[Update: Photos from the NYC Dîner en Blanc] With the 2011 Paris Dîner en Blanc now in the past, it’s time to look forward to the New York dinner on August 25th! For New Yorkers, here’s some background on this annual flash mob event. [Update: Untapped has its seats confirmed, here’s what to bring]
It’s an invite-only secret dinner party for thousands of people that descends upon a different and very public location each year. The location is announced upon boarding pre-arranged buses that take the invitees to the dinner spot. You set up rapidly and begin the festivities. Everyone must wear white, bring dinner in a picnic basket, chairs, table and champagne. The Dîner en Blanc was started buy a man named FranÃ§ois Pasquier, who invited a few friends to the Bois de Boulogne one day in June. To find each other in the park, they all wore white. The dinner was such a success that they decided the next year, each person would invite some other friends and the event grew organically into the 10000+ dinner it is today.
“From a preservation perspective, I have always been impressed by the progressive view the Parisian government has on the usage of venerated architecture, permitting large electro parties to happen in the Grand Palais and other formal institutions. The Paris police have tried to break up the Dîner en Blanc (hence the need for secrecy), but I still think it reflects the spirit of Paris and its constant reinvention of history on already storied locations. It also raises an interesting question about preservation: do we over-protect historic buildings in America, thereby preventing the current generation from putting their imprint on the spaces? Perhaps preservation should also mean participation. If the Dîner en Blanc were to happen in New York, the process would probably be a bit more democratized and less ‘classy,’ but I just can’t imagine 10,000 people descending on the MET and the police (or the museum board) just letting it happen. Can you?”
Well, this year we’ll get a chance to test it out. First, instead of needing to be well-connected (like in Paris), you can just sign up! There is even a Facebook page. The first NYC edition will have 1000 guests, compared to the 12,000-14,000 some years in Paris. The event is organized by Aymeric Pasquier, the son of the founder of the Dîner en Blanc, and he’s already brought it to Montreal, Quebec, Berlin, Amsterdam and Munich.
Where do you think it will be? Hope to see you there in August!
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.