Sunday, August 03, 2008
'This is a GOOD block party'
So said one of the little kids to the lady who was giving out ice cream cones yesterday.
Yes, we all survived the block party, as proven by the few photos I managed to shoot near the end of the night, when I could stop running around.
We not only survived, but thrived. We had the fire truck (and the guys opened the hydrant for a little while), soccer, basketball, the jumping jack (Jay-Z's auntie rented one for an hour), water balloons and my hose in the street, a little art from the Chicago Children's Museum, plenty of hot dogs and burgers and drinks and ice cream. Holy Cross/IHM did send a group of marimba players. We had a short prayer service and three teens from the block read the readings in a mix of English and Spanish. Yup-yup made a point of himself praying.
The dinner was a little chaotic but eventually the common food got on tables and people ate. Mostly folks cooked their own (which was past practice) but some people traveled around and tried out different foods. One of the Brady Moms made the best pozole I have ever had.
The kids got plenty of back-to-school goodies, too, just in time for Monday's first day at Chavez. Thanks to 49th Neighbor, we got a last minute donation of 300 pens and a bunch of pencils on top of the notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers and crayons already assembled. Plus a small stack of Early Childhood promo t-shirts in preschool sizes. Hopefully that will be a little motivator for their parents to sign them up at St. Joseph's Early Childhood Center.
The only incident was a tiff early in the morning between Yup-yup and Bob the Builder, as I'll refer to this guy who knows a lot of building owners around here. Bob called the cops on him, but they didn't want to arrest him and I ended up talking him down and slipping him $5 to stop being a nuisance. (Some other day I'll write about the block party slush fund.)
My new tenant, whom we'll call Shutterbug because he's a photographer, is also a basketball player and spent much of the night out shooting hoops on the street and stopping problems among the kids before they started. Rock on, Shutterbug!
Ms. Ribs (who outdid herself on the grill) said it best: "The kids acted nice. The adults acted nice. The weather was good."
Thanks to the following people and organizations from beyond the block for their assistance:
State Representative Esther Golar
Commander Eugene Roy, 9th District
Ald. JoAnn Thompson/16th Ward Dept. of Street & Sanitation
Neighborhood Housing Services
Kevin Carroll, Chicago Dept. of Transportation
The Resurrection Project
In the Paint
Chicago Children's Museum
Holy Cross/IHM Parish
49th Neighbor & CPS Office of Early Childhood
Dion Miller Perez