date) and I were pretty excited. We flitted about Eataly in search of meats, cheeses, and bread. We found fresh flowers to decorate our table. We debated which shoes best complemented our outfits. We grabbed our picnic materials, and we headed to the meeting point. Our anticipation levels were high; we sort of knew what to expect, and we sort of didn’t… and that was the fun part!
The sweat started when we entered the subway, probably a mixture of our own adrenaline and the outside temperature being about 90 degrees, not to mention the excitement of our folding chairs getting caught in the subway turnstile.
Once we assembled at our meeting point, we continued sweating. The adventure had begun, and we continued following a series of additional instructions, all the while attracting lots of attention, no doubt, due to our matching white outfits, tables, and chairs.
When we arrived at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park, the site of Le Dîner en Blanc NYC 2015, the sight was pretty amazing. We watched an empty pier transform into a posh picnic space, a sea of white against the Tribeca skyline and the Hudson River. So this was what a theme party with 4,999 of my closest friends looked like.
The people-watching was unbeatable. I felt under-accessorized in my suit! White fascinators, feathers, masks, hats, parasols, tutus, balloons, and doves in cages. More selfie-sticks per capita than anywhere else in the world (unconfirmed, however I think this is a solid hypothesis).
We set up our tables and our food. We sipped wine to combat the heat. We continued to sweat, but it did not matter. We had captured the essence of summer spontaneity, sharing an adventurous experience with friends and strangers, far from a normal night in New York City.
Count me in for next year.