Happy Independence Day

In this Streetfilm by Elizabeth Press, New Yorkers enjoy a block party on West 87th Street in Manhattan. The June event was one of dozens sponsored this summer by the New York City Streets Renaissance, many of them still to come. At over 3,000 block parties per year, New Yorkers mark their independence from traffic and pollution. How are you celebrating your car-freedom this 4th of July weekend?

  • da

    I’ve floated the idea of a block party to my Park Slope neighbors.

    The ones without cars, like me, think it’s a great idea.

    But, sadly, the folks with cars mostly think it’s too much trouble having to move their cars out of the way to make room for a party! How depressing.

  • To my eternal shame, I’ll be celebrating by renting a car. Why is it that the only time I feel the need to drive or eat processed food is when I’m going backpacking? In my defense, I’m trying to minimize the drive; I’m taking the train to Albany, and then I’m renting a car out of Albany for the last few miles into the Adirondacks. If there’s a better way to get to the trailheads, I’d definitely like to hear about it.

  • Tom Rorb

    da –

    You should float the idea to your neighbors by showing Streetfilms like this one. THEN, they might be more inclined to come around!

  • B-Rand

    No shame in renting a car. You don’t drive everyday so don’t worry about it!

  • Thanks, B-Rand, I’m feeling better now:)

    What still bugs me, though, is the sheer inefficiency of whole endeavor. I’ve got the car for four days, but I’ll only drive it for two or three hours on Friday morning, then it’ll sit at the trailhead for three and a half days, and then I’ll be driving back two or three hours on Monday night. There ought be a better way…

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Vroomfondel, I own a car so I CAN go backpacking in remote places like that Adirondacks but for most of the time it just sits in my driveway and I ride my bike and/or take the train to where I need to go.

    A car is simply a tool that is very good at doing some types of trips and very bad at doing others; like drive into Midtown Manhattan or a destination 3 miles away and easily accessible by bicycle. I don’t think there is anything wrong with cars when they are used for what they are best suited. It is just the misuse and overuse of cars that is troublesome and that is in many places at probably at least 50% of all trips.

  • Hey Andy B,

    If your car sits in your driveway most of the time, why not save yourself the costs of ownership and just rent one when you need it for your backpacking trips?

  • Fendergal

    I rode to City Island and back on my bike. Used a good chunk of the Moshulu/Pelham Park greenway. Ate a brownie sundae and bad fried food. Got rained on a little.

  • I spent the day on a bus touring the La Romana province of the Dominican Republic – and a couple hours at the beach. It really seems like you can get everywhere in this country by public transportation. Sorry to be missing the fireworks, but happy Fourth to all!

  • Angus,

    Wow that is one spiffy icon photo. You have really brought a touch of class to streetsblog. Maybe I need to hire someone to sketch me.

  • Thanks, Clarence! That picture is the work of the graphic artist Patricia Dorfman, who I introduced you to in March. I’m very pleased with it too!

  • Clarence, if the stars align right we might have a sketch artist doing free caricatures at our block party in Sunnyside on August 10th (permit permitting). Maybe you can get your mug made into art then.

  • Aha! The art of bribery to get Streetfilms to come cover an event. I like it.


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A key corridor in a large city is cited as a prime spot to replace auto traffic with people-friendly space. Local leaders move on the idea and, once underway, the physical transition comes quickly. Cars are supplanted by street furniture and people. Critics complain, fearing negative impact on area business. If this sounds familiar, it’s […]

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Streetfilm: Transforming NY City Streets

Streetfilms’ Elizabeth Press was in attendance this week at the New York Historical Society where neighborhood activists, professional planners, and experienced advocates gathered to share their secrets on how New Yorkers can transform the public realm. The event was hosted by NYC Streets Renaissance and was moderated by Streetsblog editor Aaron Naparstek. Panelists included: Christine […]