Something different on the streets of downtown Brooklyn; instead of cars, there are ping pong tournaments, salsa classes, and more. NY1's Roger Clark explains.
Salsa has taken over the streets of Downtown Brooklyn with little worry of any cars, trucks or buses trying to cut in.
"We start off with a free class, and then after that, we pretty much just let everybody just social dance," said Jose Rivera, the owner of Salsa, Salsa Dance Studio.
It is possible to salsa through the streets on Wednesday evenings in September as part of a Shared Streets program, a partnership between the city transportation department and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, turning Willoughby and Pearl Streets between Jay and Fulton into a playground of sorts, with a variety of games and activities.
"The idea here is to activate streets like Willoughby and Pearl that are really, really low automobile usage, with more pedestrian-friendly activities," said Regina Meyer, the president of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
Like giant Connect Four, Cornhole, and, my favorite, Ping Pong, with the help of Jared Sochinsky, who runs pop-up table tennis events all over town.
"We had all the kids from Brooklyn Friends come out during their lunch hour. As soon as they saw the table, just swarms of kids wanted to play," said Sochinsky.
It's hard to choose what to do; signs are posted to keep any traffic limited to five miles per hour, so everyone is safe.
I took the opportunity to take some salsa lessons with my partner Vanessa from the nearby Salsa, Salsa Dance Studio. I have to say, picking up the social dance, which originated in the Caribbean, wasn't as difficult as I expected. And I didn't step on Vanessa's toes.
"You did great, you did great," said Rivera. "Especially for a beginner, you did better than most beginners."
This is the first time they have done the Shared Streets program in Downtown Brooklyn. If the program is a success, they plan on expanding it.
And Myer says it works perfectly as this neighborhood grows as a residential and commercial area.
"There were always things to do in Downtown Brooklyn, but now we are focusing on how we can accentuate and add to that," said Myer.
To learn more, check out downtownbrooklyn.com