Thank You – Black Tie Beach 2011

Photo by Brian Fountain

Thanks to the awesome group of people who participated in the 2nd Annual Black Tie Beach mission today at Rockaway Beach. If you were there, please leave an Agent Report in the comments. I know there are hundreds of funny stories waiting to be told. Also leave links to any photos you might have taken. Photos from our official photographers are below, and we hope to have our video up in a couple of weeks on our YouTube channel. (Subscribe to it!) When the video is posted, we’ll post our official mission report here.

Photos:

- Agent Brian Fountain’s Set
- Agent Ari Scott’s Set
- Agent Katie Sokoler’s Set

Join/follow/subscribe our mailing list, Twitter, Facebook page, or YouTube channel to be updated.

In the meantime, check out last year’s video:

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58 Responses to Thank You – Black Tie Beach 2011

  1. Lucille says:

    Had a lovely time in the beach today! Here are some photos: https://picasaweb.google.com/118422507053622441782/ImprovEverywhereBlackTieBeachAffair
    A shout out to Mike, Charlotte, Miranda and Michael! Nice meeting you guys :)

  2. Agent Linda Larsen says:

    What a fun day at the beach!!!! I was surprised that some people actually asked me to pose with them for a picture, which, of course, I readily agreed to. Also, when people asked me why I was dressed up and I told them I like to get dressed up for the beach, I would ask them, “Don’t you like to get dressed up?” Some agreed to this, and one man even said I was inspiring him and that if I walked past him one more time he might go home and get dressed up, too.

    There was one individual who was not amused. A man believed there was some conspiracy going on and he determined it would happen at 4:00. “It’s almost 4:00, he announced to us. The jig is up!” He also told us that he noticed our “head honcho.” He asked another agent and me to go way out into the water and stay out there for an hour. I told him I would go out, but that I had to get going soon because my meter would run out at 4:30. Well, that confirmed it for him that something was going down at 4:00. Later, when I left to join my husband (who was back on the boardwalk in civilian clothes, he (my husband) quickly told me to keep my distance and not show that I know him and to meet him at the car. Apparently either the same guy or another conspiracy theorist had approached him and was asking him about it and even asked if he was coordinating this. That guy was paranoid because he figured anyone who could afford to wear such expensive clothes to the beach had to be up to something. My husband said, “only in New York,” to which the guy replied, “No, they gotta be from out of state; New Yorkers wouldn’t do this.” He also said “Hard-working people shouldn’t have to come to the beach to see this.”

    I wore a fuchsia sequined gown and was surprised by how many compliments I received from both men and women at the beach. Then when I left with my husband he told me he heard a woman commenting about the tuxedos and dresses, and specified some “ugly dress, with sequins,…” LOL Thanks for organizing this fun event!

  3. Agent Gomes says:

    People were coming up to me like “you can tell me whats going on, I wont tell anyone” I said I dont know any of those people, it’s a beautiful day to dress up. She followed me for a bit, and said she was going to get down to the bottom of it. Then at the sand bar someone asked if we got paid to do this, is it for TV. I guess no one likes to get dressed up for the beach anymore.

    It was really nice, the lady in the fuchsia, did you have orange floaties? You were best dressed, hands down.

    I cant wait to see whats next!

    • Agent Linda Larsen says:

      Thanks for the compliment! I love your comment, “I guess no one likes to get dressed up for the beach anymore.” LOL

      Your TV reference reminded me, there were also people who were excited, asking if a movie was being filmed. I think they were hoping to be part of it!

  4. Agent Mimi Fischer says:

    Had a very pleasant time today. Got there at 4pm and stayed around the 105th St end. My friend Kali and I were questioned by a fellow in a blue button down shirt and shorts who was sunning with two young women and when we said we liked to dress up to come to the beach he said, “that’s what they’re all saying, have you been coached, is this a flashmob?” I said no, I think actually you are looking quite dapper yourself. He said, well, look at that guy in a tux on the boardwalk. I looked and shrugged looking away, “I don’t know anything about it, just felt like dressing up today.” Later I went up to him for his help in opening a recalcitrant jar of salsa.

