Pearls, Gin, and Dancing Shoes: The Jazz Age Lawn Party


This year marked my second time attending the Jazz Age Lawn Party–a 1920s-themed party on Governors Island in the middle of New York Harbor.

Since moving to New York, I have become a sucker for theme parties. This lawn party is the ultimate themed event for me because I get to dress up, picnic in the park, dance the Charleston (poorly), and drink gin. These are some of my favorite things.

My cousin, Meg, and I packed a picnic in the morning and left on our grand adventure from my apartment in Astoria to Governor’s Island. We met up with my friend, Julie, at southern tip of Manhattan and caught a ferry over to the island. Boat rides are also among my favorite things, so this was a perfect way to start the day.

Once we made it to the island, people dressed in their 1920s finest (you have to love suspenders and bow ties!) unfolded their picnic blankets in front of the dance floor. We began enjoying our own lunch: sandwiches with pimento cheese, cucumber and cream cheese, and peanut butter and honey. I’m very proud that since I’ve moved to the North, I’ve been able to introduce a lot of my friends to pimento cheese–a Southern delicacy.

Every year, in the beginning of the event, there is a dance lesson. Which is good for all of us “two left feet” types. For the second year in a row, I managed to make a fool out of myself while trying to dance the Charleston. But about half of the people around me were also making fools of themselves. Good thing there was enough gin to go around.

Gin truck: Everyone needs one!

Gin truck: Everyone needs one!

Throughout the day, there were performances by dancers much more talented than me. And Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra played music for people practice their new dance skills in between performances. Around the lawn everyone was lazing about playing cards, drinking, eating, and chatting. There were booths set up selling time-period-appropriate food, clothing and accessories, and also taking professional portraits.

Playing dress up with some crazy headbands and pearls.

Playing dress up with some crazy headbands and pearls.

It pains me to think that next year I will not be able to attend this awesome event. The Jazz Age Lawn Party has been my favorite summer experience in NYC!

Even if you aren’t in New York City for the party, there are plenty of wonderful events on Governors Island during the summer. Events are listed on their website.

Jazz Age Lawn Party Website:

Governor’s Island Website:


6 thoughts on “Pearls, Gin, and Dancing Shoes: The Jazz Age Lawn Party

  1. Stephen Jones

    Wow. This looks like so much fun! I’d never even heard of the Charleston, until I saw it on an old Doctor Who! I must say, it does look like a rather clumsy dance.

  2. Jo

    This sounds really fun! I’m really not one for dancing, but the Charleston looks so silly and fun that I’d make an exception for it!

  3. Cristy

    Truly an adventure! I too love the crazy beat of Jazz music and a little adventure out of town. Seeing the smiles you’ve got from your trip, Im pretty sure that you did enjoyed your second Jazz Age Lawn party. After all YOLO. LOL. Thanks for sharing this!

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