Saturday got off to a wrong start. I woke up with no voice, feeling weary and cranky. It was the beginning of a splendid day, yet I wasn’t feeling it.
After an hour or so, I pulled myself out of bed and started getting ready, or so I tried.
Why is the dress still wrinkled?! Why won’t my hair curl?! Where are my stockings?!
I eventually got myself out the door at a very late 1:30pm. The Jazz Age Lawn Party had started since 11 am, yet I was nowhere close. I hopped into a cab, to save time.
Almost an hour later, furious to have spent so long in traffic (Brooklyn Bridge was closed), and to have just missed the 2:30pm ferry going to Governors Island, I was now hungry and even crankier. Once my friends arrived, we got on the next ferry and off we went, finally. I was now at ease.
Not for long though. I soon lost them while they were getting drinks. With almost no phone signal, this translated in me traversing the lawn area up and down, left and right, one too many times. Looking for them in say … a crowd of 9000?!
One hour later, I had made peace with myself that this was just not going to be my day. They didn’t spot my bright pink polka dot dress either. So I proceeded in leisurely walking around, trying on hats, and taking pictures.
As soon as I made it to the dance floor overlooking the stage, a message finally came through. By now, I didn’t want to leave to meet them. The Dreamland Orchestra was playing, performers were dancing, and so was everyone else. I stayed a few extra minutes, until my battery could last no more.
It turns out the extended group had camped out on a picnic blanket nearby; we must have walked right by each other. The rest of the afternoon was spent taking pictures, dancing, checking out the vendors and the cars, oh, the cars!
With my friend Fresh Traveler
Towards the end, we finally moved to the stage. We listened to the extraordinary Dreamland Orchestra and enjoyed an epic finale of the first Jazz Age Lawn Party of the year.
And then I met Gatsby.
Just as Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby character was devilishly handsome, so was this one. By his name Michael Arenella, he is the event founder, bandleader of his Dreamland Orchestra and singer.
We had never spoken before, but we did in fact know each other.
In true New York style (make that Gatsby style), he confessed noticing me out of the crowd at last year’s Jazz Age Lawn party. Or should I say my stockings? I noticed his absorbing stage persona and dapper poise. No introductions were ever made.
Unlike the 1920s, he stumbled on a photo of myself over the Internet and found me on Facebook.
It was only a year after that we ever said a word. I was scrambling to change some tickets, and Michael courteously agreed to help. And here I was that day, listening to him sing once again.
He smiled and waved hello from the stage and at the end of the day, we finally spoke in person. Nice to meet you, Mr Gatsby. Thank you for another roaring jazz age event!
What’s next in this New York 1920s chapter? Not sure, but I can’t wait.
If you want to experience a trip back in time, come back on Governors Island on August 16th and 17th for the second installment of the Jazz Age Lawn Party.