This past Saturday was our annual block party, the second one we’ve attended since moving into our house. The street was closed off to car traffic starting at 10:00 AM to leave a wide open space for the party, and we made ourselves at home with folding chairs, a cooler full of refreshments, and even the playpen for Lillian to nap in.
I wrote a blog post about last year’s block party, which talked about the experience of meeting lots of our neighbors and generally getting a feel for the neighborhood, but what I’ve realized since then is just how much bigger all of the surrounding block parties are compared to ours. When the neighboring streets are roped off, you’ll see tents and gigantic inflatable bouncy castles and dozens of kids running around everywhere.
Ours, on the other hand, is what the neighbors affectionately call “the geriatric block.” The majority of people are middle aged or retired, and there are so few kids that they don’t even bother to rent one of the bouncy castles anymore. The result is that our block party is a subdued affair where people mostly sit around in front of their houses, enjoying good food and catching up with their neighbors while the handful of kids ride their bicycles, tricycles, and battery-powered toy cars around in the empty street.
Just like last year, a DJ came by to play music in the evening, and early in the afternoon a firetruck came by just for show — you can even see it at the end of the block in the above photo. The firetruck probably happened last year too, though we somehow missed it, and this year we only watched it from a distance since Lillian was napping the whole time it was there.
A lot of the neighbors hadn’t met Lillian before, though many knew she was on the way since I was visibly pregnant at last year’s block party, and so she got to meet lots of new people over the course of the day. She greeted everyone with smiles and sunshine like she always does. And she seemed to really enjoy watching the older kids ride their bikes back and forth:
And we got to meet some neighbors that we hadn’t met before, too. Like the new family that moved in across the street only a month ago, with a 3-year-old daughter and another baby girl due this fall. And an older couple down the street whose three grown children (with various grandchildren) all chose to buy houses within walking distance on the neigboring blocks. They jokingly call the neighborhood their commune.
It’s interesting how neighborhoods cycle through the generations, and between us and the couple of other young families who’ve moved in on our block, it looks like it’s already starting to happen — so it’ll be fun to see how the atmosphere of the block party changes from one year to the next. (And in the meantime, maybe we’ll sneak off to one of the block parties on the next street over so Lillian can enjoy the bouncy castles as she grows!)