Pajama party in Mayfair

Making a fashion statement: Le Dinner en Pajamas took place last Thursday in the triangle mini-park at Cottman and Frankford avenues. The public “pop-up” dinner, which was presented by the local civic and business associations, coincided with the Mayfair Community Development Corporation’s monthly Third Thursday street market on adjoining Ryan Avenue. SOURCE: JOHN LEONG

If you can believe it, some outsiders have the audacity to claim that Mayfair can be a bit lacking in the culture department from time to time, that basic principles of etiquette and civility, such as proper attire, are lost on neighborhood denizens.

Not true, say community leaders like Mia Hylan and Mike “Scoats” Scotese. Granted, you probably won’t find many candidates for the wine and cheese crowd strolling the sidewalks of Frankford and Cottman avenues, but Mayfairites — or is it Mayfairians? — have their own sense of style.

For example, pajamas in public can be considered one of perhaps many Mayfair contributions to the continuum of couture. That’s why Hylan, a district representative for state Rep. John Taylor, and Scotese, owner of the Grey Lodge Pub, decided to organize Le Dinner en Pajamas last Thursday evening. It was a public “pop-up” dinner in the triangle mini-park at Cottman and Frankford. Dozens of folks donned their bedtime clothes while sharing a friendly meal.

The event, presented by the local civic and business associations, coincided with the Mayfair Community Development Corporation’s monthly Third Thursday street market on adjoining Ryan Avenue.

“Scoats and I were kind of joking about it last year, then we said, ‘Let’s pick a date and do this,’ ” explained Hylan, who volunteers with Mayfair Civic Association and the Mayfair Memorial Playground, among other community activities. “We decided we wanted the antithesis to Diner en Blanc, a sort of tongue-in-cheek Northeast Philly version.”

For those unfamiliar with Le Diner en Blanc (yes, the French spell dinner with one “n,” as in Mayfair Diner), here’s a tidbit from that program’s website: “Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance and etiquette, all meet for a mass ‘chic picnic’ in a public space.”

Men must wear ties and dinner jackets with the women in ball gowns or something close to it. Invariably, the public space is usually in a high-profile trendy neighborhood. Mayfair hasn’t been chosen to date. The people of Mayfair don’t seem to mind so much.

“We’re definitely poking a little bit of fun at the pretentiousness of (Diner en Blanc),” Hylan said. “Ours is a little more laid back.”

Similar to their white-tie counterparts, Dinner en Pajamas organizers revealed details of their event in stages. Hylan made a Facebook event page to publicize it to regular civic association, business association and CDC audiences. First, they posted the date so that interested diners could make room on their calendars.

A couple of days ahead of time, they revealed the menu. Diners were encouraged to pack their own meals and bring their own table settings, although organizers set up long tables, too. A caravan of food vendors provided plenty of fare. The PB and U truck, specializing in a variety of homemade peanut butter concoctions, seemed to hit it big, as did Mary’s Mobile Diner and the Undrgrnd Donuts truck. Dietz and Watson hot dogs were available on one cart. Another cart vendor offered Gigi’s Boys Italian Ice.

The dress code wasn’t really strict. T-shirts and shorts seemed most prevalent on the mild mid-summer evening. But many diners really got into the spirit of the theme. Jim Ortlieb, treasurer of the Mayfair Civic, donned a baby blue, full-body jumper with footies and polar bears printed head to toe. Ann Morris sported a pastel green linen robe and white feather boa. She and husband Tom brought their own setting with shaded table lamps and a miniature “LOVE” sculpture.

“This is fun. I love Mayfair and I think it’s great to see people investing their energies in the community,” said Ann Morris, who ironically is a regular at Diner en Blanc.

“It’s a lot of work and effort. The community needs to get more involved to support these efforts,” Tom Morris said.

For other attendees, it was quality time for the family. Paul and Jennifer Muller brought their children Paul, 8, and Amber, 5. Marianne Watson had her three kids, Ben, 4; Natalie, 2; and Emily, 4 months.

“It’s fun to have dinner with another adult and it’s a beautiful day,” Watson said. “It’s nice to get together with the community in the summer.”

“The kids are having a good time so far, which means I’ll have to go buy them balloon animals, now,” Paul Muller joked, before adding, “It’s nice to celebrate the good things that are happening here.”

Some participants were thrilled just to show off their bed clothes. It’s not something they get to do every day … seriously.

“I’ve always wanted to spend an evening at Cottman and Frankford in my pajamas,” Denise Lucke said.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Jennifer Muller said. “Any excuse for pajamas in public.” ••

Making a fashion statement: Le Dinner en Pajamas took place last Thursday in the triangle mini-park at Cottman and Frankford avenues. The public “pop-up” dinner, which was presented by the local civic and business associations, coincided with the Mayfair Community Development Corporation’s monthly Third Thursday street market on adjoining Ryan Avenue. SOURCE: JOHN LEONG

Making a fashion statement: Le Dinner en Pajamas took place last Thursday in the triangle mini-park at Cottman and Frankford avenues. The public “pop-up” dinner, which was presented by the local civic and business associations, coincided with the Mayfair Community Development Corporation’s monthly Third Thursday street market on adjoining Ryan Avenue. SOURCE: JOHN LEONG