if you live in NYC, or are visiting during the summer, plan a trip to governor's island. have a picnic, explore the ghost town, the fort, the castle, get an amazing view of the city and the statue of liberty.
but my favorite time to head over there is during the jazz-age lawn party:
true, there are more crowds, but it's fantastic to see people dressed to the nines on a sunday afternoon. you'd expect a lot of girls to get into it (and they DO), but the number of guys that dress up is amazing. it's fenced off on colonel's row, and headlined by the dashing dreamboat micheal arnella and his impeccably dressed dreamland orchestra:
buying a ticket entitles you to dance floor access, vintage clothing dealers, st. germaine cocktails, dance performances, and paper moon photos (!)
but the best part is that you don't have to buy a ticket to enjoy the festivities. you can hear the band playing from all over the island, and it's great people watching. the party spills over the abandoned front yards with picnicking, badminton, and dancing.
for some really great photos of the party in june, head over to this flickr page, or my hero bill cunnigham's ny times write up. but don't let the lack of jazz keep you from visiting any other weekends! there's still a ton of interesting things to do that don't involve costumes and dancing:
tour the newly opened castle williams:
explore the super creepy storage dungeons in the fort:
or wander around the abandoned houses in nolan park:
my only gripe about the island is that there really aren't any food options- but not to worry. the brooklyn flea has many great picnickable delicacies, and you can jump on the east river ferry a few steps away.
with or without the jazz, it's still a time warp when you step off the boat (but it doesn't get much better than a ferry full of flappers and dappers).