Bastille Day in Brooklyn

July 12, 2009

What started as a simple Brooklyn block party has grown into the biggest Bastille Day celebration in the U.S., featuring French food, drink, games and music. Today, several blocks of Smith Street were closed to traffic so South Brooklyn could again celebrate the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.

Once traffic was stopped and vehicles moved, the street was filled with tons of sand. Wooden beams were arranged on the sand, dividing it into courts for the petanque (bowling) tournament. Banners were hung, music played, and bars, tables and chairs were set out for spectators. At the corner of Atlantic Avenue, platforms and ramps were erected for a skateboarding exhibition.

Local bars and restaurants erected tents where they could sell food and drink, corporate sponsors brought piles of pens, hats and sunglasses to give away, and a replica guillotine — including a bloody blade — was placed in the center of the street. The party began at 11:00 a.m. and officially ended at 10:00, although stragglers (and those who’d sampled a bit too much pastis) lingered far longer in the night while visions of Marseilles danced in their heads.

Vive la République! Vive la France!

Smith Street honored Bastille Day

There were ramps and platforms for the skateboard exhibition

Skateboarders showed their best moves

The street was covered in sand and divided into petanque courts

Eighty teams competed in the petanque tournament

Who doesn’t love a sport that can be played while smoking?

Local restaurants sold food under tents (this is Coco Roco)

A restaurant made pizza in the street

Outside bar at Bar Tabac

The replica guillotine featured a bloody blade

Brooklyn Eagle: Bastille Day Comes To Smith Street
Ricard Pastis

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