Kaitlin Tardalo was not having going to have an easy fall. It was bad enough that summer was ending, but the eight-year-old Greenpointer and her friends had to start preschool on Monday. So what could her mother, Beth, do to cheer them her up?
On Saturday, September 7th, Beth, and her husband, Steve, organized a block party on Engert Street (between Humboldt and Russell Streets) with the help of their neighbors and local businesses.
“Growing up on Staten Island, there were always blocks,” Beth recalled. “And I know that Monitor Street has one every year. When I asked Steve about our own block, he said that we’ve never had one.”
Beth started passing out fliers to her neighbors in May, asking 26 families to list what food, drinks and entertainment they’d like to enjoy. By the end of June, she had formed her own block association (a legal prerequisite for any block party), and enlisted the help of local merchants. Greenpoint-based film studio Broadway Stages led the pack with the donation of hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages and, more importantly (from Kaitlin’s point of view), a bouncy house and a dunk tank. Other supporters included Mtc Controls, which paid for a DJ; Bola Market, which contributed 25 cases of Poland Spring; Met Food, with 48 bottles of soda, cups and ice; Brooklyn Brewery, with discounted beer; and Freddie’s, with 50 bags of chips.
The families paid for the cotton candy, pretzels, beer, face painter, mechanical pirate ship ride, inflatable basketball and skiing slides.
With the unity of the neighbors and generosity of the community, the first Engert Street Block Party was destined to be a success.
“Beth and Steve did a great job reaching out to local merchants,” said neighbor Francis Brancato. “That businesses like Broadway Stages were able to contribute and willing to put back into the local economy is a positive. Besides, there’s nothing like a Brooklyn block party!”
Monika Holowacz, a native Greenpointer who started working for the film company three years ago, said her company was happy to contribute. “Making a positive impact on the community is our number one goal,” she said. “And that includes supporting all our local businesses from hardware stores to groceries.”