Last year in August when Boogie on The Boulevard started with just 3 blocks closing off the center lanes of The Grand Concourse beginning at The Bronx Museum, approximately 2,500 people showed up for the 3 Sunday event.
This past Sunday, as the event entered its second year and more than double in size stretching from 161st Street to 167th Street, covering 7 blocks, almost 2,000 people showed up clearly indicating that this is something Bronxites from all over want to happen and have access to.
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who’s district (City Council District 8) runs along most of the route for Boogie on the Boulevard, said right before the ribbon cutting ceremony, “I understand the center lanes of the Grand Concourse were closed all the way to the end which is where?” To which folks shouted, “MOSHOLU PARKWAY!”
Council Speaker Mark-Viverito then said, “Let’s explore on continuing expanding this event,” as she turned to NYC’s Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to encourage the growth of this important event. Mark-Viverito also noted Boogie on the Boulevard as being a ‘community building event’ which was on full display Sunday as Bronxites from all over were mingling and getting to know one another.
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg indeed agreed and promised that Boogie on the Boulevard should be extended all the way to very end at Mosholu Parkway when it came time for her to speak. Polly, if you’re reading this, you did AMAZING during Bombayo’s bomba lessons!
You may recall that back in 1991, then former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer began Car Free Sundays on the 4 mile stretch of the Grand Concourse from May to November so having our Council Speaker talk about exploring to expand this event is of great importance for many reasons.
Besides the larger coverage area, there was also an increase of activities for both children and adults and families too. A good chunk of the programming involved a lot of physical fitness activities as if biking, walking, or skating back and forth along the little over half a mile stretch wasn’t enough.
Dr Jane Bedell, MD, Assistant Commissioner and Medical Director at NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene for The Bronx asked, “What if I told you there was a magic pill that helped depression and mental health? A pill that helped with heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases? A pill that helps combat the many problems The Bronx faces when it comes to health with our borough coming in last with the worst health outcomes in our population at number 62 of all counties in New York State?”
“Well you’re looking right at it, here’s your prescription” she said. “This can combat all of those, open spaces and exercising are one way of preventing or improving such negative health outcomes.”
Elizabeth Hamby, one of the lead organizers of Boogie on the Boulevard pointed out to the research done on Open Streets Projects, “to their enormous public health benefits of closing the streets.”
Shape Up NY held a Zumba class followed by a low-impact fitness class, and then even a Bootcamp Fusion class, local Sweet Water Yoga and Dance held a half hour class for all levels, and Yana Studios held a children’s yoga class as well.
One of The Bronx’s most familiar faces, Bharati Kemraj held a Bollywood Workout class (which was really fun even though I only participated in few minutes as I walked by documenting the event!).
New York Walkers Club was present for a walking clinic for all the walkers out there (I walk a minimum of 5 miles a day and it’s so relaxing not to mention excellent for your physical and mental health), and Jasmine Cintron led a Senior Fitness class as well.
Even when Bombazo Dance Company got up and performed, they led a dancing workshop after which got everyone grooving and moving.
Besides all the moving and shaking and grooving along The Concourse there were many organizations and vendors tabling including the BxArts Factory, one of event partners (along with Bronx Health Reach, Transportation Alternatives, and Welcome2TheBronx) which held several art workshops and live painting sessions. The BxArts Factory really has hit the ground running since launching earlier this year and has been at it non-stop with many activities and programs around our borough so make sure you keep an eye on them.
Kids were on their bikes going through obstacle courses while others played basketball or learned how to ride a bike—all in the safety of the center lanes of the Grand Concourse.
If you missed Sunday’s event, don’t fret because you still have two more Sundays to enjoy the fun on August 9th, and 16th.
This Sunday, August 9th’s activities are as follows:
Get ready for Boogie on the Boulevard! On August 2nd, 9th, and 16th, the center lanes of the Grand Concourse from 161st Street to 167th Street will be closed to cars and open to a world of fun with free music, activities, and programs hosted by organizations from the Bronx and beyond, as well as local artists and performers.
New and experienced bicyclists can enjoy these car-free Sundays by participating in Learn to Ride classes for kids offered by @Bike New York, getting a free tune-up by @Recycle-a-Bicycle, or participating in fun bike activities! A @Strider balance bike adventure course will offer fun on two wheels for the smallest cyclists, and older riders can take a whole lane of nearly 1 mile of the Grand Concourse. Valet bike parking will be provided by @Transportation Alternatives.
12:00-@Shape Up NY
12:30-Low-Impact Fitness with @Shape Up NY
2:00-Hula Hooping with @Lon Wilson from @New York Walkers Club
2:30-@Sweetwater Yoga & Dance
3:30-Senior Fitness with @Jasmine Cintron
Bronx Heroes Comic Con with @Ray Felix
Gina Goico Pelliza Performance
Live Painting with Karen I. Pedrosa
Zola Dube (Zulu Beadwork)
LAG Designs (Earrings and Beaded Spoons)
Peces Con Mar Live Painting and Collage
@Bronx Children’s Museum
Finger Knitting and Crocheting with Ingrid Gomez
12:00-Spoken Word with @Bobby Gonzales
12:30-Children’s Yoga with @Yana Studios
1:00-Demo-@New York Sports Club for Kids
2:00- Plenatorium Project
2:30- Abada Capoeira
3:00-@Bharati Kemraj Bollywood Performance
3:15- @Crossfit Sobro
Plus special programming at the @Andrew Freedman Home
12-2pm Dj SpazeCraft One & a legendary HipHop DJ special guest (to be confirmed) & YOU! will be conducting The Living Remix Project!, a mobile Music making station where festival goers can walk up and contribute to a collective song making process where the community makes the song! No experience needed! All ages welcome!
From 2pm on, Level Up Media Arts Presents a mini-Beat Makers concert curated by Brandon Bennett aka XIXX. 19yr old producer and peer mentor for the Level Up Media Arts Program curates up & coming next level instrumental beat producers.
Click on an image to view the gallery!