New York City  Dîner en Blanc went through all the stages of hyped events–buzz, controversy, confusion, resignation, elation–and ultimately went off without a hitch. I’ve attended the Paris  Dîner en Blanc several times, and New York had a distinct flair. In Paris, the events take place at the most well-known monuments amidst the architecture of Napoleon and Louis XVI. In New York, we were at the World Financial Center–the Cesar Pelli-designed buildings that so iconically rose from the clouds of ash during 9/11. In the background, the yet-to-be-completed 1 World Trade Center commanded our attention, whether one liked the monolith or not.

The attendees were a blend of French transplants (my table) and the mix of what makes New York, New York. It lacked the homogeneity that is the Paris  Dîner en Blanc, but it was refreshing. Passerbys said, “This is so New York,” and fittingly they had already claimed it as our own. And by the end of the evening, random strangers had become friends. Still, it is much better told in pictures.  On the way to the dinner–chairs, tables, picnic baskets, umbrellas and table settings in hand:

This cop was really concerned about the where the location was going to be.

Our row, setting up and getting ready:

We ordered our picnics from Telepan on the Upper West Side, which after extensive research into the picnic basket offerings all over New York City, we determined to have the most variety and flexibility:

One of the more fantastic outfits of the evening:

An early toast, as I was with a group of French friends:

Less flash-mob, more reception but still great to be able to eat outdoors:

 Respecting the French tradition of waving your handkerchiefs:

 World Financial Center and 1 World Trade Center:

Our food from Telepan:

Two weeks will mark the 10th anniversary of September 11th. This is One World Trade Center, in the evening.

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.