Pedestrians Fighting Over the Scraps

The Brooklynian message boards are often the scene of fierce fighting over Brownstone Brooklyn’s crowded sidewalk space. While Park Slope’s legion of double-wide stroller-pushing moms and sidewalk-riding cyclists tend to generate the most ire, yesterday a new target emerged: Guys playing cards on the sidewalk.

Thankfully, these sidewalk fights seem to take place more in cyberspace than out on the street. Still, it always amazes me a little bit to see pedestrians, stroller-pushers, cyclists and card players arguing over scraps of sidewalk while a few feet away automobiles frolic across vast expanses of asphalt and lounge all day in free curbside parking spaces.

It doesn’t occur to a lot of New Yorkers that it’s the cars that are hogging so much of our public space and that streets and sidewalks can be more than just a means to get somewhere else, they can actually be "places" in and of themselves.

Fortunately, another reclamation of curbside parking space is on the way. September 21 has been set as the date for International Park(ing) Day 2007.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Someone should get the card-playing guys to participate in the parking squat. Do you really have to wait until September 21?

  • ruby

    People playing cards on the street is exactly the kind of activity that allows you to get to know your neighbors and feel like you live in a community. I’m shocked and sickened people are complaining. I’m glad I don’t work in Park Slope anymore.

  • I wonder what a swath of asphalt want to be when it grows up.

  • Geoff

    Angus-

    You don’t have to wait until Sept. 21…anytime is a good time for a squat, but particularly on those weekend days when the sidewalk fills up with people. All you need is quarters (if you want to feed the meters as a symbolic gesture) and chairs (and whatever you need to do whatever else you want to do in the space). The more squats there are, the more people will become aware that all that space used for cars can be put to a more public use. Good luck!

    -Geoff

  • Okey Dokey

    They should set up an xbox 360 with an HDTV so all the kids can come by in a large crowd and really annoy the passerbys.

  • pete

    I’m sure the ones complaining about these people blocking the sidewalk have no problem with restaurants settting up tables on sidewalk for the customers.
    Ever try walking down Dean St by BarTabac?

  • da chef

    Neighbors playing cards, dominos, checkers or chess.
    Kids playing stickball, ringalevio or if you lived in Crown Heights Cocolevio in the street.
    Do any of you young morons even know what a game of skellzie is?
    Or how much fun it was to play in the spray of an open fire hydrant?(with sprinkler cap of course!) Hanging out with your friends listening to Motown from a boombox.

    These types of goings on is what made growing up in Brooklyn something I will forever thank God and my parents for. If you don’t understand you never will.

    You should turn up your Ipod, suck on your latte, and use "your" sidewalk to walk around the card players and move your ass straight to Gramercy or better yet, just get the hell out of New York because attitudes like yours are slowly killing the very nature of what this city used to be.

    da chef

  • 4thave

    Dice, Cards & Drinking on the sidewalk is what leads to fights and shootings. Unless your over 50, growing up in Brooklyn was not some utopian fantasy, it was rough and dangerous.

  • Some years ago I lived in Park Slope. At that time (1969), in the summer, the sidewalks were full of people playing dominos or cards, and steel bands were not uncommon.

    Also at that time, some neighborhoods would actually rip up the street and pile it as a breastwork to keep vehicles out.

    Certainly, as a locus of crime, the automobile looms way over the sidewalks.

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