By Kate Gavino

The Dreamland Follies and their impressive headgear (Credit: All photographs by author)

In its eighth year, the Jazz Age Lawn Party has become a New York City institution. Twice every summer, the subways and ferries are clogged with women in fringe and cloche hats, and men in suspenders and waxed mustaches, all headed to Governor’s Island to picnic and Charleston the day away. With the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, this year’s party was particularly spirited. Party newbies, drunk on sunshine and their newly purchased drop-waist dresses, were eager to partake in the roaring shenanigans. We eavesdropped on various revelers, and here is some of the choicest speakeasy gossip:


Man: We should’ve brought an authentic picnic basket. We look so stupid.

Man 1: I just don’t get sock garters.
Man 2: Me neither, but they look fly.

Woman: I want to dance!
Man: I don’t know those steps.
Woman: They’re giving out lessons. Come on.
Man: This is going to be ugly.

Woman: That woman is not dressed '20s. Maybe 1820s, amirite?

Man: Don’t leave!
Woman: I have to pee.
Man: I don’t want our picnic spot usurped.

Woman 1: That girl has your dress, too. That’s number three.
Woman 2: Well, I did get it from Forever 21.

Woman: I watched a ton of YouTubes on how to do finger waves, but it was just too hard.
Man: You could’ve worn a wig.
Woman: It’s too hot for a wig.
Man: True.
Woman: But, boy, would I wear the hell out of it.

Woman 1: Is that fan vintage?
Woman 2: Nah, Chinatown.

Woman: I can’t dance like that. My legs don’t bend that way.

Woman 1: We bought the Gilt package, we shouldn’t be sitting here.
Woman 2: I don’t think there are assigned places.
Woman 2: I thought there would be a special tent or something.
Man: Let me call customer service.

Man 1: What kind of cocktail is this?
Man 2: No idea. All I know is that it has elderflowers in it.
Man 1: Sweet, I’m drinking flowers.

Woman 1: Is that Bill Cunningham?
Woman 2: Ohmigod, where?
Woman 1: Taking pictures.
Woman 2: No, that dude’s way too old.

Child 1: I’m a flapper!
Child 2: What’s that?
Child 1: [shrugs]

Woman: God, this makes me want to do a Renaissance Faire again.

Man 1: Sweet hat, man.
Man 2: Thanks, I should wear it more often.
Man 1: Yeah, I’m definitely into the Mad Men style.