Upicnic, a New York City-based startup billing itself as the “one-stop shop for picnic experiences,” aims to take the stress out of planning an outing and deliver everything from food to entertainment right to the lawns of parks across the five boroughs.
“When you think of the process of having a picnic with your friends, it’s not that easy as it seems, especially here in New York,” said Marta Antonelli, co-founder of Upicnic. “It’s so much work and it shouldn’t be because the idea of a picnic is to go to the park and relax.”
Through Upicnic, users sign up via the company’s website and fill their basket with all the essentials needed for their event. The user will then specify where they plan to hold their picnic, how many people and what date the event is planned — a minimum of two days is required.
Picnic sizes can range from two to over 100 guests, Antonelli said, but in some cases when the group numbers are large users are required to contact the city’s Parks Department to get a permit — which cost about $25 and tends to take between two and three weeks.
The cost ranges from about $50 for two people up to thousands for large parties with entertainment and games.
If anyone is stumped and has questions on certain restrictions or rules at particular parks, the company also offers “picnic experts” to give tips.
Some tips the experts shared include remembering that smoking, alcohol and camping are prohibited at all parks; Central Park has eight designated “Quiet Zones” including Sheep Meadow and Strawberry Field where special rules apply such as no music; barbecuing is forbidden in most city parks; and dogs must be on a leash of no more than six feet in length at all times.
The experts also suggest that when choosing a spot, select a place that goes best with your particular needs. For example if you have young children, select a shadier location or if you are looking for some quiet, stay clear of areas prone to tourists.
Antonelli — who is a chef — added that although users can get your typical ham and cheese sandwiches, Upicnic’s food options include a variety of sandwiches, salads and drinks, which are all made using organic and locally sourced ingredients.
Users can also choose to rent outdoor games, sports gear, Bluetooth speakers, sunscreen, extra blankets and entertainment, which include a live violin or cello performance.
And the comapny takes care of the cleanup, too, by giving them notice about a half hour before the picnic ends.
“Not only is there no work required of you, there is also no preparation before, there are no consequences after,” Antonelli said. “You show up at the park and the picnic shows up at the park.”
According to Antonelli, the concept of Upicnic works great for New Yorkers who tend to not have the time to organize everything needed for a picnic and also don’t have the space to store all the necessary items.
“It kind of made sense for the New Yorker lifestyle,” she said. “No one has a picnic blanket, why would you have a picnic blanket?”
Upicnic is also looking to help New Yorkers enjoy free events across the city without the hassle of saving a spot. For example, the company is offering to save “the best seats in the house” for the New York Philharmonic concert in Central Park on June 15-16.
Plans are to also offer saved seating during the Bryant Park Film Festival.
“The blanket will be waiting for you,” she said.