    Ate a little food and chatted with my friend. Walked on the beach a bit where a lifeguard said, “You’re looking great today.” I said, “you, too (and meant it – gorgeous kid!).”

    At about 5:30pm I took off my hat and shawl, put on my iPod shuffle and did some hoopdance (hula hoop), which was enjoyed by the people on the surrounding blankets. Later Kali and I chatted with a couple of women close to us – they enjoyed, but were able to get past our finery and relate to us as people. Yay. A little after 6pm we headed back up to the boardwalk, had a thrilling arepa at the cafe at 106th St on the boardwalk.

    Lots of fun and thanks! Looking forward to the next action.

    Mimi

  5. Agent Sal says:

    Easily the best time I have ever had at the beach!
    I believe I was the first on the beach (or at least one of the first, mainly because I saw no other agents). I was on the boardwalk by Beach 105th walking down, and from the second I set foot on the wooden walkway, all beachgoers were staring at me like I had committed a crime and I couldn’t look left or right without seeing someone trying to secretly capture a picture of me.

    Walking toward Beach 116th, I ran into a group of fifteen/sixteen year-olds. They asked why I was dressed in a tux, to which I replied: “When I walk out of the door, I like to look better than I simply rolled out of bed. This is how I dress; it expresses my individuality. I’m not commenting on your swimwear, and I’d like to enjoy my day at the beach.” This is how I basically answered everyone’s question about why I was dressed black tie. People also asked where I got the tux, and I just said “My closet, my wardrobe.”

    I finally get by Beach 114th, put my chair and boogie board down, and rip off my jacket (under which rests a black vest) and dive into the water, making fellow swimmers pause and ask each other: “Did he really just do that in a tuxedo?” The looks on their faces were priceless.

    After a quick bite after swimming, I throw my jacket back on and walk down toward Beach 105th. Along the way, people kept asking why I was wearing a tuxedo, and I replied: “This is how I enjoy to come to the beach. Sure, my tan won’t grow significantly on my chest, but I don’t come to the beach for a tan. No, I come to the beach to have fun and jump in the ocean!” At which point I sprinted in the ocean (with jacket). Many people kept saying they liked my outfit and I returned the compliment. People never stopped taking pictures (I felt like I was a star in the midst of a crowd of paparazzi.) and one man pulled out his iPhone with a picture of Kermit the Frog on the reverse.

    Around 5:00, walking up toward Beach 116th, one woman who carried a whistle, but didn’t have a lifeguard uniform started talking to me in a very angry manner. She was on the verge of yelling at me, saying “I pity you because you must be hot in that thing and you’re not tan.” I told her “There is an ocean right behind us which I can jump into if I get hot, and I don’t HAVE to come to the beach only to get tanned. I can do whatever I wish permitted by both the law and lifeguards.” She then got even more agitated, asking which religion I practice and which church to which I belong, which school, and where I live. (I don’t know why you need to know this to prove a point, because she was only fooling herself.) She asked why I would do something so ridiculous and why I get involved in stuff like what I was doing because apparently to her it was wrong in many ways, and I simply said: “I’m at the beach dressed fully simply because I enjoy wearing these clothes. It expresses whom I am.” She tried to backfire, saying “That jacket is 3 sizes larger, and when you’re at the beach, “you MUST be half-naked.” “Ma’am, this jacket may look bigger because it is saturated, but at home, it fits me perfectly, and where exactly does it say we have to be dressed half-naked to enjoy the beach. This is a public beach, and there is no dress code. Even at a nude beach, I can wear this tuxedo. Does this outfit offend you? Do you have a problem with it?” “No, but…” “Okay, well if you don’t have a problem with my outfit, then why are you asking me? I’m wearing a tuxedo to the beach, and I’m going to enjoy the rest of my day. Have a good day.”

