Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Last Block Party

I was driving around Saturday and noticed that some neighborhoods were STILL having block parties. Labor Day was two weeks ago and summer has "unofficially" ended (even though, there are technically a few weeks left). Apparently, somebody forgot to tell that to the residents of certain West Philadelphia neighborhoods.

I don't know if they do this in the ATL, Chicago, or Houston but, people in New York City and New Jersey know what I'm talking about... several cars or SUV's will park in back of each other and close off both ends of the block so that no traffic can get through. There is always someone on the block that has the largest speakers in the world in their possession... (speakers that couldn't possibly be played in their homes so, they must be saved for just this occasion.) These speakers are hooked up to a sound system and a DJ (or two) who rocks the block with the most current sounds of the day.

Several families had grills going and the smell of hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, and barbecued chicken wafts through the air. There were several tables set up with a variety of barbecue sauces (some homemade, some store bought) and crowds of people were on different porches eating potato salad, macaroni salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, and did I mention ribs and chicken? It sounds like I was actually at a block party doesn't it? I was... right around the corner from me.

Unfortunately, every block I have ever lived on in my life has been the jivest block in history. No organization... no block club... thus, no block party. I always had to go to somebody else's block party and that still holds true today. I've lived on my present block for 15 years and we never had a block party.

I had a friend... his name was Keith also but, we called him "Baldy". He and I were once masters at "crashing" block parties. We did it in much the same way Tupac Shakur and Joe Torry did it in the movie "Poetic Justice". We would ingratiate ourselves with one person on the block who had too much to drink or smoked a little too much weed and that was our "in" to an afternoon of dancing, eating, talking to girls, and just having fun. And, believe it or not, we were rarely challenged. If we were, we would simply say, "Man, we lived on this block back in the day... this is like a homecoming!"

Considering we were barely in our twenties, how far back could "back in the day" possibly have been? I'm surprised that nobody bothered to take it any further. Surely somebody lived on that block long enough to know that neither one of us ever lived there. Mostly though, nobody really cared... we weren't troublemakers and the more people, the merrier. A good time was had by all.

I'm way too old to play those kind of games now so, I just walked on the block. Most of the people in my general area know who I am and that I live in the vicinity. I went to that block party with no problem. I contributed to a debate about whether the Eagles are going to beat the Cowboys this coming Monday and polished off some ribs, a hamburger, and a hot dog. I listened to the wack DJ try to mix some music and even tossed him a fake compliment.

My New York and New Jersey folk know how skilled a DJ had to be back at the dawn of hip-hop. He or she was playing the popular jams of the day... adding break beats and rhymes to a record and blending it right into another record, while being challenged by another DJ doing the same thing right down the street... all to the crowds approval. This is how hip-hop got started. This guy wasn't even in their league but, I suppose, he was okay for today.

Oh well, I partied like a condemned death row prisoner yesterday... I've got to fast again today.


Attorneymom said...

Keith, we share the same birthday. You must be a great person. (Smile)

My Soror Star Jones has the same birthday as you and me. Skee Wee.

ZACK said...

Yes, we DO have these in Chicago! Our block decided not to do one this year, but the others did theirs over the past 3 weeks. Nobody really does a block party BEFORE the third Saturday in August. I don't know why that's the case....

Nice nostalgic post! I liked it.

Don said...

There's something about block parties which I still find to be enjoyable even until this day. Although most old neighborhoods of mines are now torn and broken, I still can find excitememnt in seeing people get out and enjoy themselves, like we once did yesteryear.

Mizrepresent said...

Hey Keith, i remember Block Parties back in the day...they were the best. That's when communities really came together, and you are right, no association (rape) fees for maintaining the neighborhood. Wow, that sounded like a lot of fun and you got your eat on too, on more time! Good for you, so glad you got a chance to see that wonderful relic "Block Party"...sounds like a Tyler Perry movie, lol!

Rich said...

St. Louis does National Night Out (NNO) in August. Any other time, you can find something going down in a park, but I've never tried to crash. The neighborhood we used to live in hosted parties on NNO, but the block we are on now does nothing. I have often thought of organizing the block, but I get tired of being the point man for everything.

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

No block parties growing up in Baytown but when I was married my cul-de-sac usta have a party in May, we were a new neighborhood so we just kinda started it. It was family friendly. WHEN I go back to the H I want to have a block party on my street!

But when I throw house parties kinda end up like half block parties cause my mom lives down the street so people are always going back and forth between our houses. And my neighbors are always invited!

Man you making me even MORE homesick. *lol*



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