A Kingdom in Queens
Nine decades after its founding, a gathering place for one of Europe's most overlooked ethnic groups still entertains with Hofbrau, Krainerwurst and even the occasional quinceañera.
As soon as the children conclude their routine, the 300-capacity ballroom echoes with the sound of coins hitting the dance floor. The young boys in lederhosen and girls in scarlet dirndl dresses break formation and a scramble ensues to collect the loose change and dollar bills tossed their way by family and friends. The joy is in the gathering rather than the gains; as per tradition, they obediently deposit their loot in the outstretched aprons of the dance group’s older girls.
While the movements of Die Erste Gottscheer Tanzgruppe—The First Gottscheer Dance Group—are the occasion of the day, it’s the older generation who are doing most of the afternoon’s dancing. Dozens of couples take to the floor between hearty courses of food, their turns and pivots doubled in the cloudy mirrors along the far wall. For many, this is the room they were married in.
Meticulously set tables accommodate pitchers of Hofbrau, wine bottles and cocktail glasses, leaving the family-style …