The “Jazz Age Lawn Party” on June 11 and 12 on Governor’s Island is New York City’s original prohibition-era inspired gathering.
In addition to enjoying music and food, while strolling on the lawn during this event you can explore a number of items and activities, including antique gramophones, which bring to life original recordings from the 1920s. Take some dance lessons and learn the hottest dance steps of the time. View vintage portraits, perched on the Paper moon, or participate in the Bathing Beauties and Beaus Promenade, in which folks pull that itchy wool number out of the closet and parade it for all to see. Get up close and personal with flivvers and Tin Lizzies at the 1920s motorcar exhibition. See who wears the cat’s pajamas at the Charleston Dance contest. For those who are light on your feet and love to dance, make Officer Peabody proud at the Peabody Dance Contest. Check out the High Court of Pie Contest, with categories such as “Mom’s Best,” “Best Savory,” Most Original, and “Hobo’s Choice. For the kids, there will be carnival games with prizes for all the junior gents and flapperettes.
Hosted and conceived by Michael Arenella, the event started as a small gathering of perhaps fifty friends and fans. The event, initially produced by the island, was handed over to Michael in its third year to organize and grow. Under his watch, the event was carefully crafted and nurtured, becoming what is now referred to by The Wall Street Journal as, “the biggest (not to mention the cleanest and most family-oriented) regular event in the ‘Retro Noveau’ movement…” It was at this time that St-Germain joined forces with The Lawn Party, delightfully whetting the whistles of fops and flappers with their refreshing summer cocktails.
Michael Arenella is a musician, crooner, bandleader and impresario best known for leading his Dreamland Orchestra at his Jazz Age Lawn Party on New York’s Governors Island. Michael’s love of jazz and Jazz Age culture inspired him to throw the first Jazz Age Lawn Party in 2005 for an intimate group of friends and fellow torch carriers of a by gone era. While first timers might have thought it was a historical reenactment, to Michael, his orchestra and his admirers, the clothing, the music and the dancing were all genuine. For Michael, the Jazz Age never really ended, it just fell asleep. He reawakened it on Governors Island. Now under a canopy of trees and sunlight, caressed by fresh sea air, this living legacy is again vital and has returned to the zeitgeist of the present.
In addition to spreading the good word of Hot Jazz through this annual event, fans can follow Michael and his work at his residences: The Clover Club, Flatiron Lounge, Lucey’s Lounge and The Red Room; as well as through his albums “Blue River” (2011) and “Just in Time” (2015), available for purchase at the Jazz Age Lawn Party’s General Store or online at his website: www.DreamlandOrchestra.com.
Selected by The New York Times as one of the most memorable events of 2011 and 2012, The Jazz Age Lawn Party offers a magical opportunity to travel back in time. Two weekends a year, guests are invited to discover and experience one of the most colorful and formative epochs in American history.