After weeks of pressure from revenue-strapped business owners on Bedford Avenue who saw the Williiamsburg Walks street festival as a burden on profits, the event has officially been rescheduled from six Saturday afternoons to just one lonely weekend at the end of June.
Hope you enjoyed your street party while you had the time, people on feet!
A & G Merch’s Jill Goldhand appears to be one of the leaders of the anti-street festival movement, after she last was quoted as saying there were a few Saturdays when she “had no revenue.” Today she is quoted in the Brooklyn Paper as saying, ‚”Thank God they’ve cut it.” The paper notes she was one “who urged festival organizers to reduce the schedule.”
Jumelle Boutique’s Madeline Virbasius is also pictured posing, arms crossed, above a caption that reads “she got her wish now that the pedestrian mall has been cut to just two days.” (update: this apparently was not her wish. read their statement here.)
I look forward to seeing some numbers of sales during Williamsburg Walks last summer compared with sales during the same weekends, sans walks, this year. Yes, we don’t want local businesses losing out completely to the incoming Starbucks & Duane Reeds of the world, but shouldn’t they be able to capitalize on an increased pedestrian presence on Saturdays in the summer?
Anyways, event organizers tried to strike a more positive note, saying, “‚”We are confident that the event will be fantastic and we will establish a sustainable model for the years to come.”
Sure, this one weekend will be absolutely fantastic. But this is a big step backwards from six summer Saturdays of fun on Bedford Avenue to one weekend of entertainment on a street filled with business owners looking on, arms-crossed. Emboldened by their victory, will the Business Owners aim their sites on the Endless Summer Taco Truck and the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck too?
UPDATE 4/7: Jumelle’s owner responds, saying, the article’s quote was “inaccurate, misrepresented and false,” and that “We have not actively campaigned to cut Williamsburg Walks.” See her full letter here.
photo by Bess Adler c/o The Brooklyn Paper