We asked Justine if it was possible to have an event with an outdoor vibe inside a New York City apartment and were surprised by her answer!
Not very many New Yorkers actually have outdoor space for dinner parties. How can you create the feel of eating outdoors while inside? The thing about having an outdoor space, especially in the city, is it can be a place where priority on what information you are receiving is inverted, from the intellect to the senses. Think about what feels good, what smells good, how fresh air feels on your skin. Use a fan to get a breeze going—feel and hear the place you’re in, open the windows. I’d start with fabrics that feel summery and look colorful on the table. Then add plants. Lots of plants. And no overhead light. If you want to take it all the way, try using garden furniture in your house—seriously, this can look great all the time and make your place feel like a real escape.
Recommended store, site, product or resource?
It’s all pretty basic—for me the most important thing is picking plants that are fresh and seasonal. I always go with whatever looks best on the day that I’m buying them—try to keep an open mind and open eyes.
One of my favorite things to do is use herbs in bouquets or as the greens with another flower. There are so many good looking, and smelling mints and basils and thymes available at the Green Market. I look for texture as much as color, and I tend to prefer masses of the one or two plants, so that you can really start to appreciate the complexity and character of each plant.
For a party like this one:
Green Market (especially Union Square or Prospect Park) for plants and flowers. If you are planning ahead, definitely talk to the vendors about your plans, they are often happy to bring extra or something specific for you.
Flower District (26th-28th st/6th ave) for vases and tools
Restaurant Supply shops on the Bowery for tea lights and votive candles
Wal-Mart for the mason jars
Garment District (37th-39th bet. 6th and 8th) for fabric
Pearl River department store (Broadway and Broome) for lanterns