It has always felt a bit strange to be in New York during Mardi Gras. There’s no build-up to the big day like there is in New Orleans, where 63 parades roll BEFORE Mardi Gras day. So, all of a sudden, you’re going about your life, and you’re like “Woah, it’s Mardi Gras day.” And for a second, you’re like “Yay! Let’s do something!” And then you’re like, “Never mind.”
It’s true that you can find Mardi Gras-themed events in New York, but they’re usually ultra cheesy and offer something like unlimited jambalaya (so cliché!) and diabetes-inducing hurricanes for $50 a person at best. No thank you. (That said, I’ve found a few options that seem worth your time this Mardi Gras in New York, and you can check them out here and here.)
Basically, Mardi Gras in New York is kinda sad because it barely registers on people’s radar, and you walk around like “don’t you know it’s Mardi Gras,” “Where’s your Big Ass Beer,” and “Why are you wearing clothes?” Ok just kidding about that. I’d really prefer that most people remain clothed. Basically, it’s just completely impossible to recreate the vibe of Mardi Gras in New York, so it just ends up being lame.
However (and this is a huge however), one year Mardi Gras in New York was magical. Check it out.
Twelve years ago, Jenéesaisquoi asked me if I wanted to go to a Mardi Gras party at a bar in the West Village. For some reason (well, perhaps for all the reasons stated above), I didn’t feel like it, but I wanted to hang with my girl, so I threw on a “The best girls are southern” t-shirt and indulged her.
The party, if you can call it that, was at the Town Tavern (a frat boy-type bar that no longer exists), and it basically consisted of people drinking beer while wearing Mardi Gras beads. We were with another Louisiana friend, who had brought a king cake, so at least there was that. The same friend won $300 that night for having the most Mardi Gras beads, so there was that too.
But suddenly, the party became a party when I spotted this tall drink of water in the back of the bar and promptly recruited Jenéesaisquoi to help me flirt with him. I had never picked up a guy in a bar before, but I was not messing around and just went for it. Well, me going for it consisted of me going up to him with my wing-woman and offering him a piece of king cake. Of course he had to ask “what’s king cake?” So we explained that it’s a cake that is only available during Mardi Gras that has a plastic baby Jesus inside of it. I’m pretty sure we had RR at “plastic baby Jesus.” I mean, what’s not sexy about that? Twelve years later here we are preparing to move our butts (and our baby’s butt) down to New Orleans for this next stage of our lives.
I love that the only time I tried to pick up a guy in a bar the guy became my husband and baby daddy. I also really love that we met on Mardi Gras day. And I think that it means we were meant to end up in NOLA.
The moral of the story is… Just because Mardi Gras in New York sucks doesn’t mean you should knock it because you never know when a lame ass Mardi Gras party could become your New York Mardi Gras Love Story.