Thousands Head To Lincoln Center Lawn For Exclusive Diner En Blanc Party

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A famous mystery dinner was held Tuesday night in New York City.

Everyone knew they had to wear white, but they had no idea where le Diner en Blanc was taking place. But CBS2’s Reena Roy found it.

Heading up the subway stairs and walking block after block on a muggy August evening, the New Yorkers who came out for the diner had no idea where they were headed. But they were committed.

“It’s a little grueling, but we’ll enjoy ourselves when we get there,” said Edward Murray.

“I think it’s somewhere on the Upper West Side,” said Khianna Bartholomew.

The guests were dressed all to the nines in white as they lugged their own tables and chairs for Le Diner en Blanc.

So how do you make the cut? By having connections, or by finally getting off the 60,000-person waiting list.

Once that happens, guests do not get directions until the day of – trekking to the location with other diners.

It is a tradition that started in France 30 years ago, and then made its way to New York City.

“It is worth it — especially when we sit down and do the flag wave,” Bartholomew said. “It’ll be great.”

The symbolic moment was the flag wave marking the start of the seventh annual event.

This year, the roughly 5,200 people found themselves setting up shop for dinner outside Lincoln Center.

PHOTOS: Diner En Blanc 2017

“I don’t know if I know words to describe it,” another diner said. “It’s too beautiful to describe.”

“Magical, it’s so magical,” another said.

Some people brought their own fancy spreads, while others opted for a special dinner prepared by none other than Todd English.

“It’s so fun. I have to say I sort of forget every year when I pull up and see the event — all the white and everyone setting up their tables,” the celebrity chef said. “Look how fabulous the settings are.”

“I’m just so excited to be here,” said Jasmine Lawrence. “Honestly, I’ve been obsessing over the Instagrams for years now. I’ve been on the wait list for three years.”

And it was well worth the wait for a new extended family in this big city.

“That’s what it’s all about — getting people together; doing something outdoors,” said le Diner en Blanc co-founder Sandy Safi. “So the sense of community; sense of togetherness really comes out.”

And if you didn’t make it this time around, there’s always next year.

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