Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and NYC DOT Announce the Return of “Willoughby Walks” to Downtown Brooklyn
For three days in May, several blocks on Willoughby Street and Lawrence Street, in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, will become a traffic-free oasis with games, activities and music
May 09, 2019
NEW YORK – Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced Willoughby Walks 2019, during which the commercial thoroughfares of Willoughby Street and Lawrence Street are temporarily converted into a public playground. Willoughby Walks is scheduled for Wednesdays from 12-8pm on May 15th, 22nd and 29th.
This year, each Willoughby Walk will have a different theme:
5/15 Willoughby Jazz Fest: On the heels of New Orleans’ annual Jazz Fest, DBP is bringing the celebration to Downtown Brooklyn with brass bands, including High & Mighty Brass, a second line parade, and a 1920s dance party with Governors Island’s renowned Jazz Age Lawn Party.
5/22 Willoughby Street Art: Highlighting the cultural Mecca that is Downtown Brooklyn, there will be breakdance performances, pop and locking classes, public art activations, DJs, an open mic, all ending in the Vinyl Nights summer kick off with DJ Misbehaviour and Kenny Parker of Boogie Down Productions, spinning all music on vinyl!
5/29 Cirque du Willoughby: Willoughby Street transforms into a magical wonderland with street theater, stilt walkers, unicyclists, and magicians, with a dance party to wrap up the evening.
Each week, Willoughby Walks will feature a beer garden on Lawrence Street from Circa Brewing Co., the Urban Oasis, on a block of Astroturf with beach chairs to lounge on, ping pong with The Push, giant games, and an area dedicated to children’s activities. Also, each night will end with a dance party of various genres.
“We are happy to work with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to bring Willoughby Walks back again this year. It is a time for residents and visitors alike to reclaim the street and enjoy a multitude of activities and indulge in the vibrancy of this Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood,” said DOT Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray.
“Willoughby Walks is all about reinventing public space at the heart of Downtown Brooklyn to liven up our outdoor areas, and we are thrilled to partner with DOT on the program,” said Regina Myer, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “With games, activities, and music filling the traffic-free streets, everyone can enjoy the neighborhood, our wonderful local businesses. We encourage residents, students, workers and visitors to all come and explore.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, “It’s great to welcome back Willoughby Walks this month, as Downtown Brooklyn heats up through the creativity of our artistic community. This open space initiative, made possible by our friends at DBP and DOT, redefines our streets as places where we can rediscover our neighbors and the vibrant neighborhood we share.”
“Downtown Brooklyn is not only home to innovation through world-class academic, cultural, and technology institutions, but it is also an example of the urban landscape reimagined,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Willoughby Walks is a wonderful opportunity to show how we can utilize our public spaces for the benefit of the community. Eat, dance, play – no matter what, everyone is bound to have a great time.”
“Willoughby Walks is an innovative transformation of major downtown thoroughfares to create an amenity for local residents, commercial tenants, students, and visitors to the neighborhood,” said Ali Esmaeilzadeh, Senior Vice President at Brookfield Properties and Chair of the MetroTech BID. “This year’s event series is yet another great example of how successful collaborations between the BID, DBP and DOT help the neighborhood reach its full potential and showcase all Downtown Brooklyn has to offer.”
Willoughby Walks is presented in partnership with NYC DOT as part of its Weekend Walks program, and will launch this year’s 9-month season. Now in its 12th year, Weekend Walks are multi-day, multi-block events on commercial corridors that promote the use of streets as public space. This year, DOT is partnering with 56 community-based organizations to produce more than 120 car-free events covering over 14 miles of New York City streets between May and December. Weekend Walks events feature car-free family-friendly activities and active lifestyle programming, and they also support local businesses. All Weekend Walks events are free and open to the public.
This year’s Willoughby Walks program is generously sponsored by JPMorgan Chase.