New York's fifth Diner en blanc draws 5,000 riverside

New York's fifth Diner en blanc draws 5,000 riverside
PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK - Some 5,000 foodies and fashionistas gathered late Tuesday on the banks of the Hudson River in New York for the fifth edition of the "Diner en blanc" (Dinner in White).

Organizers of the pop-up picnic where attendees dress to the nines entirely in white chose the huge Pier 26 structure this time in the hip Tribeca neighborhood.

In accordance with tradition, organizers kept the location secret until the last minute.

Participants, all signed up ahead of time, brought their own food, along with tables, chairs, dishes, a white tablecloth, roses and hydrangeas - all white, of course.

The uber-trendy picnic had a waiting list of 35,000 people who never made it to the event.

Under an open sky in blistering heat of 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 Celsius), the crowd by kicked off the evening twirling their white napkins.

In retro style, men and women dressed with extravagant hats, mantillas, feathers and lace dresses.

All is in accordance with the organizers' dictum.

Guests "must wear white and be dressed elegantly. Originality is encouraged as long as it stays stylish and denotes taste," the New York event's website says.

Guests delighted in their picnic contributions - sushi, garden salads, salmon, deli meats, cheese and red fruit accompanied by champagne or wine provided by the organizers.

For those who are not avid cooks, American chef Todd English provided several options, including garlic and rosemary lamb, chicken Milanese with arugula and poached salmon with wild mushrooms and zucchini slivers.

After the dinner, hundreds of dancers took over a centrally placed stage.

"It's wonderful," said co-founder Aymeric Pasquier.

"It's always very difficult to organise such an event in New York, but this is what allowed us to launch the Diner en blanc internationally." By midnight, all guests were due to leave the premises, taking their trash with them.

The yearly tradition dates back to an event 27 years ago in Paris at which organizers invited guests to all wear white so they could be easily spotted in a park.

This year, about 70 cities in more than 35 countries have or will see a Diner en blanc, from Paris to Johnannesburg and from Montreal to Tokyo.

About a hundred cities are on the waiting list, according to organizers.

Last year, the New York event took place at Nelson Rockefeller Park in southern Manhattan with a beautiful view on the Hudson.

In 2013, white chairs and tables were set at Bryant Park, a year after the event took place at the Lincoln Center. For its first edition in 2011, 1,200 people met in Battery Park.

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