Last night, August 20th, 2012 I had dinner with 3200 of my friends. Alright, I couldn’t possibly have 3200 friends (some of you may have, lucky you) but I did have dinner with 3200 nice folks, all dressed in white, at the Lincoln Center Plaza as part of the super secret event created by the Diner en Blanc folks.
It’s easy to be added to their list. All you have to do is create a free account at their website http://newyork.dinerenblanc.info/ and hope they will email you details next year on how to sign up for the event.
You can get two tickets (25$ each) per account so if going in big groups makes things more fun for you, coordinate with your cronies and get everyone involved and hope for the best.
Last year, a friend and I tried to get tickets and could not get on the list. Their website seemed to have some difficulties then (this year too) so this year, she got a priority email telling her she could attend if she requested it. Lucky me, she invited me to come along (and I felt doubly lucky because she has exquisite taste in food so she brought some killer stuff! Nom nom nom.) Our neighbors at diner told us they made the list last year and even paid but then were told they couldn’t come. The organizers had overbooked! So their money was refunded and were also invited with priority this year. This group tries to accommodate everyone who shows interest but you must act fast.
This event was the brain child of François Pasquier over 20 years ago. Of course, the French! Their Diner en Blanc now gets about 15,000 people each year.
“Dîner en Blanc marks the world’s first viral event, a très chic picnic imported from Paris and now taking hold in outdoor landmark public spaces in 22 cities across 5 continents. Taking the flash mob concept to a refined and mysterious level, these romantic outdoor epicurean feasts are organized entirely via word of mouth and social media, attended annually by thousands of people in cities around the world. Demand was so great for New York’s first Diner en Blanc in 2011, with over 30,000 people on the waiting list, that the guest list was been expanded this summer from 1200 to 3200 guests” in Manhattan.
Part mystery, part magic, part flash feast, part je ne sais quoi, the day of the event unfolds the same in every city: the outdoor site is revealed at the last-minute to preserve spontaneity and secrecy. Guests are directed to meet in groups of 250 at rallying points where Group Leaders escort them to the nearby secret location. All are asked to dress elegantly and entirely in white, bring their own epicurean feasts, white tables and chairs. There are no paper plates or plastic cutlery at these events. Diners pull out candelabras, candles and giant flower arrangements to grace the tabletops and sup off fine china and polished silverware, clinking crystal glasses and goblets. Over the course of the evening, the diners celebrate amid live music, complete with festive white balloons. At 10:30 PM they pack up and depart, the site left immaculate, with no traces of the revelry left behind” – Diner en Blanc website
Since this was only the second year in NYC there were a few kinks that I’m sure they’ll iron out.
For instance the lines for wine were way too long (we couldn’t bring our own) and not being able to rent tables and chairs on site made it logistically tough for a public transportation town like NYC. Those subway stairs while carrying a table and chairs were an unexpected good workout. And yet, even with the additional “schleping” required, it truly was a magical night. I thought that seeing everyone in white would make me feel like a had infiltrated a religious cult but instead it made me smile. It reminded me that people can do anything including creating a very pleasant fleeting moment in accord with each other. Bravo NYC and bravo Diner en Blanc. Next year I do want to get a big group of friends to join me. You in?