Royal wedding fever and its symptoms — lack of sleep, the urge to wear frilly hats and communion with other infected victims — hit Brooklyn hard last Friday, with DUMBO at the epicenter of the trans-Atlantic plague.
About 500 Brooklynites and some misplaced Britons ignored the five-hour time difference and gathered in the Archway Plaza under the Manhattan Bridge at the crack of dawn to watch Prince William and Kate Middleton get hitched live on a projection television.
“It was amazing, it was spectacular,” said Natalie Feary from Williamsburg, whose fever raged at well above 103 degrees all day. “Her dress was beautiful, I thought that the ceremony was great.”
The wedding was more than 3,600 miles away, but Anglophiles had their day, donning Union Jacks and feathered hats for the kind of party that England hasn’t seen since Charles married Diana (and we all know how well that turned out!).
“They’re the celebrities of England,” Caroline McKeown from Clinton Hill said of Wills and Kate.
“Royalty is always so special because there’s so much mystery around royal behaviors,” added McKeown, whose temperature was recorded at only about 101, still high enough to cause symptoms of excitement and monarchical hallucinations.
The crowd cheered every little moment, from the first glimpse of Middleton as she stepped out of a 1950 Rolls Royce, all the way through to the climactic, “I do,” when Middleton officially became the Duchess of Cambridge, and earned greater access to the crown jewels.
Many Brits were in the crowd at DUMBO, happy to feel at home while watching the nuptials across the pond.
“If you can’t be at a street party in Britain, then one in Brooklyn is pretty good,” said one British ex-pat, whose fever crested at 102, with periodic bouts of what locals call “the Canterbury sweats.”
“For a lot of British people, it’s a way to reconnect with each other and have a jolly good time,” she added.
The event was not without its irony, of course, given that the United States violently broke from the English throne in the late 1770s, an event that is celebrated every July 4 with anti-monarchy pageantry.
But for one day, at least, America recalled the good ol’ days of stamp taxes, tea parties and no representative government.
“We’re kind of just enchanted with the idea of a royal family,” said Lauren Sternberg, waving a British flag and wearing one on her shirt, whose temperature had come down from only a mild fever the other day. “There’s that little princess in all of us.”
And that princess isn’t always wearing white and marrying a man in a Redcoat.
Shira Bannerman said she watched the festivities just because she wanted something fun to do.
“It’s hard to fit other parties into our schedule,” said Bannerman, whose forehead never registered above 98.6. “So thank goodness this one was at six in the morning.”