Monday, June 24, 2013

Cavorting with the masses, or not

Consulate General of Sweden's 2013 Midsommar / Midsummer party in NYC |  *sparklingly |  "Cavorting with the masses, or not"
{  The Consulate General of Sweden's Midsommar party in Battery Park  |  21 June 2013  }

Crowds. Navigating the masses, trying to avoid trampling toddlers, straining to hear above the clatter.

Big parties. Introductions, mingling, small talk, pleasantries.

Two situations that I'm exceedingly bad at. It's the reason I hyperventilate at the Union Square Greenmarket (and why I never go anymore). It's also why I never rushed a sorority, and why I'm not  too enthusiastic about big gatherings or festivals (last week I took the ferry across to Williamsburg to visit the original outpost of Smorgasburg and I panicked getting off the boat when I saw the crowds.) Probably a combination of my huge level of shyness and my inability to be calm when I'm thirsty / hungry and it looks like procuring something to assuage my parched mouth and grumbling stomach will be difficult (which is exactly what happened at Smorgasburg).

All this slipped my mind this weekend.

First, when we realized that we could finally make this year's Midsommar party thrown by the Consulate General of Sweden. To be fair, I didn't think we'd be in the midst of masses of people. Seriously, look at these pictures (this is from last year, but the crowds were the same, if not increased, this year)! Who knew there were so many Swedes in New York?

I walked down from work in Soho (carrying my laptop and walking 2 miles in the heat probably didn't help my frame of mind) to meet R outside the park. Within two seconds two things were clear: Swedish children with wreaths of flowers are adorable, especially when they're holding hands and skipping around and, there were only 5-6 kiosks with food and drink for the hundreds of people milling around. The lines were ridiculously long, but at least Swedes, being Swedes, the lines were also frighteningly straight and orderly.

We had already missed the raising of the Maypole (it's done at 5PM and we were still at work), but we had hoped to watch the dancing and singing. Sadly, after 20 minutes of trying to fight our way through the crowds we decided we had soaked up enough Swedishness and walked up the Esplanade to the North Cove Harbor to sit out by the yachts with a platter of chips & guacamole and pork tacos for me, burgers for R and beer for both.

It was delightful. And there were no crowds.

And, because I hadn't learned my lesson, I went to a housewarming in Dumbo Saturday night and didn't time my arrival well. R wasn't able to come (he excels in large social situations), so I was left to fend for myself and try to talk to people for the first hour and a half. Then, mercifully, another gal I'm close to arrived and we escaped to the roof with two others (one being the hostess), and finally, we got to chat and sip our drinks and enjoy the view of Manhattan.

So, here's my new official lesson/survival tactic for overwhelming social situations: When at a big party, form your own smaller one. (And if smothered in a large crowd, leave and create your own—because who needs that?).


  1. oh I was kind of excited about seeing this pic on insta and wanted to hear if it was a fun midsummer... I'm 100% with you on festivals, street fairs and big crowds. I hate!!!! But unlike you I do enjoy large "private' parties. strange huh! Oh and i used to love that marina are to sit down for a beer and munchies... summer in NYC is def great. That you can't argue with. Just not on a 'garbage day' :)

    1. I was so exited, too! I think if we had been able to be there for the start of the festivities (5PM), it would have been more enjoyable. I was reading about how these parties take place in Sweden and apparently they're much more intimate. Usually a couple of families together or in some cases, small villages have their own Maypole. That seems more my style ;).

  2. sympathy here...i also require C is social situations...


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