Late last week, Jersey City hosted its inaugural Le Dîner en Blanc. Over 1,000 guests arrived at Lincoln Park dressed to the nines in all white, equipped with their own tables, white tablecloths, white chairs, white table settings, and white tableware. The night was full of socializing, snacking, drinking, admiring art (and outfits), dancing, and celebrating the community.
This “secret,” French-inspired pop-up picnic event has reached over 120 cities since 1988. The concept was established when founder François Pasquier hosted a picnic in the Bois de Boulogne to celebrate his return to Paris after spending several years abroad, in Haiti. With the dinner being outdoors, and keeping the vastness of the public park in mind, Pasquier asked his guests to wear all white so they could easily spot one another. This dinner repeated year after year, slowly growing and morphing into the global phenomenon it is today.
About the Jersey City Event
Art House Productions hosted the event, which featured an impressive lineup of artists including Sunil Garg of Galleria Ca’ d’Oro, Index Art Center, and Melissa Ulto of Blue Man Group. Getty Institute brought light-up elements to the space.
A group of dancers, led by choreographer Morgaine de Leonardis, dispersed across the park and incorporated their surroundings into their different dance styles. The Big Lazy, an NYC-based instrumental trio, accompanied dinner with jazz- and blues-inspired music. Later in the night, DJ Paul Mendoza kept guests on the dance floor with a fun, upbeat set.
Official event partners for Jersey City included The KRE Group, a local real estate company; CoolVines, a Jersey City based wine retailer; and The Office of Cultural Affairs in Jersey City, an advocate, curator, and producer of local arts and culture.
An Inside Look
Interested parties learned the location of the intentionally mysterious event the night of. At 5 p.m., I received a text with location details, put on my white dress and shoes, and headed out. I visited the media lounge, which Don’t Sit Home‘s Amanda Morrison hosted. Don’t Sit Home is a Jersey City-, Hoboken-, and NYC-based concierge service that inspires locals to visit new places and try new things!
Cool Vines offered a tasting of eight wines throughout the night. My favorites were Sergio Drago, a crisp, Sicilian rosé and Mont Rubi, a vibrant white.
I snacked on delicious quiche from CSW Catering, a Bayonne-based, full-service caterer, and rounded out the night with sweets from Choc O Pain and Babycakes Bakery, both local bakeries with memorable desserts. I also couldn’t help but notice the red carpet-, slow motion-style photo booths at the event. They kept a steady line all night. I made sure to visit one myself on my way out.
Despite the extensive guest list and chic nature of the event, Le Dîner en Blanc remained true to its original concept, as a gathering among friends. Throughout the event, I overheard conversations about local restaurants and people making follow-up plans to visit them. It was a great reminder of all Jersey City has to offer. I will be telling others about this for years to come.
Upcoming Opportunities to Attend
If you are interested in attending Le Dîner en Blanc in the future, register for the waitlist or ask to be sponsored by a former attendee. New York’s tenth edition will be September 19. Keep an eye on the website or follow their social accounts for updates!