Willoughby Walks gets residents “jazzed up” with brass bands, a beer garden, giant games, and plenty of car-free open space
The first of three events attracted hundreds of people for traffic-free fun.
May 20, 2019
Last Wednesday, crowds of people filled the downtown streets to enjoy live music, games, art-making, and more at the first day of Willoughby Walks 2019. With several blocks of Willoughby and Lawrence Streets closed off to traffic from 12pm-8pm - courtesy of NYC DOT - hundreds flocked to enjoy the well-timed beautiful weather and take in a variety of New Orleans “Jazz Fest”-themed activities.
The day kicked off with a parade led by the energetic Soul Tigers Marching Band, who drummed up the excitement as they marched and danced along the streets. In the spirit of New Orleans, those in attendance donned masks and hats, and waved pom-poms from the sidelines. Pedicabs carried some special guests along, offering free rides to passersby.
Things revved up with performances by the High & Mighty Brass Band and the Hot Hand Band, filling the streets with lively jazz and adding a soundtrack for the games and activities in the streets.
Plezi Rara, a Haitian processional band, changed up the tunes with a festive parade of music played on metal trumpets and recycled materials.
Children and adults alike got competitive at Ping Pong with our friends at The Push, and in giant - and regular-sized - chess. Luckily, hula hooping and an urban oasis of beach chairs and astroturf afforded everyone a place to chill out and simply take in the luxury of car-free roads.
Younger Brooklynites, meanwhile, had their own special entertainment: Drag Queen Story Hour. The little ones were quite taken with the musical stylings of Reverend Yolanda as she belted out song after song in a bright, butterfly-themed outfit. Grown-ups, meanwhile, relaxed in the beer garden from Circa Brewing Co.
Other all-day activities ranged from drawing at Uni Project’s DRAW NYC portable studio to getting lost in a sea of Bubbledad’s seemingly-endless bubbles! Face painting and temporary tattoos added even more creative flair to the festive atmosphere.
The day came full circle with a performance by Jazz Age Lawn Party, who transported everyone back to the 1920s with authentic dress and tunes.
Willoughby Walks is made possible by the generous support of JP Morgan Chase.