by Gloria Mckinney Slayton
Do you know who your neighbors are? The folks who live on Carver Road do. Last year two houses were sold on Carver Road -—the Swedenburg house and the Gibbs-Thompson house. In addition, two new renters arrived with their families. Everyone seemed friendly enough. We would wave to each other but we didn’t know each other’s names or much about each other. To fix that situation, a block party was organized and wow, talk about a multi-cultural event! One of the new residents, from Asia, moved here with a daughter and granddaughter; another, from India, has two young children. Also new to Carver are a U.S. couple with two college-age boys and another comprised of a South American wife and an Iranian husband.
The party was a combination of a potluck along with a moderate donation per household to pay for ice, paper goods, charcoal, hot dogs, hamburgers and various fixings. What we discovered was that not only are the residents multi-cultural but multi-talented as well. The foods were the best of many regions from around the world, all fresh, home-made, authentic and yummy. German, Carribean, South American and Asian dishes were served along with good old USA soul food. It was really quite easy to organize. There were three organizers: myself, Austin White and Jack Mandel. We prepared flyers announcing a desire to have a block party which indicated what we thought might be a donation amount, a list of things we might need from individuals (i.e, grill, coolers, tables, umbrellas, etc.) and possible dates and who to contact. Basically it was a feeler to see if there would be any interest. We had no idea what to expect but were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and support. One resident brought a pretzel machine that made hot pretzels, another organized activities for the children. A basketball hoop was set up in the middle of the circle and hasn’t been moved since. We had a pit-master, and live entertainment from our very own violinist, Tina Eck. One of our young adults played DJ on his music machine and and another resident brought out his authentic Tiki Bar.
The original plan was to hold the block party from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., but everyone was having such a good time that the party continued well until after midnight and then all over again the next morning. Now that’s what I call a party! The event was so well received that our German resident held a October-fest party modeled after it. Carver Road has a legacy of community activity and support. Most notably it was the site of the original Cabin John Crab Feast. It has changed over the years from an all African-American street of 20 government built houses to a mixture of housing types. It is cosmopolitan in both spirit and in culture. Create your own street legacy and discover the personalities and awesomeness of your neighbors. Have a block party!