If you love Brooklyn, probably one of the things you love is the borough's sense of community. And while we've got plenty of community spirit, a newish annual event is helping foster that even more. Like a block party that goes on for a lot of blocks, on "summer walks" or "weekend walks" the kids can bike on the streets. Pedestrians can listen to live music. You can do arts and crafts, or take on the spot classes — and there is special youth programming. Restaurants and cafes even have relaxed requirements, so those who never have outdoor seating can do so, for that day. It's not a crowded street fair, lined with vendors wanting your dollars. And, it's bigger than a one block party organized by your neighbor. And, it's very cool.
What are Weekend Walks ?
Like the popular Summer Streets program, which closes the roads in NYC to traffic along certain routes, turning the streets into huge pedestrian and cyclist lanes, this is a program to return the city streets back to non-automobile traffic and the local community. Started in 2008 as part of a city wide quality of life improvement project, every year there are now about two dozen Weekend Walks sites in all five boroughs, from May through October.
Each Weekend Walk opens up an area as small as a block or as long quarter mile or so of main retail streets in a neighborhood —for instance, Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy or Brooklyn Heights. These "Weekend Walks" — which each neighborhood calls by a different name — are a major component of NYC Department of Transportation's "World Class Streets"initiative, which seeks to develop and care for the public realm – the space between buildings.
Where and When Are These Free Events?
The 2014 Schedule is as follows, in calendar order"
Kingston Avenue Festival
Kingston Avenue between Bergen Street and Pacific Street
May 17 (Saturday), noon – 5 pm
The Kingston Avenue Festival is an annual block party ...featuring live music, dance, and spoken word performances, arts activities, a balloon artist, resource tables, an anti-violence art display, facepainting, and much more! It will be a great event for children, teens and adults. The Festival is a partnership of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center, and the New York City Department of Transportation.(Description by host Crown Heights Community Mediation Center.)
Sheepshead Bay Weekend Walk
Sheepshead Bay Road between East 15th Street and Emmons Avenue
June 1 (Saturday) noon – 5 pm. Hosted by the Brooklyn Alliance
Bedford Avenue between Metropolitan Avenue and North 12th Street
June 14 (Saturday) 1 pm – 6 pm
Williamsburg Walks returns on June 12 from 1 – 6 PM. Taking inspiration from some of the most awesome pedestrian plazas around the world, each year Williamsburg Walks frees Bedford Ave. from car traffic to host art, music, food, and more. Spanning from Metropolitan Avenue to McCarren Park, enjoy pop-up parks, improvised art, live music, and expanded cafe seating. Entire blocks will be dedicated to art, activism and biking. Williamsburg Walks is a rain or shine event. (Description by host Triskelion Arts)
3 Days of "Pitkin Avenue Summer Plaza"
Pitkin Avenue between Strauss and Amboy Streets
June 15 and 22 (Sundays), 11 am – 5 pm
June 27 (Friday), 6 pm – 9 pm
Hosted by Pitkin Avenue District Management Association (Pitkin Avenue BID).
Grand Street Block Party
Grand Street between Bushwick and Manhattan Avenues
June 21, 28 (Saturdays) 2 pm – 8 p. Hosted by Grand Street BID
4 Nights of Summer Stroll, 80th – 90th Streets
Third Avenue between Bay Ridge Avenue and 90th Street
July 18, 25, August 8, 15 (Fridays). 6 pm – 10 pm
It's Friday night in the middle of summer and you don't feel like dealing with the crazy Jersey Shore or Hamptons traffic. Summer Stroll in Bay Ridge is the place to be for some family-friendly fun over 4 nights in July and August...the main neighborhood strip is closed to traffic to open up the streets 'like Italy's Piazza San Marco'. July 18 & 25 from 69th to 80th Street and August 8 & 15 from 80th to 90th Street. 6 – 10 PM. (Description based on info from the host, Merchants of Third Avenue)
Flatbush Junction Community Weekend
Flatbush Avenue between Glenwood and Farragut Avenues
July 13 (Sunday) 2 pm – 7 pm
Hosted by Flatbush Nostrand Junction BID
2 Different Eveng"South Slope Weekend Walks"
Fifth Avenue between 12th and 18th Streets
July 18, 25 (Fridays) 5 pm – 9 pm
The Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID will host two sets of Weekend Walks events. On July 18th and 25th, the Avenue will be closed from 12th – 18th Street for food, music and fun in the sun. On the 25th, drop by for a live production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, right in the middle of the Avenue, between 17th and 18th streets at 7:30 pm. (Description by the host, Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID.)
Seventh Avenue Summer
Seventh Avenue between 9th and 16th Streets
July 19th, 26th (Saturdays). Noon – 5 pm. Hosted by the Park Slope Civic Council
2 "Tompkins Ave. Summer Fest Weekend Walks III"
Tompkins Avenue between Hancock Street and Putnam Avenue
July 26, August 2 (Saturdays). 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm. Hosted by Bridge Street Development Corporation.
2 Evening North Park Slope Weekend Walks
Fifth Avenue between Sterling Place and Dean Street
August 15, 22 (Fridays).5 pm – 9 pm
Weekend Walks returns to the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID on August 15th and 22nd between Sterling and Dean Streets (adjacent to the Barclays Center). Romeo and Juliet will be performed in this stretch of the Avenue on the 15th at 7:30 pm.(Description by the host, Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID)
Borough Park Weekend Walks Community Street Fair
16th Avenue between 42nd and 45th Streets
August 24 (Sunday) 11 am – 4 pm. Hosted by Borough Park Jewish Community Council
Southside Williamsburg Connex
Havemeyer Street between South 4th and Grand Streets
September 13, 20 (Saturdays), Noon – 5 pm. Hosted by El Puent
Summer Space in Brooklyn Heights
Montague Street between Clinton and Hicks Streets
September 21 (Sundays) noon – 5 pm
Montague Street welcomes visitors to Summer Space – a day of FREE, outdoor events, including the Brooklyn Heights Dog Show, live music and dance performances, fitness classes, activities for the entire family, food samples from local restaurants, and special store promotions. Closed to traffic and re-imagined as a pedestrian oasis, Summer Space is held on Montague Street between Clinton and Hicks Streets. (Description by the host Montague Street BID)
Children's Halloween Spectacular
St. Marks/Sixth and Flatbush Avenues
October 20, October 27 (Sundays)
Hosted by the North Flatbush Avenue BID.
What Happens on Weekend Walks in in Brooklyn?People come out to party in the street!
Plus, restaurants abutting Weekend Walks are allowed to offer outdoor café service, without any additional permits or fees, in zones demarcated with barriers. Restaurants can expand to the curbline in front of their establishments.