About 4 months before your party
-Meet with your Block Association or a group of interested neighbors.
-Set a date and a rain date. Avoid scheduling on holiday weekends.
-Review activities others have offered for Block Party (see suggestions in section three of this guide).
-Scope out your events and activities, their associated costs, and how you will cover those costs.
-Give each organizer one event or activity to organize and try to work in pairs. Involve as many people as possible in “owning” events or activities and taking responsibility for planning and leading them.
-Get email addresses of organizers and other block members for communicating about planning and for updates
By 3 months before
-Apply for a block party permit by going through the following steps (see full guide on PSP HERE).
1) Fill out an online application by visiting the city's Street Activity Permit office. You will need to pay a $25.75 fee using a credit card.
2) Provide the CB6 District Office with either a letter from the affected block association, or signatures of 20 residents who live on the block, to demonstrate that they've consented to the block closure. You can mail your list, fax it to (718) 624-8410, or email a scanned copy to officemanager (at) brooklyncb6 (dot) org.
Your permit may be marked as "denied" if you have not delivered your signatures to the CB 6 District Office. Once they receive those signatures, they will revisit the application.
-Determine if you want amplified sound (DJ, live band, etc.). Contact your local police precinct for a permit. It’s $45.
-Consider a banner. The New York City Department of Transportation has banner permits here.
-Fire hydrant spray caps are a great way to beat the heat. If your neighborhood hydrant doesn't have a spray cap, you can request one from your local firehouse. You must be 18 years of age, show ID, and fill out a short form. Please don't crack open the hydrant by yourself unless you want to risk a fine or even jail time.
-Decide if you will try to secure a Mobile Unit from The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which offers in-line skating, games, and more! It’s a long shot, but you can try. Download an application here.
-Involve businesses, institutions, or houses of worship on your block.
2 months before
-Distribute save-the-date reminders by email or under-the-door fliers once your street activity permit has been approved.
-Check in with your local precinct on the date of your party. Confer about how to close off the block and to post signs a week before your party that say “No Parking” on the date of your party.
1 month before
-Schedule a quick status update on who is doing what and when.
-Send a reminder to everyone on your block with your list of activities and times they will occur during the day and include the names of some of the folks and families who have committed to participating.
1 week before
-Post your first round of “No Parking” signs.
-Send a final reminder and remember that humor gets people’s attention.
48 hours before
-Post your final round of “No Parking” signs and the informational signs that come with your permit.
-Hold a final pow-wow among organizers to be sure your game plan is sound.
-Close your street as soon as it is permitted.
-Set up coffee and snacks for the organizers, early risers, and children.
-Start a “Block Sweep” (clean-up) by 10 am to get people out on the block.
-Tie balloons and decorations to front fences.
-Offer materials for children to decorate their bikes, skates, rollerblades, scooters because their excitement at being able to move around freely without fear of cars is infectious.
-A pet parade. Dogs in their best bandannas. Squirmy cats. A turtle or two. Kids get a medal for showing off their favorite animals.
-A bike parade. Crepe paper, playing cards and clothespins, ribbons
-Ultimate hopscotch. Hop-hop-hop the biggest, silliest course.
-Cupcake decorating. Homemade frosted cupcakes, topped with trays of sprinkles, candies, and trimmings. Kids eat their entries. Variation: ice-cream sundaes.
-Face painting. The old reliable never fails to fascinate!
-Pools and sprinklers. Ask your fire department to put a sprinkler cap on your hydrant, and pool your wading pools at an appropriate distance, so kids can splash and play!
-Horses and ponies. Check with your local stable for stalwart steeds.
-Lunch. Grilled hot dogs. Pizza. PBJs. Lemonade.
-Ping-pong ball on the spoon. And other silly races and games.
-Bouncy rides. Check for electrical usage, insurance and permits of the contractor.
-Limbo contests/hula hooping. How low can you go?
-Stickball. With real Spaldeens! Bring it back!
-Bubble station. For the littler ones. A quiet island in the fun.
-Book give-away. New or used tomes, depending on the number of authors on your block!
-Stoop sales. Check out PSP info on making a stoop sale great here.
-Chalking and bubble-blowing. Check out our DIY Giant Bubble recipe here!
-Volleyball if you can figure out how to set up a net.
-Knock hockey. And other fave rowdy tabletop games.
-Visit from the fire truck. If not otherwise occupied!
-Pony rides in the afternoon.
-Potluck dinner in the street. With a little music on the side. Set up tables. Use table clothes, vases of flowers, candles. Ask everyone to contribute tables and chairs.
Have a wonderful time!
The New York Times, “Turn Up the Hi-Fi: The Block Party is Ready to Begin”