Behind the Scenes of Le Dîner en Blanc


Le Dîner en Blanc, the exclusive, romantic pop-up picnic event that takes NYC by storm each summer in a sea of white clothing, is back for 2019. The ultra-secret event is a picnic, where you bring all of the silverware, dishes, and table to a location kept private until the last minute, features Broadway stars from shows like Hamilton and Waitress. We got the chance to chat with Linda Davis, one of the organizers for the annual event.

Downtown: 2019 is the year of the woman – tell us what it’s like to be a part of this incredible event and to be a businesswoman in 2019? 

Linda Davies: As a “seasoned” event producer, and in my 30th year of business, I am in awe of how far not only the industry has come, but how brave so many women are now to take a leap of faith in themselves as I did 30 years ago, and just go for it! The greatest joy I have in my business, and personally, is mentoring women on how to navigate the many challenges presented to them including maintaining a sensible balance of work and play. One does not work without the other.  The team that produces Diner en Blanc New York is 98% women and every day I am inspired by their strength and dedication to this event. The team  – in every sense of the word – represents the very essence of what Diner en Blanc is about and the pride I feel when the last song is played is indescribable. 

DT: This year DEB 2019 New York, what was your greatest challenge? 

LD: Every year presents a different set of challenges. Always with this event, the challenge is finding a location that has the ability to handle not only the capacity needs of such a large event, but represents the city in a way that makes our guests truly feel they are in a New York moment!

DT: We see that this year there will not be a particular chef, what can the guests expect and what was the reason behind no chef this year? 

LD: This event is all about self-containment, including your table, chairs, cutlery, etc, etc. New Yorkers are notorious for having a sophisticated palate and are completely capable of creating an amazing meal. We wanted to challenge them this year to show us their talent. With that in mind, we understand not everyone likes to cook, or has the time, so we partnered with a great caterer, Great Performances, to provide picnic basket options for those who chose to focus on other aspects of the event. Many of our guests purchase their baskets so they have time to assemble their amazing ensembles. 

DT: Do you have a favorite city for DNB and do not feel that you need to say NYC?  

LD: Paris. Simply said, Paris is the ultimate Diner en Blanc experience. It began there and certainly set the tone for all of the other cities around the world.

DT: Give us one tid bit since it’s only a week away, that you have not shared? 

LD: I haven’t a clue what I am wearing.   But, seriously, we are being treated this year to an amazing performance by Jonathan Cilia Faro, a world-renowned opera singer. The guests are going to absolutely love the entertainment this year!

DT: New York has just past the law that all women are to be paid equally how does this make you feel? 

LD: Ecstatic! And it’s about time. 

DT: Thus far over the many years of producing this event in NYC what’s been your favorite location? 

LD: In Washington DC the event took place on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Nations Capitol. For the US, you can not get any more iconic than that!

Get on the waitlist now for next year if you want to experience the once-in-a-lifetime event!

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Grace Capobianco, CEO/Publisher of Downtown Media & Production was born to be a visionary. She has spent the majority of her life working, developing and marketing innovative media products that not only engage and inform but also bring entire communities together. Utilizing her personal vision as a professional guide, Grace started her first company, Tropical Publishing, when she was just 27 years old and from this moment on, she knew that entrepreneurship was her passion. On a perpetual quest to bring innovative and relevant news to communities, she also created, developed and published the first ever Chamber of Commerce magazine for the Palm Beaches, The South Florida Office Guide. Evolving within the realm of publishing, she moved on to launch Up The Coast magazine in the 1980’s, a guide to Jupiter, in north Florida, where the population aggrandized from 9,000 to more than 70,000 today, and then continued to hone in on niche markets with the launch of publications like Alternative Medicine and NewBeauty. Simultaneously, she launched ATSI, a telecommunications company, which sold Mitel and Siemens products to her publishing clients. The idea of Downtown Magazine NYC was born for Grace in the wake of the devastation of 9/11. A Lower Manhattan resident at this time, Grace saw firsthand the incredible sense of community the neighborhood had demonstrated during these trying times, as well as its immense strength and perseverance. She explored every angle of launching a magazine that would speak to this community but initially felt the timing was just too soon. It wasn’t until 2010 that Grace felt the community was ready to hear its voice and launched Downtown Magazine NYC.