I’ve always been fascinated by culture in New York City. It’s a place I’ve been meaning to visit for what seems like ages now but I’ve never been able to get around to going. The boroughs of the city all have their own aesthetic and just like any other neighborhood within a large city there are pros and cons. The stigma surrounding Brooklyn and its inhabitants has been discussed ad nauseam, so I’ll spare you the details and just say this: Brooklyn has a large number of affluent white twenty-somethings and they can all be described as hipsters in one way or another.
But one man has taken that definition to a new level with something he dubbed the “Jazz Age Lawn Party” on Governors Island. He obviously resides in Brooklyn proper and the life that he has created for himself is a level of snooty and hip that I honestly didn’t think was possible. The lawn party that he throws bi-yearly was essentially the largest collection of assholes from New York City and abroad.
Per The New York Times:
Revelers bravely attempted to recreate 1920s cool in the face of hideous heat and humidity. There were men in boater hats, bow ties and suspenders; women wore bias-cut dresses and cloches while carrying parasols.
Picture, if you can, for a moment, a man with an almost penciled-on mustache in an all-white suit with trousers pulled up over the belly button and a peaky blinders-esque haircut conducting an orchestra of men in straw boater hats. That man would be Michel Arenella, chief dickhead and organizer of the twice yearly lawn party that happens on Governors Island.
Standing in the center of Gatsby’s Garden, the event’s V.I.P. section, was Michael Arenella, the conductor of the headliner, Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra, and the festival’s founder.
No 1920s party would be complete without an ode to “The Great Gatsby” because God knows we haven’t seen enough Gatsby-themed parties and weddings since DiCaprio played him a few years back. But Arenella, the founder of this abortion of a party hated “The Great Gatsby” because of course he did. Anyone who lives in Brooklyn and decides he wants to live like a prohibition-era common man couldn’t possibly like “The Great Gatsby,” which I’m guessing is just way too mainstream a book for him. A book like that which is almost universally loved is always going to be hated by hipsters.
“It [Gatsby] painted a picture of frivolity, reckless abandon,” he said. “The era was more than that. The lucky few were able to live in a world of comfort, but most were hard-working people giving birth to the modern era, creating things with their hands and minds. Flippancy doesn’t resonate with me.”
Flippancy doesn’t resonate with you, huh, Michael? You threw a party during an unprecedented heat wave on Governors Island where people were encouraged to dress like they were in the 1920s. How can I take you seriously when everyone is wearing the most impractical apparel you could possibly think of? Long, conservatively cut dresses for women and three piece suits that don’t breathe. Real smart, way to think it through, Mike. I bet those suits weren’t made with moisture wicking technology either because that would render them inauthentic.
“I do not own a microwave and I never will. Same goes for TV,” he said, attempting to define exactly how unfettered by technology he is. “I am dedicated to the culture of the ’20s,” he said while sipping an elderflower liqueur and prosecco cocktail. “I was hungry for an opportunity to perform music in a setting that wasn’t shticky or schmaltzy, just outdoors on a sunny afternoon unfettered by technology.”
How is throwing a Jazz-age garden party not the epitome of a shtick? You have a pencil-thin mustache and wear prohibition-era clothing. That is a shtick if I’ve ever heard of one. And not owning a microwave? Are you fist-fucking me right now, Michael? How does that even work? What do you do with leftovers? Wait for the oven to heat up and then toss them in there? That would take at least ten or fifteen minutes. Why? Why would you do that when a microwave heats the shit up in mere seconds? The not owning a TV thing is a no-brainer. I knew when I saw this guys picture, before reading this article, that Michael Arenella does not own a TV. He’s the guy at your local dive who lets you know he doesn’t have a Facebook, too. You can’t get more shticky if you tried.
So what does Michael do at home? Knit? This guy definitely buys ice in a giant block and then stores it in an icebox. No way he uses a refrigerator. That wouldn’t be very 20s of him. I don’t know what people did to entertain themselves in 1920 but I’m sure if we asked Michael he could give us a few pointers. And the worst part is it doesn’t stop with Mr. Arenella. Apparently there is quite a large subset of people living in New York City who are just really into 20s culture.
“I’ve been starting to dress like this all the time,” said Steven Wong, 29, a dancer who performed at the festival. “I don’t have a girlfriend now, but I would like her to be into the ’20s.”
Dude, you’re not going to get a girlfriend by living like this. Everyone in their 20s wants to sit in air conditioning and watch Netflix. You know why people drank Gin Rickies and played card games for entertainment in the 20s? Because there wasn’t television.
Am I taking crazy pills? Why would you want to live like this? Literally everything was a hassle to do back then. Every time I read articles about people like this, they inevitably live in Williamsburg and there’s a part of me that just thinks they’re trolling. Like no one can be this big of an asshole.
Adam Coren, a 26-year-old hat salesman and artist, said, “When I was 2, I made my mom buy me dress shoes instead of sneakers.”
Adam definitely got beat up in grade school. Can’t be showing up to school with dress shoes on unless an adult tells you that you have to. Adam Coren-asshole since the age of two. Incredible stuff. And to close it out, we’re left with one lasting image of the founder of the Jazz Age Lawn Party.
Mr. Arenella could be seen writing a text message on another outdated device: his flip phone.
Goddamnit, Michael. I hate you so much. .
[via New York Times]