Community leaders looking to restore Bronx tradition by bringing ‘Boogie on the Boulevard’ to Concourse Village

Bronx organizers and business leaders hope to bring ‘Boogie on the Boulevard’ to Grand Concourse nearly two decades after the pedestrian-friendly event was axed by Giuliani administration

BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

A beloved Grand Concourse tradition put on hold under Rudy Giuliani may be revived for the first time in two decades if a Bronx police precinct approves, The News has learned.

“Boogie on the Boulevard,” a summer right of passage that until 1996 shut a three-mile strech of the Grand Concourse to vehicular traffic and replaced cars with Bronx families, may be returning in an abbreviated form, officials said.

“It’s a no brainer,” said Community Board 4 District Manager Jose Rodriguez, whose board voted to bring back to event this August following a presentation last week by The Bronx Museum of the Arts and Transportation Alternatives.

“It brings about a sense of community,” added Rodriguez. “Folks will see what will be happening and be compelled to participate, because it’s such a positive thing.”

f approved by the 44th Precinct this month, the event would close down Grand Concourse’s center lanes between 165th St. and 167th St. for interactive art exhibits, fitness classes and live music on Aug. 3, 10 and 17.

A petition circulated in favor of the proposal garnered more than 1,400 signatures — and organizers say Concourse Village residents believe the project would be a slam dunk.

“It would be a huge added value to the community, which we’ve heard over and over from residents,” said Caroline Samponaro, senior director of campaigns and organizing at Transportation Alternatives. “It’s so pro-neighborhood to have an event where neighbors can come together in public space and have positive, healthy activities to do.”

For some partners, “Boogie on the Boulevard” is an ideal scenario to showcase their offerings.

“This is something that we thought would be a great opportunity to bring programming outside the museum’s walls,” said Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, The Bronx Museum of the Arts Curator of Education. “This will be a great opportunity for us to provide our neighbors with great programming. It’s a great way to bring people together.”

The project was submitted as part of the city’s Weekend Walks program, which allows commercial streets to close in order to host pedestrian-friendly activities.

The idea was introduced in 1991 by then-Borough President Fernando Ferrer, before the Guiliani Administration ended it in 1996. A scaled-back iteration was reintroduced in 2006 but fizzled out shortly thereafter.

jscarborough@nydailynews.com