We couldn’t get more than two blocks without coming on an inviting party, food and drink offered, a chair to sit on and histories to share. Chris and Ward at 43rd and Latona have seen their street multiply with children these past few four or five years, Ben down on 1st above 41nd has been in the neighborhood since 1957 (he had to move over a bit when they took down his house to put in I-5; quite a stink was made at the time that so many beautiful old houses lost out to the more politically outspoken store-0wners along 99, where many argued the freeway should have run), but he was a newbie as far as CJ was concerned, she’d been in the same house on Sunnyside since she was born (her parents used to live in the small white Baptist church across from the Good Shepherd Center). She’s now 63 going on 35.
When you’re travelling to so many block parties in one night, you need to be careful about what you eat and drink. Nonetheless, special mention goes to the Massaged Kale Salad over on 43rd, the homemade blueberry ice cream up on 46th and Corliss, the homeade strawberry ice cream further down south, the sushi and bratwurst on 1st Ave. The best way to have a buffet meal: spread it out across a neighborhood. You titrate your eating and drinking.
We visited small parties, just a few lawn chairs, people who already knew eachother catching up, and bigger affairs, with strangers transforming into friends before our eyes. There were badminton games, hockey and even a pie eating contest.
It was transformative, and the conversation came up a few times: why does this only happen once per year? How hard is it to organize, after all, just take the food you would have eating inside or in your background and carry it out front. Coordinate that time with others. You’re done. You don’t need the city, you just need some garbage cans to block off the street, some folding tables and some neighbors of like-mind.
It there’s interest, we volunteer to help organize.