Summer Soirée: Champagne Edition
By Niree Noel
The invitation led guests Uptown, to an icon of New York’s halcyon days. The dress code said: dinner jackets, dressy gowns, and don’t forget the dancing shoes. It was a warm Tuesday night in mid-July. We had Champagne and twinkle lights, sparklers and a big band. And 150 well-heeled guests waiting near Central Park to walk down a candlelit stone path and into the courtyard at Tavern on the Green.
What’s more old school New York than Tavern on the Green? We don’t know, but we weren’t interested in finding out. Originally a sheep house on the verdant pastures of Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park, Tavern on the Green first became a restaurant in 1934 and has on-and-off operated as such since. Its old wood entryway speaks to the bygone days, whereas a recent remodel encircling the dining room in floor-to-ceiling glass windows keeps the place au courant. But nothing -- nothing! -- compares to that courtyard.
Strung with twinkle lights and laid with cobblestones, the courtyard at Tavern on the Green is a dream. Tall trees sway imposingly overhead while servers dart in and out of the many, many doors nearby. You sort of feel like you’re in a rom-com a la the golden age of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
We stocked the bars with Taittinger Champagne and Bluecoat Gin cocktails, and it’s a good thing we did: the crowd showed up, ready to cheers the night away. When it came to styling up the setting, we called on Jessie Weaver to help achieve that elevated feel. Besides bringing in an array of delicate flowers in a pale, soft palette, Jessie (perhaps, illegally) gathered an assortment of accoutrement that would really help us start -- and end -- the night with a bang. Namely, sparklers on beautiful trays and matches in matching packets.
Paul Loren & His One-Night-Only Band arrived in tuxedos, setting up instruments in not one but two locales: outside, where guests later sipped Champagne and indulged in a sumptuous serve-yourself supper over some light jazz; and inside, where everyone convened over an open bar and a rather raucous dance floor, bouncing to the beat of some jazzified contemporary songs. Amy and Patrick and the crowd of enthralled members and guests danced their hearts out to everything from the Beatles to the Trolls theme song, until the Tavern staff turned the lights on just past midnight.
But earlier that evening, as our members and guests stood awaiting on the sidewalk while yellow cabs headed up Central Park West, they had no idea what was yet to come. They simply buzzed with excitement, because let’s be real: in what other world besides the Spring Street world are you wearing black-tie on a Tuesday night?