Saturday, April 7, 2012

Destinations: The Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival

Loungerati's Eff at the Easter Parade
The Easter Parade & Bonnet Festival is one of the last remaining authentic New York traditions. From the late-19th century until the 1950s, over one million people attended the annual event. Crowds may have thinned in this last half-century, but hardcore New Yorkers with penchants for ceremony and haberdashery keep it relevant.  Today, New Yorkers will put on their finest attire, sport creative head wear, and promenade up-and-down Fifth Avenue for several hours like Judy Garland and Fred Astaire. It is an informal amble, and any line between spectators and participants ebbs and flows like the Avenue's traffic.

From a lounge lifestyle-perspective, aficionados of vintage style hang up their tweeds and break-out fresh and found bright fashions. If you like to see boaters, seersucker, bonnets, poplin suits, bow ties, boutonnieres, and a glamorous, sartorial crowd, it is a must-attend event. Whether one is religious or not, the Easter Parade is treated by the city as its entrance to Spring. Jazz Age stalwarts such as Michael Arenella & The Dreamland Orchestra set up guerrilla performances in front the University Club. Lindy hoppers from the decade-old website and community, Yehoodi, show up with prepared routines as shutterbugs snap the whole scene. The New York Times photographer, Bill Cunningham, nips in and out the throng to spot those who'll grace next weekend's Sunday Styles section.

The Easter Parade runs from 10 a.m. through until 4 p.m. Gather in front of Rockefeller Center before making your way up to 57th Street, then stroll back down Fifth Avenue, and repeat! Once you are finished strutting your finest duds and headwear,head to these post parade destinations.

Since 1907, teetotalers have been getting their tea fix on at the traditional 4pm tea service Palm Court at the venerable Plaza Hotel (768 Fifth Avenue). The recent renovation has restored the 1,800 square foot stain glass sky light to its original grandeur. Linger for the savory snacks such as truffled quail egg sandwiches or freshly baked scones and gourmet pastries. It is a luxury indulgence and but worth the experience.

Thirsty parade goers should promenade over to King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel (2 East 55th Street at Fifth Avenue). This is birthplace of the Red Snapper, the predecessor of the Bloody Mary, which was invented in 1934. Order one with Gin (Beefeater or Plymouth) to get the authentic flavor of the era and quench that thirst under Maxfield Parrish's 30 foot long mural. Try to pick out John Jacob Astor in the painting and no the barkeeps won't give any hints.

Happy Easter from Loungerati!

1 comment:

  1. Very surprised and delighted to see you folks back in action! Hurrah!