Monday, June 15, 2009

A Swell, Swingin' Time

June 5th was a day for traveling back in time, to the glory days of the Roaring Twenties. Ryan and a few friends joined me on a ferry trip across NY Harbour to Governor's Island, an old coast guard community that had since been abandoned.

It's back with lots of activities though, and tours through its many historical landmarks. I was amazed at how beautiful the island was; there were colonial homes surrounded by plush green grass. Towering trees that created an ethereal canopy of dappled rays of sun, and a path along the coast overlooking the NY skyline and Lady Liberty herself.

In one of the canopied clearings, there was a great lawn where the old timey "Dreamland Band" played merry tunes, which drifted eerily out of speakers and a microphone straight from the '20s, like the voice of a ghostly folly. It was so surreal, entering this grassy, heavenly-lit utopia of women in swaying dresses, fine lace and Japanese parasols, swinging happily with their dapper gentleman, who looked stately in their summer suits and hats.

I was of course, dressed for the occasion, as it seems both my look and personality are strangely akin to the flappers of the '20s. Perhaps I am stuck in the wrong era (or is it evidence of a past life?) Nevertheless, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to embody the swell, modern-minded gal of our country's earliest history. I draped myself in grandma's pearls, a frilly smock, and cloche hat, and hit the dance floor with Agathe.

Later, Ryan and I attempted the waltz (which I must say, wasn't half bad!) I'll admit rather romantically that this was almost fairytale in nature, swaying with my beau to the tune of a swooning clarinet, apart from the time we stepped on eachother's feet and snickered to ourselved in olde "News on the March" announcer voices.

Those who weren't dancing as if they were simply plucked from the era itself, were content to lounge on blankets in the grass, picking on picnic food and chattering amongst one another. It was like a real, moving exhibit of a Seurat painting.

A white tent sold summer cocktails of St. Germains and champagne, the suspendered bartenders using long, slender carafes to carefully mix the bubbling beverages. In turn, each patron was given a recipe card with scandalous 1920's risque photograph of a curvacious flapper in her under linens, either coquettishly posing or armed with a horse whip. Oh, how scandalous!

Unfortunately, we didn't have much time to explore, but what little I saw has enticed me to visit again very soon!

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