On September 15th, the 6th annual New York City Dîner en Blanc will be back in a yet-to-be-disclosed location. The first round of registrations began yesterday, which are open to guests who attended last year and the second phase, guests of sponsored guests from the first phase, will open on Friday. After that, the tens of thousands on the waitlist might get to sign up if the dinner doesn’t fill up before then.
Here at Untapped Cities, we’ve had a long history with this pop-up white dinner – from our attendance annually in the Paris Dîner en Blanc, the original incarnation of the dinner, to our role in organizing the dinner in New York City since its inception.
While we can’t share any secrets of the upcoming dinner, we thought it would be a great moment to look back at the previous locations and speculate about where it might be this year. Let’s go back in time first to the year 2011, when the Dîner en Blanc first launched in New York City:
2011 Dîner en Blanc at the World Financial Center (now Brookfield Plaza)
The first New York City Dîner en Blanc took place in 2011 at the World Financial Center, now known as Brookfield Place. It was the smallest number of guests the New York City dinner has had so far, which made sense for its first year. Nonetheless, the New York City harbor and 1 World Trade Center, which was still under construction, made a beautiful backdrop to the first incarnation of the pop-up dinner.
The dinner is organized in a pyramidal fashion led by a core team, the Dîner en Blanc International based in Montreal and local leaders. Under the local leaders are numerous group leaders, who each lead 4 to 5 tables of 50 guests each. Each guest brings everything they need to have a dinner – tables, chairs, tablecloths, plates, cutlery, food – or they can purchase food from the caterers to pick up at the event (something that doesn’t happen in Paris). Here in New York City, due to alcohol laws, you can’t bring your own booze to the dinner. It has to be purchased through the caterer.
Each guest is given a meet up location somewhere around New York City, though in 2011, all guests walked to the site. With all the accoutrements of the dinner, the guests take the subway and are directed to a surprise location.