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NY Philharmonic in Central Park, picnic or restaurant?

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The Concert in the Park is only 2 weeks away. It's my first time going and I'm very excited! Has anyone been before and do you recommend setting up a picnic or will you be dining nearby (where?) before heading over?

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  1. Always a picnic. Friends and I never miss any of the concerts in the park series. We treat it as a group effort -- everyone brings food, wine, blankets, etc. I usually bring a mixture of purchased (cheeses, baguette, fruit) and homemade (hummus, pasta salad, dumplings, whatever I'm in the mood for).

    It's a great time. We usually bring a couple of candles as well as bags to use for garbage.

    Enjoy it!

    1. Lots of people have a picnic at those things. People generally don't go there for the music. They go for the whole experience. It's not like you're at Avery Fisher watching and listening to the Philharmonic. People eat, drink and talk during the performance at Central Park. It's more like background music as opposed to the main focus. So you'd be perfectly fine bringing a blanket, a bottle of wine (not sure if this is legal or not, but a lot of people do it) and some treats.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Miss Needle

        Yes, a lot of people do treat it as "background music". Good phrase. One thing we've noted over the years -- the closer you are to the front the more seriously people take the music. So, to the OP, if you are going to yammer loudly, definitely go toward the back of the lawn because further up front you'll definitely get "shushed!".

      2. Agree with everything mentioned. Definitely picnic with wine and plastic cups (to conceal said wine), cheese, bread, fruit, etc. I often get "picnic envy" seeing what everyone around me has brought - people go all out. And yes - some people take this very seriously, so sit accordingly.

        1. candles and garbage bags... great idea. Maybe I'll make them citronella candles to keep the bugs away too. What picnic food have you seen people go all out with? Also, do you people bring lawn chairs or just blankets?

          I'd probably be part of the crowd that wants to listen to the music but my SO is not so maybe I'll just sit in the middle and near a speaker.

          3 Replies
          1. re: QueenPeach

            Sost people bring blankets though there are people who bring lawn chairs as well. Some people will even bring tables (low ones) and battery operated lamps. The food varies tremendously from pasta salads, roast beef, etc. to take out -- i've seen pizza guys deliver to the blankets!

            Also, if you want your pick of the grass, go early to stake your spot.

            1. re: comidaqueen

              ha - the pizza delivery - that is hilarious. when i say i bring cheese and crackers, i mean a box of triscuits and a block of cheddar cheese. others take that to mean various types of crackers, 5 different types of cheeses (each with their own little plate and knife), various assortments of olives, shrimp cocktail, etc. it's definitely a good time.

              1. re: RussianGirl

                "others take that to mean various types of crackers, 5 different types of cheeses (each with their own little plate and knife) ..."

                HA! Yup that's us. :) I'm usually in charge of cheese and, yes, I have 3 wooden cheese servers and knives to take to the park. You made me laugh because I guess we can get kinda crazy about the types and amounts of food we bring.

                One other thing we all have (I think 4 of us have them and we share) that comes in really handy -- a picnic backpack. It holds all the plates and utensils you might need along with cloth napkins and plastic "wine glasses". It also has storage space for food and an insulated side pouch for a wine bottle (or water or whatever). And best of all the backpack design makes it ideal for walking-NYers to take to the park.