    Regardless of some people trying to give some agents a little trouble, everyone had a BLAST! Old and young, we all enjoyed it, either black tie or half-naked, all benefitted with laughs and smiles.

    Thank you for an unforgettable day!

  6. Maggie says:

    Such a wonderful day! Highlights included an elderly woman stopping us on the way to the beach to tell us how stunning we looked. She insisted on taking a photograph of the three of us, and told us to have a great day, adding, “As I always say: Be good – and if you can’t be good, be careful.”

    We encountered some people who were frustrated with our lack of explanation as to why everyone was in formalwear (we chalked it up to just enjoying a day of dress-up), but everyone else seemed amused. We frolicked in the water, ate watermelon, strolled along the beach, and just generally had a great time.

  7. Damien says:

    Location : Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia.
    Weather : 17C degrees (approx 60F), overcast, windy with 4-6 feet surf.
    Participants : 24.

    While it looked very much like we may get rained upon, as it turns out the clouds cleared just as we arrived and we got some of the days best sunshine !!!

    There were some high quality sand-castles, some human pyramids, a partial burial-come-sculpture, and even a picnic basket of goodies kindly brought along by one to share with all involved.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful folks who helped kick off Australia’s version of Black Tie at Beach. The 24 brave souls who turned up today are true pioneers.

    • Charlie says:

      Congrats Damien. Awesome that you guys pulled it off. I feel like you have it so easy with your summer time No Pants. Only fair that you have to do a winter time Black Tie Beach! :)

  8. I had a bright green snorkel mask and was the other agent in the water with Agent Larsen when Conspiracy Theory Guy told us to go out into the waves and stay there for an hour. He said we were all crazy, that something clearly wasn’t right in our heads. He got more and more irritated as he tried unsuccessfully to deduce what was happening.

    Guy: Give me your jacket. I want to try it on.
    (I hand over the jacket, but he just holds it in his hand)
    Guy: Give me your snorkeling mask.
    (I hand over my mask)
    Guy: Okay, now give me your wallet.
    Me: I don’t have my wallet on me.
    Guy: You don’t have your wallet?
    Me (perplexed): Um, who goes swimming with their wallet? That’s just crazy.

    At one point he grabbed my arm, said “you know that saying, if you see something say something? Well, I’m going to say something” and threatened to take me to the cops. At which point I made a quick getaway.

    Later in the afternoon, a man who was taking pictures with his wife asked me what it felt like swimming with my tux on. I said it was great and that he should try it sometime. I ended up giving him my jacket, bowtie and snorkeling mask, and he ran out into the water and dived right in. When he came back, I asked him how it was and he said it felt good but the jacket was really heavy. “Feel how heavy this jacket is,” he said to his wife. “It’s okay, I believe you,” she said.

    When I was swimming later on, the waist button on my jacket came off, and I lamented to a group of agents about how I’d been really looking forward to wearing that jacket again, and that now it was surely ruined. They were sympathetic, and suggested that I try returning it to the store. I said that was a wonderful idea, and it was a good thing I still had the tags.

    This was So. Much. Fun. Also, thanks to the agents who bought me ice cream! (I didn’t have my wallet on me)

  9. Malik says:

    Hey guys, we had an awesome (small but awesome) first Black Tie Beach event in Malmö Sweden. We’ve uploaded some pictures here, check em out.

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.219749961407994&type=1
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/improv.malmo/

    We will process the video a little bit and post it soon too.

    Love,
    Malmö Improv

  10. shaun fletcher says:

    What a great day! I brought my Austrian couchsurfer with me and we had the best day EVER! That’s him on the IE homepage; the one with the blow up tire! He is still sporting an ear to ear grin from the whole thing. I’m glad I chose to channel JR Ewing (from Dallas – the 80′s TV show) and wear the cowboy hat and boots. There were folks running up to us all afternoon to take photos with us. Kids wanted to know if we were celebrities or filming a movie, we just told them this was the new look in beachwear. One guy came and got us to shoot photos with his wife. There was one super creepy guy that was really hostile and aggressive. One bad apple sure didn’t spoil this bunch of beach goers, though. (he was drunk and had one hell of a sunburn going on. I imagine he’s suffering today for being such an arsehole yesterday). Other than him, nothing but smiles and laughter and great vibes all around. I really liked how spread out along the beach it was this year. It really made it look less ‘organized’ which, in this case, is a good thing. Can’t wait for this year’s video!!!!!

