Jenny Atwood Smith (left), Union Square, Manhattan
"Our families both raised us to be very resourceful. We’ve been vintage shopping since we were kids. My mom used to buy us clothes; my sister and I would share."
Caitlin Monahan, Gramercy Park, Manhattan
"I used to create nostalgic music on toy instruments. So being here is almost like my past life expression. This feels very natural, like being at home in the era I was meant to be. "
Nathan Musgrove, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
"I used to play in a jazz quartet back when I was in high school and I love this kind of music. My girlfriend, Katie, is very into this scene too. She’s come three years in a row so she got tickets early this year. When you live in Greenpoint it’s very easy to find vintage clothing...you can find it on the sidewalks."
Douglas Gavin, Washington, DC
"It’s my first time on Governors Island. It’s fun, like I’m in a different period. Like I’m taking a step back in time."
Zhong-Jing Fang, Upper West Side, Manhattan
"We like 1920s style, we like the look and we like to see different fashions. I get really inspired watching people be creative in their own way. I get inspired because I’m an artist myself, a dancer. I like to shop for vintage clothing and I like to put different things together."
Will Heath (left), Astoria, Queens
"I love being amongst the trees on Governors Island and feeling like we’ve been transported back to the 1920s. But maybe I should have been to the gym before donning a tank and worked on the tan."
Ashleigh Bills, Louisville, KY
"We made the shirts. It was so cheap and easy to do. Then we put these vinyl stripes on our shorts."
Cadecia Josephs, Midwood, Brooklyn
"It’s one of my favorite parts of American history, the 1920s. It was a time when women were really coming into their own, and it was an empowering period. Women were kind of branching out into different careers that they never did before, like business. I feel like it was a good era for women."
Stina Dallons, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
"I bought the bathing suit on eBay, and got it cheap because it was plain. The suit was too large for me so I did a temporary sew job to fit my frame. To ‘jazz’ it up a bit, I added an art deco belt buckle to the ensemble attached by a piece of ribbon. I found the buckle at a flea market in Paris."
Julie Kavanagh, Harlem, Manhattan
"I love this period, so it’s a great excuse to dress up from the ’20s and listen to amazing music and dance and picnic. It’s in the City but it’s separate, and then you look around at all these old buildings and it kind of transports you back in time."
Anna Popkov, Astoria, Queens
"I love dressing up and I love jazz, so this was the perfect event that married two of my favorite things to do. My dress is a sample dress by Aidan Mattox that I bought from a friend. The headpiece I've had for several years...BCBG, maybe? And the necklace was a gift from a friend. The fan I borrowed from a friend too. It takes a village!"
Michael Mooney, West Village, Manhattan
"I’ve been coming to the Jazz Age Lawn Party for five years. I love dancing. I’m 74, I’ll be 75 in December. I’m also a musician and composer, and I’m writing a Broadway musical that travels back to this period; it’s called Jump. I’ve always loved this music and now I’m dancing to the music that I love."
Jazz Age Lawn Party Fashions
Every summer, the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island turns back the clock to the Roaring Twenties. Hundreds of people get gussied up for two weekends of daytime fun as they kick up their heels to the vintage sounds of Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra (which also performs Wednesdays at the Clover Club in Brooklyn). Click through for a look at the fashions and stories of some of last year’s participants, and dress up for the 2018 edition (June 16–17 and August 25–26).