By Naomi Sternstein
It’s summer in the city, in case you haven’t yet heard! The grasses beg for our picnic blankets, the flowers and expansive trees muffle the usual bustle and noise. We will do anything to be outside (recent heat advisories aside, when outdoor tables on the porch of San Ambroeus or in Hudson Clearwater’s garden were forsaken for an unbeatable spot near our AC unit and whatever we had in the fridge). Luckily for us inhabitants of the West Village, public outdoor gardens and spaces are aplenty.
This summer feeling, and perhaps what felt like a round robin of children’s birthday parties at the playground across from our apartment, inspired us to forgo the usual restaurant dinners and indoor gatherings and host my sister’s 29th birthday party one Tuesday night outside at Pier 46 on the Hudson River. Friends, this sunset celebration of 15-20 guests was a night to be reveled in!
I’m laying out some tips, so you too can host your next celebration outside and enjoy this summer gift.
Choose your location. Scout this out ahead of time. I recommend a spot that already has a few picnic tables for you to lay out the goods! If you want the view, then opt for one of the many piers on the Hudson (and bonus points for having clean public restrooms handy).
Food and libations. You’ll need food that travels. We made a colorful crudité platter with dips, chips, and had a few family-sized pies from Numero 28 delivered (anything to ease our load). They also have a discount for ordering online. If you’re celebrating a birthday, don’t forget the cake! To drink, bring bottles of water or seltzer, and your own Signature Cocktail or Mocktail. We mixed up a refreshing Paloma (Mezcal, Grapefruit and Lime Juices, Agave nectar) at home, and carried it over in portable pitchers.
Tunes. Make a playlist for the evening on Spotify and bring a portable Bluetooth speaker. After reading too many reviews, we purchased a JBL Charge 4, though there are plenty of speakers out there for a range of budgets. If you choose to play music, make sure to be respectful of anyone else enjoying the public space.
The odds and the ends. You’ll also need garbage bags, a paper tablecloth to make cleanup easy, forks, knives, cups, napkins and plates. You can pick up some sustainable options or be decorative and pick a theme (read: glittery cups and pink flamingo print napkins).
Get there a little early to secure your spot and set up. Then pour yourself a drink, wipe the sweat off your forehead, and smile—it’s the summer!