Van Alen Block Party
Saturday, October 22, 2022
12:00pm – 8:00pm
Bond Street & Douglass StreetNew York, 11217
Van Alen Block Party
Saturday, October 22, 12–8 pm (new date!)
Douglass St & Bond St, Brooklyn
Join us at this year’s Van Alen Block Party — a day of food, music, and dancing in the streets! We all need joyful, welcoming public spaces that truly serve our communities. For us, that work starts rights here in Gowanus, where we’ve put down roots.
Free and open to the public, the Van Alen Block Party showcases the creative energy of Gowanus and celebrates the power of bringing people together. Scroll down to learn more about this year’s performers, vendors, and activities.
With an incredible mix of New Yorkers in attendance, last year’s party was extraordinary — in the video below, see some of the more than 1,000 neighbors who stopped by. This year will be even better!
12:15 pm — Batalá New York
1 pm — Son de Brooklyn
2 pm — KONANTÜ
2:30 pm — Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York
2:45 pm — DJ Scribe
3:45 pm — Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York
4 pm — Gowanus Wildcats Drill Team
4:30 pm — DJ Scribe
6–8 pm — DJ Niara Sterling
Schedule subject to change — please check back here for updates. Scroll down for performer bios.
Founded in 1983, the Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York (BFMNY) is a non-profit organization composed of artists members and board members who volunteer their time to promote Mexican traditions and cultural heritage by showcasing Mexico’s regional dances. BFMNY has performed in world-renowned halls in front of enthusiastic audiences throughout the northeast. BFMNY has performed in important venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Madison Square Garden.
Batalá New York is an all-women, Black-led, Afrocentric drumming ensemble that promotes and collaborates with a network of Afro-Brazilian artists in Bahia, New York, and around the globe. Their loud, fearless, and resilient community of female drummers has performed all over the New York region in concert halls, at community centers, parks and gardens, on the streets, at protests, and at top cultural institutions. Batalá New York principally plays Samba Reggae, a world music that incorporates Brazilian Samba and Caribbean Reggae with percussive instruments and costumes hailing from Salvador de Bahia, in northeast Brazil.
Native New Yorker DJ Scribe has been deejaying and throwing parties for decades, with his legendary I Love Vinyl dance parties held at venues all over Manhattan and Brooklyn, including Gowanus. Playing a far-ranging all-vinyl set, DJ Scribe aims to represent as much of Gowanus’ diversity and history as possible, pulling from his many years of crate digging to bring a range of Soul, Reggae, Hip-Hop, Salsa, Disco, House, and beyond.
Niara Sterling’s musical style embodies rhythm, blues, soul, funk, gospel, hip hop, house and new genres from the diaspora, earning her collaborations with Ari Lennox, Easy Mo Bee, Masego, and Moses Sumney. She has toured internationally as DJ for Talib Kweli, played famed NYC spots like House of Yes and Le Bain, and is building her own repertoire of original sounds.
This multigenerational, all-star drill team started in the Gowanus Houses in 1970 and has become a cherished New York institution. For 51 years, they’ve captivated audiences at places like the Apollo Theater and Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. The Wildcats are led by instructor Renee “Juice” Flowers, who was inducted into the People’s Hall of Fame by urban folklore organization City Lore.
Founded by acclaimed artists Courtney Smith and Iván Navarro, experiential practice KONANTÜ will lead PA-NO-RA-MA: A Public Offering. In this participatory performance, 20 lengths of brand new fabric from around the world will be ceremonially unfolded, promoting the distribution of freely developable material.
Son de Brooklyn plays the contagiously fun, rum-drenched music of Cuba and Latin America with a modern Brooklyn sensibility. Taylor Watson has been playing and teaching diverse styles of music for many years. After studying jazz guitar and political science at Oberlin College, he relocated to San Francisco, CA and formed the Latin jazz group Cafe Con Leche. Multiple trips to Cuba and Brazil led him to explore those countries’ musical traditions, including recording half his group Son de Brooklyn’s album Los Hipsters No Bailan at the famed Egrem Studios in Havana.
Bring the family along for kid-friendly games and activities, including:
- Arts and crafts
- Free face painting
- Book giveaway hosted by House of SpeakEasy Bookmobile