What You Missed at Last Night’s Dîner en Blanc
New York like we’d never seen it. Photo: Melissa Hom

After a day of annoyance amid thoughts of muddy shoes and the need to procure a “white, clear, or tan umbrella,” Grub Street got the call with Dîner en Blanc’s secret location precisely at 6 p.m. When we arrived at the World Financial Center’s “winter garden,” set against the harbor with a backdrop of bobbing yachts, we were happier than we thought we’d be to see rows of linen-swathed tables, branded white balloons, and 1,150 attendees clad in achromatic attire. It actually felt like a New York we’d never seen: jauntier, old-fashioned-looking. Dare we say, more French?

Though organizer Sandy Safi did admit that the weather yesterday had been “intensely concerning,” she was ultimately not surprised that le dîner had been spared la pluie. “Twenty-three years and not a drop,” she said of the white-dinner tradition, which began in Paris as a gathering of friends and has spread to Montreal, Quebec City, and this year, New York.

As a band played and the masts of the (conveniently color-coordinated) boats swayed against the sunset, ordinary New Yorkers happened by: jogging, pushing strollers, riding delivery bicycles. One woman, dressed in black, snapped a photo of the bright white spectacle as guests adorned with turbans, cloches, and all manner of headwear (not required, but quite popular) dug into baskets of food and bottles of wine they’d either brought or preordered. Across the way, there were the beer-y masses drinking outside of P.J. Clarke’s, which was fine with Dîner’s attendees and organizers. After all, what’s a spectacle without spectators? Speaking of which, feel free to do a little gazing of your own in our slideshow.

Earlier: Le Dîner en Transparent Raincoat

What You Missed at Last Night’s Dîner en Blanc