Sunday was the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow. I’d go so far as to say Sunday was the cat’s pajamas.
Sunday was the 9th annual Jazz Age Lawn Party. Me and my two best dames, we were jazzed. We got all dolled up in some swanky rags and hot ticketed out to Governor’s Island. The ferry docked, waiting for us, our time machine ready to transport us across the harbor. Back to the bygone era of prohibition and big bands. My friends, Charlotte and Elaine, stood with bags full of picnic supplies ready to board. Me? I was still on the subway. I was the wet blanket, folks, the reason we had to stand around in 2014 for an extra hour, waiting for the 11 o’clock ferry. Oh my pals razzed me out good and long and hard for it. Horsefeathers, but I deserved it.
Soon that was all water under the bridge- Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queensborough- take your pick. Once we boarded the 11 o’clock ferry, it was all smooth sailing. The sun was out, the sky was blue, the view was divine. Everything was hotsy-totsy.
Off the ferry and on the green flanked paths of the island, strains of revelry wafted through the air. Sounds came first, next came sights- the tents, the people all spiffed up. Girls in fringe and nifty head wear, fellas in straw hats and well fitting trousers. Well done, old sports. Dappled sunlight provided a spotlight on all the festivities.
This was a picnicker’s paradise. We set up camp within range of the dance floor, laying out crackers and cheeses, crudités, and spreads upon our checkered blanket. Soon the area became a quilt of such blankets, a labyrinth tricky to escape without trodding upon the cloth of a stranger.
After satiating ourselves, saps we were for skipping breakfast, escape we did, to the dance floor! Our blanket remained on the lawn, saving our place and keeping out picnic baskets company. This party was on the level, no double-crossers here. It felt just ducky to not worry about crooks scamming our clams while we trotted out our gams.
At the head of the dance floor sat the Dreamland Orchestra headed by Michael Arenella, the man who started it all, the Real McCoy behind the whole event. In between sets, antique phonograph DJ MAC and Michael W. Haar sampled records, taking the art of DJ-ing to a whole new nifty level.
The dance floor was a swell combination of hoofers who knew just how to shake a leg, and uncoordinated rag-a-muffins. Us Bettys were well in the rag-a-muffin category. We might have known better had we not missed the Peabody dance lesson from Roddy Caravella. No, we weren’t masters of grace or fancy-foot work, but heck if we didn’t have a real ritzy time.
Then came the real keen flappers, in stunning ensembles and swoon worthy dance moves. The dance floor periphery was a solid wall of onlookers, impossible to penetrate with my rudimentary camera. So I have no sharp pictures of Carvella’s Canarsie Wobblers, though their performance was better than giggle water. Next up was the Dreamland Follies with Gregory Moore and some how I wiggled my way to the front.
The costumes! The singing! The moves! These Dreamland Follies were really a dream come true! A hip to the jive performance can propel you higher than any moonshine! But there was no paltry hooch at this event, St. Germaine took fine care in wetting all our whistles.
Nothing beats a cool drink on a hot day. Not even pie, although it comes really close. Rhatz, I’m no baker, but there sure was a pie contest, and those pies sure did look swell.
I could say the same for the Bathing Beauties and Beaus Promenade curated by Voon Chew. I’m no bathing beauty (well, at least not one who owns a jazz era vintage swimsuit), but there sure was a promenade of authentically dressed bathing beauties and they all looked real swell!
What better way to spend a Sunday! There were so many live performances, wonderful food for sale, as well as tents full of merchandise harking back to the 1920s. The head wear is my favorite. So many dashing hats and feathered headbands. I wish I had occasion to wear them all the time!
This event was so much fun for all ages. Little kids running around having a ball, older people transported back to their youth. The friendly, joyous atmosphere really is unparalleled. All this and more is happening again in August! August 16th and 17th is the next and finals weekend for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. Don’t miss it! Get more information at their website http://www.jazzagelawnparty.com/. If you want to learn 1920s slang for the occasion, or just translate some of this blog post, visit the website I used here. Attagirl, check it out!
A Sunday spent with my favorite dolls at the ritziest party of the season? Doesn’t get more bee’s knees than that!