Van Alen Block Party 2023

Saturday, September 30, 2023


Van Alen Block Party
Saturday, September 30, 1–6 pm (yes, we’re on!)
Bond Street between Union & Sackett, Brooklyn

Free and open to the public, this annual event is a celebration of all things Gowanus — the vibrant, dynamic, and creative neighborhood we call home. Join us for an afternoon of music, performance, and family-friendly crafts and games.

Performances & Talks

Photo: Los Herederos

Music by Los Herederos Sonicycle


Los Herederos (The Inheritors) is a grassroots media-arts nonprofit organization dedicated to inheriting culture in the digital age. Their sonicycle is an audiovisual-outfitted bicycle that runs on green energy and is made entirely from recycled materials and curbside discards. It’s an itinerant sound device, documentary tool, and community organizing-activation platform “rolled” into one.


Featured DJs:


Josh Hubi/Uptown Vinyl Supreme
Disco, soul, funk, and house


Grace of Spades
Everything from soul to punk, with reggae at the core


Prince of Queens
A synthesis of NYC’s trans-caribbean culture clash


Rendering: Juanlí Carrion and Rodolfo Kusulas

With Your Voice: Public Art Preview

3:30 pm


People have a right to know what’s happening in their own backyard. See some of the big changes coming to Gowanus with the Voicers, megaphone-shaped sculptures designed by Juanli Carrión and Rodolfo Kusulas for With Your Voice — the latest installation in our Public Realm R+D initiative.

Photo: Cameron Blaylock

Community Conversation: Points of Agreement

3:45 pm


Historic community benefits — called Points of Agreement — were negotiated around the Gowanus rezoning. How did these come to be? Why are they significant? What’s happening now? Artist and community organizer Lynn Neuman (Artichoke Dance Company) hosts a conversation with Karen Blondel (Public Housing Civic Association), Andrea Parker (Gowanus Canal Conservancy), Paula Smith (Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice), Jesse Solomon (South Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation), and Monica Underwood (Gowanus Oversight Task Force).

Photo: Sam Lahoz

Performance by Gowanus Wildcats Drill Team

4:30 pm


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.


Photo: Taste of Puebla

Food by Taste of Puebla
1–6 pm


Established in 2019, Taste of Puebla started as a small food cart with a big mission: to bring the flavors of Puebla, Mexico to NYC in the most authentic way possible. After great success, Taste of Puebla traded in their food cart for a beautiful Mexican food truck and expanded their menu to include delicious food from the islands of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba, utilizing family recipes handed down from the owners’ Abuelas and Tias.

Photo: Sam Lahoz

FREE ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery
3–5 pm, while supplies last


Churning 🍦Brooklyn’s Freshest 🍦 since 2011!


Photo: Argenis Apolinario

Book giveaway with House of SpeakEasy Bookmobile
1–6 pm


House of SpeakEasy believes that book ownership should be a right, not a privilege. Launched in 2017, The SpeakEasy Bookmobile is a direct response to the proliferation of “book deserts,” neighborhoods where bookstores are in short supply — or worse, nonexistent. The modified box truck is outfitted with 54 linear feet of shelving that accommodate a variety of books for all ages.

Photo: Powerhouse Arts

Art-making with Powerhouse Arts
1–6 pm


Newly opened in Gowanus, Powerhouse Arts is a not-for-profit organization committed to creative expression. Join them all afternoon to get creative with Model Magic, an air-dry clay-like material for all ages. Sculpt your own art at the Block Party or take some home with you to experiment with later!

Photo: Cynthia Edorh

Nutritional herb bundle workshop with One Love Community Fridge
2:30–4:30 pm


One Love Community Fridge works to eradicate hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition, and the stigma associated with all three, through an integrated, multi-generational, and inclusive movement that centers access to fresh foods, nutrition education, and sustainability.

Photo: Sam Lahoz

Family-friendly outdoor games!

Photos: Andrew Gounardes, Carlos Menchaca, Lincoln Restler

Remarks by State Senator Andrew Gounardes; former New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca; and New York City Council Member Lincoln Restler.


Stop by our home base at 303 Bond Street to meet members of Gowanus’ incredibly creative and caring community, including:

2022 Highlights