I've lived in the same place for almost 15 years in Brooklyn. Almost every year, our block has a party, but in years' past, I've been too busy to go. Recently, I've attempted to get involved in our newly-formed block association. I attend meetings when I can, but infrequently because of work. This year when the date of the block party was announced, I put it on my calendar and committed to go. Today was the block party, and I have never had more invitations to do different things: my softball team's party, a friend in from out of town, a colleague's birthday party--but I was committed to this block party. And I'm glad I made that decision.
Our block is really unique. There are people who've lived there all their lives, their apartments or houses were passed down through generations. There are entrepreneurs, families, same-sex couples, hipsters. There are people in new apartment buildings (three of them on the block), and some in crumbling brownstones. There's a hot new pie shop on the corner at one end of the block, and a reliable Chinese take-out on the other side that has a ginger and scallion soup that I swear cures the common cold. We have musicians who drum and play guitar on the roof every Saturday night, a motorcycle dude who annoys the hell out of me when he revvs his engine really loud, and the owner and founder of a local brewery. And even though I pass most of them by every day, I don't know very many of them at all.
I decided that I wanted to share my pickles and D's hot sauce this year, and made pernil as the platform. D happened to be away at a concert this weekend, but he cooked up a new batch of sauce and helped me roast the pernil last night. I made some pickles a few weeks ago, and had some pickled onions keeping in the fridge. So I made cubano-tacos: little corn tortilla halves, shredded jack cheese, shredded roast pork, pickle slice, pickled onions, and hot sauce. Folks were grilling with their families in front of their homes, so I went around and introduced myself and asked everyone if they wanted a little taco with some hot sauce.
People were so kind with their compliments and I got to talk to so many of them. My voting rights work, the state of the block's construction, the robust nature of the block association, and what "fracking" means were all little conversations I was able to have all day (D and I have a "no fracking" sign in our third-story window).
If I when I ever launch my pickle business, I'll start my marketing on my own block first.