    • shaun fletcher says:

      Also should mention the challenge of wearing an ill-fitting $12 Goodwill tux. The jacket was fine, but the pants were a bit big in the waist. I did a quick bit of alteration to them with a safety pin. The pin worked well enough, as long as I stood still. As soon as I moved the pin would pop open and the pants would start working their way to the ground. It’s hard to pull off that ‘black-tie’ swagger when your pants are falling off.

      • Caroline says:

        Shaun…..I think we were sitting near you guys! I definitely remember two dudes, one with a cowboy hat. You looked quite stylish indeed…although I agree, strutting your stuff with your pants falling off is tricky. I can sympathize; with limited corsetry options available, I had to keep making sure my boobs weren’t falling out of my dress.

        This is my friend Dan and me, before diving in: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v56/carobanano/BTBDanandme.jpg
        …and after: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v56/carobanano/BTBafter2.jpg

        We didn’t get a whole lot of reactions. One guy asked me “Hey, where’s the wedding?” as I was sashaying towards the beach. A girl near us took the photos, and just nodded and smiled when we told her that we just felt like dressing up today. What I enjoyed most was the chance to goof off. When we went swimming and my dress ballooned around me like an awkward mushroom, I was laughing hysterically for ten minutes straight. Good thing the dress was an excellent flotation device….otherwise, I would have been worried for my safety!

        PS. Shaun……this was clearly the BEST THING EVER to do with a couchsurfer, Austrian or not. Tip of the (cowboy) hat to you!

    • i have a ton of photos of your austrian cowboy friend and the rest of your group! make sure he emails me and i’ll send them copies. they where all so nice to let me take their pictures:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/kruetzkamp/sets/72157627492048872/

  11. Laura says:

    Yesterday was the first-ever Bloomington, Indiana, Black Tie Beach event. We had seven participants and a miniature pinscher. We went to nearby Lake Lemon, had a picnic, and surprised the locals on their pontoon boats. We had several cute interactions where families sent a messenger to come find out what we were up to, and we told them we thought it would be fun to go swimming in our fancy clothes today; everybody seemed to like this idea. We all went swimming, and threw a ball for the dog, built a sand castle, and played beach volleyball. Everyone had a great time and we are looking forward to doing it again!

  12. Agent Jeremy says:

    Awesome day yesterday! I’ve been on the agent mailing list for some time now, and this was the first time I was able to participate.

    When we first got there, we were walking on the boardwalk and were immediately spotted by a family riding bikes. The kid was yelling something like “tuxedos on the beach!” while the dad started talking to us. He asked us why we were dressed up. I said we like to look good at the beach, and he said we look like morons. After that, we didn’t experience anything even close to negative.

    It really was a great day to go to the beach, and I never really felt hot, even in the suit. I loved how heavy the suit felt in the water, and it somehow made floating more fun. It was great playing in the waves feet away from “regular” people who kept watching us like we had a screw loose.

    Plenty of people came up to us and asked us questions, but no one we encountered seemed angry about our lack of information. One guy wanted to swim with us, and a woman actually took some pictures of us for her blog. We posed for many people throughout the day.

    I thought it was funny that today was probably the most typical beach day I’ve ever had. We played in the water, walked along the edge, ate ice cream, played games, laid out; all the classic beach day activities.

    Amazing day, and I was happy to be a part of it!

  13. Dimbazzo says:

    It was a great day for a beach …. in a tux!
    Had to explain for like 10 people that i dont know anyone on the beach, I dont know why everyone dressed like me and its just another place for me where i can go in my favorite tuxedo.

