Streetfilms: Pedestrians Storm Smith Street, Sans Autos

Every year, on the Sunday closest to Bastille Day, Brooklyn bistro Bar Tabac helps put on one of the city’s finest car-free events, turning two blocks of Smith Street into a neighborhood party. As restaurants take over sidewalks with café seating and shady tents, the center of the street transforms into a sandy arena for a tourney of Pétanque (bocce’s French cousin). Streetfilms’ Nick Whitaker caught the festivities yesterday, with the Open Planning Project’s Nick Grossman guiding the way and Bar Tabac’s Christophe Chambers explaining what goes into the event. Says Whitaker:

It’s not just the action and attraction of the tournament that makes it
special. People lounge about, eat great culinary delights, kids
skateboard, friends play foosball, and listen to great music — the
kinds of things that we need to happen more to make the sometimes
hectic, noisy streets of NYC more palatable. If livable streets
advocates are looking for a good model of what draws people to an
event, look no further.

  • Tuna Loaf

    Meanwhile, over on Clinton Street, where all Smith Street traffic diverted on Sunday, it wasn’t quite as “livable.”

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