Bedstuy wasn’t so “do or die” Saturday Sept. 19 during an annual shop local block party that has shrunk in size but has kept a big heart.
Orchestrated by Therapy Wine Bar as a way to celebrate six years in business on Lewis Avenue between Macon and Halsey Streets, owners Anthony Williams and Angela Terry reeled in their neighboring businesses, regular patrons, and family members to participate.
“We got to take it back to the people. We brought Bedstuy’s living room out into the street,” Williams said.
“Always got to bring the other businesses in to show that it is one love, the Brooklyn way,” Terry added.
In previous years, the Shop on Lewis Avenue Street Festival spanned about four or five blocks thanks to what was then Breadstuy. Following an unfortunate fire, Lloyd Porter packed up shop and moved to a new location renaming his business Bread Love.
“We created this festival, Shop on Lewis Avenue. It would’ve been in its 16th year and we’re happy to be back. We’re glad to be here serving the community, to keep the continuity of what makes the neighborhood a neighborhood,” Lloyd Porter, owner of Bread Love, said.
Native residents of Bedstuy appreciated the resurgence of the block party. Despite taking over just one block — rerouting the B 15 bus in the process — residents were treated to live performances, tasty meals, and vendors offering everything from home décor, nail polish, jewelry, and clothes.
“Years ago they used to have it extended for like four or five blocks, it was more vendors out here and you had such a diverse atmosphere,” Andre Dubose, Bedstuy native, added. “It’s all about the people, this is amazing.”
Keeping it all about the people, the street was filled with patrons enjoying a day of painting and sipping under the sun and children armed with smiles and bubble guns.
For Shayshan MacPherson, known as Phearnone, a regular performer at Therapy Wine Bar, the block party encompassed everything he loves about Brooklyn. A Bronx native and Jamaican American, MacPherson kept the crowd’s attention with his violin playing popular hip-hop and reggae sounds.
“I love Brooklyn and Therapy Wine Bar always shows love to me. It’s dope to see all of the musicians getting along, smoothly going from one act to the next,” MacPherson said.
Among the performers were Williams’ son and daughter, and an impromptu set from 90’s R&B singer, Renee Neufville of popular duo Zhane. Happening upon the block party, she brought a nostalgic element with her own live show.
“It just feels good, the last Summer Saturday with good food, good people and perfect entertainment,” Terry said.
Williams and Terry couldn’t help but laugh along with friends, staff, and newly met acquaintances for the success of the block party.