071708picnic.jpgPicnics always look so appealing in the movies, like that scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou? where John Goodman breaks off the tree branch and starts swinging. But here in the real world, picnics take a lot of work and schlepping, and if you don’t have one of those deluxe picnic baskets an unspoken feeling of inadequacy can quickly turn that potato salad to sawdust in your mouth. Thankfully, there are a number of places where you can spend your way to the picnic of your dreams. And one of them even delivers.

That Picnic Place promises to deliver a picnic basket full of food and beverages, as well as a blanket to sit on and “your choice of game/recreation,” directly to you in the park. Choose between their pre-made basket ($125) with a set number of sandwiches, drinks and desserts, or the ‘build your own’ option. And for the lovers out there, they’ll also deliver a special romantic basket with wine or champagne, rose petals, and, among other things, “novelty items” like a blindfold, sexy dice or the Karma Sutra Body Souffle. Order at least 24 hours in advance at That Picnic Place.

Payard Pâtisserie
on the east side has a “Leisurely Picnic for Two” deal now. For $48 they’ll fill a wicker hamper full of two fancy sandwiches, two summer quiches, two flourless chocolate cookies, a half-pound of financier cookies and two bottles of Fiji water. They won’t deliver, so you’ll have to go there and pick it up. They prefer 24 hours advance notice, but do accept walk ins on the day of your picnic. 1032 Lexington Avenue, between 73rd and 74th Streets. (212) 717-5252. [Via Strongbuzz.]

Back on the other side of Central Park, Soutine Bakery on 70th Street has different size baskets ranging in price from $40 all the way up to $300. The neighborhood favorite offers a variety of sandwiches, soups, desserts and goodies that you can fill up your basket with, and they also provide utensils that are yours to keep. No blanket though! 104 West 70th St, (212) 496-1450.

If you’re in Central Park and want a less extravagant delivery option there’s Nanoosh Organic Mediterranean Hummus Bar, which is located on Broadway at 69th Street and will deliver anything off their menu to you. We’re talking hummus platters, kebabs, chicken salad, the whole thing. BYOB, basket and blanket. Peruse the menu; their number is (212) 362-7922 and you have to come out to meet them on the west side of the park.

Slice Pizza, on the other hand, will come to you if you don’t feel like straying far from your blanket at Sheep’s Meadow. They’ll bring their “natural and organic” pies to the volleyball court near the meadow, or you can come and meet them at 72nd Street and 5th Avenue. (212) 249-4353

And if you’ve got a bankroll you can always go crawling to Dean & Deluca, which sells – for $200 – a fittingly named Hamptons Hamper. But there’s no way they can stop you from taking it to a New York City park instead of Long Island, now is there? We could describe this one ourselves, but why let copy like this go to waste: “Living in the Hamptons is all about living well. Style and elegance are as prevalent there as the sun and the sea so it was only natural that we'd name our most luxurious wicker picnic hamper after such a place. Inside you'll discover: DEAN & DELUCA Breakfast Blend Coffee and Earl Grey Tea, Chocolate and Cinnamon Babka, DEAN & DELUCA Pancake Mix and Maple Syrup, Premium Original Granola, Sarabeth's Strawberry Raspberry and Peach Apricot Spreadable Fruit, Raw Honey and more…” Order from the Dean & Deluca website.

Now what to do if you want to have a picnic and all your friends are out of town or simply don't exist? Help is on the way with The Picnic Club. Membership is open to anyone who shows up with a picnic, and there are no fees. The club seemed a bit disheartened by the rainy weekends last month, but picnic fanatics should keep checking their website for updates on the next club gathering.