Jazz Age Lawn Party


For two weekends each summer, the Dreamland Orchestra hosts a Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island.  People get ridiculously into it and it's fun to see the result.  So after finding some vaguely vintage-looking outfits, Lis and I grabbed a picnic lunch at Trader Joe's and headed down to the ferry.

Not the ferry, but cool.

The ferry, with Brooklyn in the background.

Governors Island is located between Brooklyn and the downtown tip of Manhattan.  On weekends and holiday Mondays, free ferries run from Brooklyn's Pier 6 and Manhattan's Battery Maritime Building every 30 minutes. The island has no cars - car-free islands are the best.
...a few notable exceptions.

The ferry ride only takes a few minutes, with nice views of downtown.  As you draw closer, you start to see buildings and walls that look distinctly un-city-ish.  The fortifications you can see today were built shortly after the American Revolution, a war in which the island had been used as a strategic firing point by both sides.  From the 60s onward, it served as a Coast Guard base.  In 1995 the base was closed, in 2002 the US Government sold it to the city, and the city is still working on developing it into parks and other public-use land today.

We followed the costumed throng off the boat and walked to the fenced-in area in which the lawn party is held.  Seeing the line to get in, we decided to have our picnic lunch on the grass outside.

Or $8 ~sangria~

Once we'd finished eating, the line had died down, we went in and wandered around, checking out booths of vintage-inspired items, the old cars, the over-priced food and drink, and best of all, the dance floor.



The lawn party was fun, but at a pretty steep cost of $30.  (Each year, the popularity and price go up.)  It's great if you're a photographer or into early 20th century dance - I was in photo safari heaven!  Lis was ready to leave after a couple of turns around the ground, so we went to explore the rest of the island.

Tromping across the wide, green lawn in my t-strap heels, the rest of Governors Island seemed like a cross between the best NYC park ever and a cozy little New England town.  The kids' play area has a distinctly art-y vibe, like a sculpture garden you can actually climb on.  Some of the old houses have been converted to galleries or museums, including a free museum of New York's involvement in WWII. 

We didn't get a chance to check out Fort Jay, but seeing the entry as we left reminded me I need to get out my National Parks passport book and get it stamped this summer!


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