Boogie on the Boulevard

Streets are the biggest public space in New York City. Nevertheless, these are mostly use for vehicular traffic.

Boogie on the Boulevard re-imagines how a street in this case, Grand Concourse in The Bronx, can be transformed into a different kind of public space for pedestrians, people on wheels, and community.  This project began as an artist project by Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín and grew into something bigger.

Boogie on the Boulevard has been organized by a community advisory council comprise of grassroots community organizations, city agencies, artists, community members, including  the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, BronxWorks, BxArts Factory, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, among many others.

Photos by Lauren Click, Elizabeth Hamby, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín


Timeline

1909, Grand Concourse is inaugurated

The Grand Concourse was designed by the architect Louis Risse, modeled on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It was intended to provide a quick route from the increasingly developed Manhattan to the rural calm of the Bronx.


1991, Car Free Sundays on the Grand Concourse begins

Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer introduces “Car-free Sundays on the Grand Concourse.” From May-November, the center lanes of the entire four-mile stretch of the roadway were closed to cars every Sunday. Neighbors could bike, walk, skate, and spend time together using the roadway as a paved park.


1996, Car free Sundays shut down by NYC Mayor

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani insists that the organizers of Car-free Sundays apply for permits to hold the event, and then rejects their application. Political observers suggest the event was cancelled due to enmity between the Mayor and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a potential mayoral challenger. But the Citizens To Restore Concourse Car-Free Sundays, who sent hundreds of postcards to the Mayor, hope Giuliani will see the favorite Sunday institution not simply as a Fernando Ferrer project, but as a major boost to quality of life that Bronx residents support, need and enjoy.


2006, Car Free Sunday on the Grand Concourse by Transportation Alternatives

Transportation Alternatives and a group of neighborhood residents worked together to bring back Car-Free Sundays on a trial basis.

Street films Car free Sundays on the Grand Concourse article


2012, Boogie Down Rides

Boogie Down Rides was established by artists Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín  a bicycling and art project.

Boogie Down Rides is a celebration of bicycling in the Bronx. It includes educational events, community visioning sessions and group rides.

Boogie Down Rides firmly believes in the power of bicycling as a way to promote active transportation, recreation, and exercise. We support and build bridges of existing efforts to expand safe cycling while connecting communities and people in the process.

This project is organized by meta local collaborative, an initiative by artists Elizabeth Hamby and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, and includes a broad coalition of individuals and organizations. 

This project started as part of the exhibition This Side of Paradise, presented by No Longer Empty


2012, Campaign to reinstate Car Free Sundays on the Grand Concourse begins

As part of Boogie Down Rides project the artists organized a community advisory group including community members, local activists, city agencies, non profit organizations. Discussions lead to the idea to reinstate Car Free Sundays on the Grand Concourse and a campaign started supported by Transportation Alternatives.


2014, First Boogie on the Boulevard

2014- Boogie on the Boulevard brought back Car-Free Sundays to the Concourse for three Sundays in August. More than 2,500 people came out to celebrate the street as public space.


Boogie on the Boulevard continues…