Park Slopers will celebrate the longest day of the year by sitting on their stoops and blowing kazoos — part of the first annual “STOOPendous” party to celebrate Brownstone Brooklyn’s trademark feature.
On June 23, the neighborhood-wide stoop party will (at least its organizers hope) culminate in an 8:31 pm, kazoo-blowing, all-Slope solstice shout-out.
Technically, summer solstice falls on June 21. But Thursdays aren’t all that convenient for full-on sun-worship, with most adults basking in the fluorescent lights of sun-starved office buildings, and children growing pale in school.
So Saturday it is. And what a stupendous STOOPendous it will be.
The idea stems from a brainstorming session held earlier this year by the Park Slope Civic Council.
“This was overwhelmingly the most popular idea at the brunch,” said Council President Lydia Denworth, whose recollections were interrupted by sneezing (spring equinox allergies).
“It’s important and exciting to celebrate the community we have, and this is such a Park Slope way of doing it,” said Denworth. “These are the kinds of things that help build the spirit of the community, which helps when you have to do other stuff, like the hard work of advocacy.”
Even though the Civic Council is underwriting the event with $1,250 worth of advertising and kazoos, Denworth herself won’t be sitting on her stoop on STOOPendous day.
“Unfortunately, I have a long-term commitment to go visit my mother,” said Denworth. “I’m really sad. But I will be blowing my kazoo from Maryland.”
Not so Susan Fox, a trustee on the Council and the founder of Park Slope Parents, who will be hosting a meet-and-greet in her building’s courtyard.
“Our building doesn’t really have a stoop,” said Fox. “But STOOPendous is going to be everything you can think of. Some blocks will have a street-wide stoop sale. … Some people are having wine and cheese on their doorstep. Some people are bringing out the chalk. We are planning a children’s art show.”
Lest anyone think this is another example of Brooklynites romanticizing the past, the stoop has always been a prized possession and symbol of Brownstone Brooklyn, according to Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council.
“The wonderful thing about stoops is that they became this semi-public space where you could sit,” said Bankoff of the stairways fronting the late-19th-century rowhouses. “In Park Slope, you didn’t really have yards. It was like a porch.”
Whether this inaugural 21st-century STOOPendous is a success, however, remains to be seen.
“If you build it, they don’t necessarily come,” said Fox. “At this point, the next three weeks will be all about getting people excited and interested.”