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!