Last night I had a fantastic time with 100-some other guests at Michael Ingbar's "125th Surprise Birthday Party" aboard the lightship Frying Pan off of the Hudson River.
Ingbar is one of the most fascinating, eccentric and cool people that I have ever known. A die-hard lindy hop and balboa enthusiast, he runs a succesful framing and art business in Manhattan. He's also an avid windsurfer, world traveller and man about town.
So it makes sense that he would not throw just any ordinary birthday party for himself.
Being eccentric, one of the requirements he stipulated for coming to his party was that each guest should provide a chocolate cake. Actually let me reproduce the exact requirements from the invitation:
There is something very private about me most of you don’t know about. Mainly, that many years ago, my doctor, during a routine physical examination, found a problem in my blood, and I was diagnosed with a chocolate deficiency. I am forced to eat chocolate daily. Dark chocolate is best, and my actual prescription is for 86% Ghirardelli or 85% Lindt in bars. But any will do.
Bring a chocolate cake. A real cake. You don’t have to make it yourself, but it would be nice! Chocolate outside and chocolate inside is best. Even chocolate sprinkles or chips or chocolate whip cream would add a nice touch. Bon Bons or Chocolate Mouse is ok, but NO DONUTS, CUPCAKES (except really really good ones!), PIES OR TINY LITTLE CAKES!! You will be required to show your cake at the entrance, and if the door person thinks you are stingy, you’ll have to pay some cash!
If you don’t have time to bake a cake, or time to shop for one, you can bring about $15 worth of Dark Chocolate Bars or something exciting like that. Do not bring Ice Cream!!
Being a good guest, I brought a german chocolate cake. Others brought tiramisu, flourless chocolate cake, chocolate cheesecake, and strangely, a pecan pie. It was a ridiculous amount of dessert!
Of course, most of us were dancers, so we came to dance! So we enjoyed dancing on the boat to two bands, the talented Mad Jazz Hatters and the Gelber and Manning Duo. Queen Esther sang a couple of songs, which reminded me of how much I love the hear her.
My friends Emily and Monica added to the entertainment with spirited and fun yoga and hula hoop demonstrations, respectively.
Just being on the Frying Pan is amazing. It's a rustic wreck of a boat, having resided on the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay for awhile before being dredged up and repurposed as a party boat. Everything is covered in rust, with weird added accents like a barber's chair, preserved animals in tiny bottles, and random nautical gear adding to the delapidated ambiance.
The party goers added to the character of the happening with their own costumes, from sexy sailors to pirates, mermaids and vintage beach attire. Michael Ingbar looked amazing in a ridiculous Captain Crunch outfit. I unfortunately could not find my sailor outfit, which I think did not make it from the last move, so I opted for looking dapper.
Such a fantastic shindig in a truly unique venue. Thanks, Michael for sharing your birthday with all of us in such a cool way. Wishing you 125 more years of joy, weirdness and dancing!