I’ve been wanting to go to the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor’s Island for years. It started popping up on the blogs of people who lived in or near the city, and of course the coverage by Bill Cunningham in the Times, especially among those who were really into vintage. But, like most things, every year I would see pictures of and think next year! Next year I will go!
And then I didn't.
I especially always wanted to because generally the second set of summer dates falls the weekend after my birthday and it always seemed like the perfect birthday activity. Never did though, always kind of chickened out because I wasn’t sure what to wear or how to get downstate in some delicate outfit, plus I always waited until almost the last minute and then tickets were sold out anyway.
But this year, 2016, this year I turned 30. Somehow it seemed even more fitting given that I would be saying goodbye to my twenties (something I was vaguely dreading but now that it has happened I kind of like, don’t care?). Plus I mean, that’s a big birthday right? So over the winter I plunked down the money, got two tickets, and we ended up making a weekend of it (because I didn’t know which Jazz-Age garment I wanted to wear I brought several in a garment bag and somehow that didn’t seem like a good idea to be lugging around the city just for a day).
Dress: Laura's Vintage, Bag: From the now closed Reruns, Shoes: Nine West some years ago, Hat: Also a closed shop many years ago, Fan: picked up at the event because oh god, so hot!
I do feel like some of the popularity around this event has waned, like now that it’s become a known even less of the blogger types from the early days go, like a kind of fashion event hipster attitude has sprung up around it, but then who cares ugh all that kind of attitude is dumb anyway! And it was fantastic.
I mean, it was also 111 degrees which was kind of awful, I’ve never in my life sweat so much. So much that my slip, that my mother hemmed so that it wouldn’t show under the black netting of the dress I was wearing, stretched considerably so by the time we got these photos the thing was totally visible at the hemline. Which is fine, no one cares anyway.
The dress in question is one I grabbed from Laura’s Vintage (of course, my favorite spot!) over the winter. It’s not in impeccable shape, but a few stitches to keep it together and some fusible interfacing made it relatively sturdy. I didn’t want to wear something perfect because I knew, given a tear or stain, I would be heartbroken and wonder for years why I wore such a thing!
I was also on the fence because while it is such in ideal print and color palette for late summer, it seems everyone else shows up in breezy pastels. In the end though I was totally thrilled with it and might even wear the whole get-up again, maybe to our local speakeasy (we have one, it’s great, but they don’t allow pictures ugh).
David was a real-deal true-blue trooper and wore pants, which I can’t even imagine, and a long sleeve button up with sleeves rolled. It hardly mattered that we were drenched though, because everyone was.
And everyone was also incredibly nice! We met so many really cheerful and wonderful people who helped with finding the ferry, lending sunscreen, letting us sit on a blanket (we didn’t bother bringing any), and a really lovely family gave us their extra drink and meal tickets when they decided to leave early.
Despite the heat and my terrible shoe choice (blisters the size of half-dollars on the soles of my poor feet), it was incredibly fun and I’m already trying to work out how to go in June without spending an arm and a leg and then some on hotels and transportation!
Anyway it was kind of a dream. It’s far enough away now that I can’t remember what the heat felt like, and I can’t wait to go again!