“The Picnic Season” at Jones’ Wood for The Daily Graphic (1873)

“The Picnic Season” at Jones’ Wood for The Daily Graphic (1873)

Claude Tavernier’s  “The Picnic Season,” a cover for The Daily Graphic (1873), depicts a picnic excursion up the Hudson River. It’s a narrative that begins as picnickers board a steamer from Jones Wood, a popular commercial picnic ground in northern Manhattan (an area...
Monica Ali’s  Brick Lane (2007)

Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (2007)

Monica Ali’s family in Brick Lane is outwardly happy but inwardly troubled. After twenty years, Nazneen’s arranged marriage to Chanu Ahmed has gone wobbly. She’s never loved Chanu, but at the time of the picnic, she’s conflicted by guilt and lust-fueled by Karim, a...
Jacob Lawrence’s They Arrived in Pittsburgh (1941)

Jacob Lawrence’s They Arrived in Pittsburgh (1941)

The yellow basket and the yellow summer hat in They Arrived in Pittsburgh suggest that there will be a picnic. The grimy factory stacks spewing smoke suggest otherwise. The basket and hat symbolize the hope that in Pittsburgh (or any other industrial city), the...
Jacqueline Woodson’s We Had a Picnic Sunday Past  (1997)

Jacqueline Woodson’s We Had a Picnic Sunday Past (1997)

Jacqueline Woodson’s We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past (1997) is a joyous family gathering with mounds to eat. A feast. It’s a story about an African American family reunion picnic in an urban park. The narrator, a young girl, comes with her Grandma, who has worked all...