    Lifeguards didn’t let us play with our whale in the water!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/katesokoler/6066499600/in/faves-25637135@N05/

  14. Julianne Norton says:

    I came from Connecticut with my boyfriend, Alex.

    We went to manhattan in the morning, and part of our route to rockaway was to switch to the A train at Fulton St. While there, we saw a man in a suit and bow tie who looked agitated, but he could have been dressed up for any reason.

    Well, the A train wasn’t running downtown from Fulton that day! We had to figure out how to get to Rockaway without directions, and at least two hours later we finally made it to the shuttle from Broad Channel. Imagine our surprise when we saw the dressed up man from Fulton St.! His name was Josh, and we ended up talking and taking turns watching each others’ stuff the entire time we were there.

    There were three highlights for me. The first was a woman wearing a purple gown who spent over an hour blowing bubbles in the same spot. The second was when a lady asked why everyone was dressed up, we replied, “What do you mean?” We looked around, pretended to notice all the other tuxedos and gowns for the first time, then finished with, “I don’t know about those people, but we’re from Connecticut. I guess I thought the beaches here would be ritzy too.”

    The third highlight was a woman who was clearly frustrated, and was angry about the “conspiracy”. A while after she left us alone, a cop cart filled with cops went by. We waved.

  15. Katie says:

    I came for my second round of Black Tie Beach with my boyfriend (his first time). Had a great time last year at Brighton Beach/Coney Island and even more fun this year. We got there towards the beginning and walked onto the beach with Charlie (great tux!) and his fiancée.

    We also encountered Conspiracy Theory guy, who got so frustrated that he actually flipped us off. We good naturedly tried to pacify him while maintaining our story of just wanting to dress up for the beach and denying that we knew anyone else there (the truth!) A lot of people were very nice though and we got lots of compliments on our fancy clothes, although one man did call my dress a “bedspread”… not sure when I last saw a shiny blue sequined bedspread, but alright, haha! Had a great time swimming and building sand castles. I only wish that the lifeguards had let me take my big pink floating chair into the water!

    Does anyone know who the woman in yellow was that was taking photos? I’d love to see them, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t an IE photographer.

    • shaun fletcher says:

      I guess everyone got a dose of that crazy conspiracy theory guy. He must be having a hell of a time right now, probably hiding in his homemade bomb shelter with an aluminum foil hat on. “The world is being taken over by commie, Martian, fun-lovin’ folks in cheap formal wear! The End is Nigh!” Hahahaha.

  16. shaun fletcher says:

    Oh and a woman that was shooting told me her site is JGphotography. I Googled it and left a comment asking if I had the right page. If it’s the same woman and that’s the right site then maybe we’re talking about the same gal. There aren’t any pics posted (yet), but I’ll keep checking.

  17. Agent T says:

    I step out at 3pm at Beach116 and was the first person in that area. I got a whole lotta looks and nonchalantly laid out my towel in a seemingly perfect spot. I propped up the crinoline on my gown so that my legs would get a little tan. I just as I got comfy, the dude on the towel nearby says, “What is this? Is this some damn conspiracy?! You know, if you see something, say something.” Yes, folks, I was next to the Theorist himself so if you think you all got a dose of this man- boy are you lucky you only got that! This man would not give it up! I kept it straight face with him though and had a good time either way. Here are some of his golden moments:
    CTD (Conspiracy Theorist Dude): [as two guys in tuxedos walk onto the beach] I think I found your boyfriend- look right over there!
    Me: [unimpressed] Nah, they don’t seem like my type.

    CTD: [as I take out a magazine and start reading] So is that the script? What do you say to that?!
    Me: [Show him the cover] It’s the New Yorker.
    CTD: Huh, good answer.

    CTD: I know what this is! You all got a phone call.
    Me: I didn’t get a phone call. I wish someone would call me.

