Saturday, June 21, 2014

Alive with Possibility

Oh, the streets were alive, that's for sure.

The second annual RVA Streets Alive! had decided to take over my neighborhood, so by the time I left for my walk at noon, it was in full swing.

I can always get behind the idea of closing streets to cars so people can walk, run, bike, skate or exercise in them and I always enjoy seeing so many people in Jackson Ward when it's not First Friday.

Tony, the gregarious sandwich maker at Nick's Market, stood just inside the glass door, and gave me a big smile and wave as I walked by, trying to lure me in but I was barely half an hour past breakfast.

A unicyclist wobbled down the street, Black Girls Run! had a table and a group of people were sparring, boxing gloves looking huge on their hands.

At Steady Sounds, guys were pawing through discounted record bins while I stopped to chat with Lauren, proprietor of Blue Bones Vintage, a pop-up shop for now but I was thrilled to hear she's looking for a spot in the Arts District to open a brick and mortar shop to sell her gently used flannel shirts and hippie togs.

There was a group spinning and lifting hand weights while a perky, pony-tailed woman led them through their paces.

Another group was going through a dance/exercise routine to a generic auto-tuned pop song that I'd thankfully never heard before while a gaggle of onlookers watched them.

The River City Rollergirls were weaving in and out of each other on the block between 1st and 2nd Streets, showing none of the aggression they do in a match, but demonstrating that skating takes good leg muscles.

Since I walk and work out every day, I wasn't inclined to stop and participate in any of the activities, although the booth giving chair massages held a lot of appeal, so the highlight for me was the triangle at Adams and Broad.

I'd spent four evenings back in February as part of a neighborhood group addressing "The Ephemeral Plan: Brook Road," a project to re-conceive the triangle as a more inviting public space.

Today I finally got to see some of the results of our month-long sessions. Large sculptural letters spelled out "LOVE" facing Broad Street. Public picnic tables lined Brook Road facing Max's and available for all. Pots of greenery and flowers sat ready to be planted around the platforms under the enormous tree that defines the space.

You know what brings the streets alive in my neighborhood? Seeing the fruits of our winter efforts changing the complexion and perception of Jackson Ward on a summer day.

So proud.

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