Early versions of Williamsburg Walks simply stopped automobile traffic on Bedford Avenue between Metropolitan and North 11th. In the closed off streets there were sporadic tables, art activities, and the business that lined this avenue sometimes extended their wares onto the sidewalk. But the major draw seemed to be the ability to amble down the middle of the street.
Williamsburg Walks of late has gotten bigger, louder, and more commercial. Walking down the center of the street has become more limited. Sponsors’ cars and trucks block the avenue’s flow at sporadic intersections. Sometimes this is just a delivery truck which has lost the option to park nearby the business it wants to deliver to. The grass patches — full of reclining people — are quirky treat, but also an obstacle to walkers.
The peaceful silence that was gained by the loss of car traffic clatter, has been replaced in the past few years on Bedford and North 5th by a stage with a rotation of music acts. They have yet to rotate the stage location.
This year’s Walks had some added excitement when a few rain drops fell and the wind kicked up. A few strong gusts took the Artists & Fleas canopy in a tumble down the street. A couple walkers came to the rescue and got it upright and secured in place. That in effect is the best part of this street fest. The coming together of people with art or standing on line for a free necklace, or watching your kid take a free yoga class, or getting free stuff like jerky and yogurt samples, or pitching in to stabilize a tent.