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Williamsburg Walks pedestrian event cut by one-third

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Williamsburg Walks has been shortened to a crawl.

Bowing to pressure from some business owners, organizers of the Bedford Avenue street festival agreed to condense the summertime pedestrian mall from six Saturdays to one weekend, June 26 and 27.

The festival originated as a pilot program two years ago which shut down bustling Bedford Avenue to traffic for four Saturdays in July and August. The event doubled foot traffic, according to a Transportation Alternatives study, but retailers complained of lost profits on their busiest day of the week.

As a result, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth was forced to make the change.

“Thank God they’ve cut it,” said Jill Goldhand, the owner of the N. Sixth Street furniture store A and G Merch, who urged festival organizers to reduce the schedule.

Williamsburg Walks may be shorter, but Neighbors Allied for Good Growth said it will be better. “We are confident that the event will be fantastic and we will establish a sustainable model for the years to come,” said event organizer Gregor Nemitz-Ziadie.

For Jumelle’s Madeline Vibrasius, who runs a clothing boutique on Bedford Avenue near N. Eighth Street, the revised schedule is a “fair compromise” between the merchants and Williamsburg Walks.

“It will probably have less of a chaotic feeling and have more of a festive summer feeling that brings the community together,” said Vibrasius. “We’re looking forward to this event so we won’t have to dread it anymore.”

Williamsburg Walks will host a public forum at Teddy’s Bar and Grill [96 Berry St. between N. Eighth and Berry streets, Williamsburg] on April 21 at 6 pm.

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Reader Feedback

Joe from Greenpoint says:
It's not really a pedestrian street when you shorten it to two days instead of six. It becomes more of a special event, like a street fair - exactly the kind of thing I though merchants were trying to prevent
April 6, 2010, 9:34 am
rtg from williamsburg says:
isnt this store on N6th & Berry?
April 6, 2010, 10:36 am
Jenny from Williamsburg says:
A&G is a block away from the Williamsburg Walks, it is weird that the owner felt it was hurting her business.

As for Jumelle, I will be sure to avoid shopping at this store again.
It is unfortunate that a select group of transplant business owners feel the need to blame a great community project like Williamsburg Walks for their dwindling business. here isn't any reason why Williamsburg Walks would hurt business aside from the business owners' own lack of creativity and skill in selling and offering good products. Maybe they should be blaming the recession NOT a great community-building event.

For anyone else who would like to join me in protesting Jumelle for their community-destroying lobbying, you can join me at Bird on Grand St. They have the same items anyways and not such a narrow-minded attitude.
April 6, 2010, 2:30 pm
caran d'ache from greenpoint says:
Isn't jumelle one of those precious little places that sells no more than a handful of items at one time, all exorbitantly priced? Yeah, good luck with that.

Love the schoolmarmish pose, though.
April 6, 2010, 5:34 pm
Chris from Greenpoint says:
I will make a point to make sure every single one of my neighbors knows that these businesses ruined a fantastic community event. Especially during the one measly weekend that we'll have to enjoy it this year.

Shame on you all.

And also: did you ever stop to think that your downturn in business last summer had anything to do with the recession? Or maybe your unwillingness to use Williamsburg Walks as a way to promote your business to the community? I didn't think so.
April 6, 2010, 10:07 pm
Math check from Prospect Heights says:
Haven't these moronic merchants cut the event by two-thirds?
April 6, 2010, 11:17 pm
justin from clinton hill says:
Right, because everyone knows that the primary audience for expensive boutiques on Bedford Ave. are people driving in from Long Island. I mean, obviously.

I really don't understand what these people are thinking. It's Bedford Ave, not the Short Hills Mall. Everyone shopping there either lives there or somewhere else on the L.
April 7, 2010, Midnight
Billy from Greenpoint says:
@Justin, we clearly need a heli-pad so we can compete with the Short Hills Mall.
April 7, 2010, 10:49 am
Billy from Greenpoint says:
The side missing to this post is that events like Wburg Walks are supposed to deter driving into an area! It's much easier and much more pleasurable to catch a ride into Wburg than it is to be endlessly spinning around looking for parking and further crowding the place out.

We should discourage driving, and encourage transit ridership. There just isn't room for everyone here to have a car, nevermind room for every car in nassau county.
April 7, 2010, 10:51 am
jumelle from Williamsburg says:
Response from Jumelle:

The comments and quotes that have appeared in recent articles about the reduced Williamsburg Walks schedule are inaccurate, misrepresented and false. We have contacted the staff writer asking for a correction.

Williamsburg Walks did not have any negative impact on our business revenue; this aspect of the story was never discussed with the reporter. In fact that comment was made by another local shop owner. We remained open every weekend during the walks and welcomed customers.

Furthermore, the caption, "She got her wish now that the pedestrian mall has been cut to just two days" that appears with a photo of one of our staff is entirely fabricated. We have not actively campaigned to cut Williamsburg Walks.

Jumelle has been an active participant in the community and we simply wish to set the record straight.
April 7, 2010, 12:22 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
@Jumelle, if Williamsburg Walk didn't have a "negative impact on (y)our business revenue" why are against it?
April 7, 2010, 12:42 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Yeah, shouldn't all the peds improve business, not hurt it? I guess you can't believe all you read.

@Joey: Exactly.
April 7, 2010, 2 pm
cammy from greenpoint says:
The posh little boutique's don't serve the this community, they cater to people coming for the day and leaving. Or maybe the new breed of condo buyers, I don't know.

The walks cater to the people who live here, I am disappointed.
April 8, 2010, 10:43 am
da real flushing from flushing says:
look people, get real. you guys don't need street closures. mega 'hoods like the one i live in, in flushing REALLY need the couple of blocks around main street perm closed off. it's gridlock all the time with a million more people. you guys are whining about nothing. try rushing to work down at main & kissena and it's impossible. Yo, hear that planning urban commission in charge peeps?
April 8, 2010, 11:24 pm
Gregor Nemitz-Ziadie from Williamsburg says:
Hello,

Williamsburg Walks is organizing a brainstorming session to solicit your ideas on how to make the event fun, memorable, and fulfilling. This is a chance for you to get your questions answered, to share your suggestions and to support the event in general.

At the session, the organizers will update the group on our latest progress planning the event and conduct a brainstorming session about the kind of programming the community would like to see happen on their street. The session will take place on Wednesday April 21st from 6 to 8 pm at Teddy’s Bar & Grill, 96 Berry Street (corner of N8th Street) in Williamsburg.

This year Williamsburg Walks is organized by Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and the L Magazine with the support of Project for the Public Spaces. The event is happening on Saturday June 26th and Sunday June 27th on a car-free Bedford Avenue (N4th St. to N9th St.). This new format is in response to opinions expressed by groups in the community and comes from a desire by the organizers to find an inclusive and sustainable model for the years to come.

This is an event by the community for the community at which we want people to go ‘woaa, I did not know you could do that on the street’. Together, we will create a place where everyone can relax or shop and think all the while.

For more information, visit williamsburgwalks.org or contact us at williamsburgwalks@gmail.com.

Gregor

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:: Gregor Nemitz-Ziadie
:: Event Organizer
:: Williamsburg Walks 2010
:: williamsburgwalks@gmail.com
:: williamsburgwalks.org
April 12, 2010, 4:26 pm

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