    Other highlights:
    Lifeguard: Hey Miss, I like your dress…
    Me: Thanks! I like your shorts.
    Lifeguard: [looking down at his city-commissioned orange trunks] Uh. . . they are pretty generic. . . listen, there all these girls wearing gowns and no one’s telling me what’s going on. . .
    Me: Maybe they are all trying to impress you. I can’t say I like the competition. . .
    Lifeguard: [throws up his hands in defeat]

    Later as I leave, a man says to me,”You were the first one!” and I smile smugly.
    I have to say, not everyone got the ‘nonchallant’ element down and I think that fuel ed a bit of the bystander agitation, but like you said Agent Kevin, I guess it was about having fun and it looked like everyone did! :)

    • Agent Linda Larsen says:

      Sorry you got stuck next to Theorist!
      Sounds like you had some good comebacks, though!!!

    • Katie says:

      My boyfriend and I were diagonal behind you I think. We were amazed that you put up with him for so long. Pretty dress!

  18. Ellen Halliday says:

    So much fun! As soon as I got on the beach, the lifeguards at B114th called me over and asked me if I was in a wedding. “No, why would you think that?” They asked me if I knew “that guy over there”. “Which one?” “The guy with the tux. Are you guys together?” “No, I don’t know him.” I was near the couple with the whale float and the dancing couple (she wore a red dress). I overheard two swim-suited guys commenting that “Something really weird is going on here today.” Also saw the blond in the beautiful, flowy white dress get stopped several times to pose with bathers – all old guys!

  19. Ola says:

    I got to Rockaway with my boyfriend Terry at about 3:30, we were a bit late because the Penn Station A train was stopping at the track the C and E usually go from. Oops.

    We were worried we were on the wrong train, but saw a pair of girls dressed up as well, asked them casually if they were headed to Rockaway, to which they knowingly replied yes. (Hi Stephanie and Erin!) And ended up talking for awhile. as the train ride went on we saw a few more people dressed up, but very surreptitiously didn’t comment.

    We didn’t change till we got to the beach as we’d been in Manhattan all day. We were some of the first people at the beach so while we got stares, the only real comments we got were asking if we were newlyweds, and congratulations for the same. As more people congregated, we ran into our friends from the train and proceeded to build a sand man with them, after which we went swimming. Around then we really started getting asked more about what was going on. Most of it was the typical, except as the day went on people seemed to be much more aware something was up.

    Some notable anecdotes:

    Drug guy: Why are you all dressed up? Really? Are you on drugs? No, it’s okay, I’m on drugs. Really, want some? I got E I got crack I got weed.

    The woman who asked us if it was part of our religion, and then said it must be a jersey thing.

    We also had a guy who may have been the Conspiracy Guy who asked if it was a flashmob.

    We also had one of those cops ask us! My boyfriend stayed with it, but I decided to not jeopardize the event and come clean, which may have been a mistake. :/

    I got a lot of compliments on my dress, which was a blue bridesmaids dress, I personally thought was hideous.

    At one point we went over to the playground to go on the swings and had a handful of people ask us if the party was over already, which was nice, because they seemed to have got into it.

    One of the cutest ones was an old guy who asked us and seemed really amazed and sort of pleased about it, he said he’d been coming to this beach his whole life and had never seen anything like it.

    We had a handful of people ask, of all ages really, and the bulk of them just smiled so widely when they heard it was just for fun, especially when there were fewer people in suits at the beach. It really reminded me why I was doing it.

    I’ve been a huge improv fan in general and an improv everywhere fan especially for a long time because of my immense theater background, but this was the the first happening I could take part in. It was everything it seemed to be, thank you all for a wonderful day at the beach!

  20. Andrea says:

    What a beautiful day. I met my friend at West 4th (she rolled up in full on heels, nylons, elbow gloves, net hat, gown, jewelry and parasol – she doesn’t mess around) and we spent a frustrating bit of time with the trains before we got to the beach. And then we were there! And it was beautiful! and people were wearing gowns and tuxedos and super friendly! And it was amazing!

    photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9135230@N02/sets/72157624789232340/