The first ever Sheepshead Stroll took place this Sunday drawing thousands of attendees, and highlighting local merchants through a block party atmosphere on Sheepshead Bay Road.
The Stroll is a local version of the Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walk initiative, in which the agency works with community partners to close down the road to traffic, and allows businesses to turn their storefronts inside-out for shopping, dining and entertaining. The event was hosted by Empower Sheepshead and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by Sheepshead Bites, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, State Senator Marty Golden and the Kings Bay Y.
Blessed with beautiful weather, thousands came out for food samples, giveaways, kids entertainment, shopping and eating. Keep reading for the photo tour of the event.
Aside from closing the street, the Department of Transportation provided chairs and tables to turn the asphalt into a giant pedestrian plaza.
Where there were no chairs and tables, the streets were taken over with activities for kids and families.
Brainy Academy brought out chalk and toys, and some mechanical building blocks.
Oh, and let’s not forget the glitter tattoos!
Kings Bay Y and the Chamber rolled out the inflatable slide.
And the FDNY’s touch-a-truck gave the kids a taste of what it’s like to be one of New York’s Bravest.
Edgar from Balloonitude made sure kids got some balloon animals to take home.
There was also plenty of music at the event. While several businesses and organizations brought their own DJs, Royal Bay kept live music going for the entire five hours.
The music, of course, complimented their food and full bar – all prepared outside.
Which this guy liked.
While restaurants were welcome to sell their food, many also gave samples away for free, like Masal Cafe, Apani, Mitoushi Sushi and Masakari Sushi.
Oh, Anatolian was doling out some yummy hor d’oeuvres. That was part of their grand reopening celebration, which we’ll get to in a moment.
Community organizations manned tables at the event to let them know about all the good they’re doing, and how they can help neighbors. Here’s Laura McKenna from Bay Improvement Group:
And the police letting people know about all the awesome free crime prevention initiatives they run, like VIN etching (call the precinct for more information!).
Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’s team set up in front of their office.
Senator Marty Golden’s office was there, too. Here’s Golden rep Joan Byrnes, enduring the brutal sun to serve constituents.
Coney Island Hospital brought their mobile health clinic. They told me my blood pressure is high, but I think it’s pretty good for putting up with you lot.
Back to Anatolian Gyro. Owner Metin Turan, on the right in the photo below, smartly used the day to hold his grand reopening celebration, recognizing his move around the corner to East 16th Street. A representative from Borough President Eric Adam’s office honored the business for their long-time commitment to the community.
So did Assemblyman Cymbrowitz.
I honored them by photographing their belly dancer.
Did you think I’d take just one photo of the belly dancer?
We’re still going.
Art! The Brooklyn Streetcar Artists Group brought work from their many talented artists to display.
They also made it interactive, putting up a large canvas for kids and adults to draw on. This kid draws a better monkey than I do.
That wasn’t the only interactive activity for kids and adults alike. Popular Community Bank teamed up with Gothic Press and Xclusive Entertainment for a really cool idea. They put out a background and took professional photos of attendees for free, then printed it out on a portable printer for folks to take home and remember the day. It was hugely popular.
Here’s the team that thought this one up:
Astoria Bank also entertained, with a spin-the-wheel game for giveaways.
Even our local psychic came out, probably because she looked into her crystal ball and saw how awesome it was going to be.
The day culminated with an eating contest at Jimmy’s Famous Heros, where about a 15 participants gobbled down subs. The girl below ran into some technical difficulties, but was a good sport.
Om nom nom.
The four big guys in red tied for first place in the hero contest. The little guy in red is Victor Spadaro, Jimmy’s owner. The rest of these punks photo-bombed my shot, but the guy in blue is Bay Improvement Group’s Steve Barrison, the guy in grey is Empower Sheepshead’s Vadim Shiglik, and the girl in front is Quinn O’Neil from the Brooklyn Chamber. I never did get a good shot of Quinn at the event – that’s because as the lead organizer of the whole shebang, she barely stood still. She did a tremendous job, though!
This was my last shot of the day. In the middle is Lionel, the owner of Muchinette, with his son and his DJ buddy. Lionel told me something I heard from many of the business owners on Sunday, and which makes me look forward to next year’s Sheepshead Stroll
Originally, Lionel hadn’t planned on participating, but, the night before, he made a last-minute decision, scheduled the DJ and bought some franks and other goods. Once he saw the turnout on Sunday he knew he did right, and pledged that next year he’s going all out. And that’s what we keep hearing: for a first try, it was a helluva day, and next year will be bigger and better!