Atlantic Avenue Street Fair in Brooklyn

Last weekend, I was wandering Smith Street in Brooklyn (post forthcoming) and ran into a very, very nice street fair on Atlantic Avenue.  If you’ve seen other posts where I mention street fairs, you’ll note that I’m not fond of them.  They’re too repetitive and predictable.  I only need so many wallets and socks.

When I first ran into the fair, I noticed it was…a lot different than a typical Manhattan street fair.  This one had character and real displays.  West of Smith Street, it was decidedly oriented towards kids.  And pretty crowded, too.

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About 20 minutes after taking this picture, I wandered past this area again and found it still running.  There were a bunch of little girls from some dance academy that were lined up to demonstrate their talent.  They received pretty good applause from the onlookers and everyone seemed to be having a good time.  Lots of proud moms and dads, I’m sure.

For me, the highlight of the fair was the New York Transit Museum’s bus display.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Great, great stuff.  I’ve seen double-deckers in Manhattan, but they always seem to be tourist buses.  I’d love for what I typically ride to be replaced by something like the below.

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There were a bunch of buses, but a couple of items were also very interesting.  First, there was a “tunnel wreaker” that would clear disabled vehicles out of the subways.

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And there was a specialized machine that did electrical monitoring in the tunnels, in 1936 no less.

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But the real bus, at least for old timers, was the 1948 bus that was called something like the “Jackie Gleason Special”.  It’s the style of bus that the his character “Ralph Kramden” in “The Honeymooners” drove in his job.  Of course, the TV show was way too low budget for that.  I didn’t think they ever even had an exterior shot, but a sign said he was photographed in “Bus Number 2969”.  (The sign did note that the bus’ real number was 4789, but was re-numbered to meet the show’s needs.)

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Here’s the interior.

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This makes me happy to have the current buses, despite their length of about half a block.  I can’t imagine today’s needs being met by this sort of vehicle.

Anyway, after the Transit Museum display, I decided to walk all the way to the end of the fair in the east.  It was a big fair and it sure had a crowd. 

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Basically, from Smith Street I walked all the way to the Atlantic Avenue subway stop.  It seemed a lot longer than it actually was simply because of the crowds, but then I do enjoy a good crowd.  Along the way, there were a number of live singing acts including R&B, jazz, a little country, and gospel.

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Probably the most interesting part of the fair for me was the change in the neighborhood along the way.  It transitioned slowly, but perceptively along the way and I was fascinated that the crowd mix was pretty consistent except for the families being more numerous at the west end of the fair (in the kids and Transit Museum area).  As fairs like this are really extensions of the actual neighborhoods, it was wonderful to see the different groups in the east and the west of the area all got together to put on a nice display for everyone.

-H

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Explore posts in the same categories: Brooklyn, Events, Wanderings

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