Neighborly love: Ridgewood residents throw second annual block party

Ridgewood block party
Ridgewood Block Party on Pauline LeBlonde Way between Woodward and Onderdonk avenues. (Photo courtesy of Haruka Aoki)

For the second year in a row, residents from Pauline LeBlond Way in Ridgewood put together a block party to come together after many neighbors struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, residents wanted to celebrate the perseverance of their community after suffering so many hardships brought on by the pandemic, so they conceptualized the Pauline LeBlonde Way Block Party which would include barbecues, live music, games and most importantly, bonding with neighbors.

One organizer, Haruka Aoki, said that after an outpouring of support after last year’s event, they decided to make it annual, even considering hosting two a year.

“This year, the wider community, and the beautiful weather, joined us to make the block party almost twice as big as last year’s,” Aoki said. “We’ve gotten to know so many people, not just the ones who live on the block but also folks who live on nearby streets and even other neighborhoods.”

Aoki mentioned that being connected to her neighbors has made living in New York City much more community-oriented, which she said is rare.

“Even if it’s the little things, like borrowing packing tape, picking up extra groceries or helping a neighbor park their car, knowing that someone on the block has your back can create a sense of belonging, especially in a big city like this one,” Aoki said. 

The Pauline LeBlonde Block Party included plenty of community grills to share food among friends. (Photo courtesy of Haruka Aoki)

This year’s event — which takes place between Onderdonk and Woodward avenues — extended invitations to people beyond the block.

Representatives from the new community garden in Ridgewood had an information table and gave out postcards with historic photos of the block. A representative from Councilwoman Jennifer Gutiérrez’s office also stopped by to speak with community members. 

“Everyone is invited,” Aoki said. “You do not have to live on Pauline LeBlond Way to partake in the festivities. Please join us next year.”

Though the block party was initially put together to support each other through an extremely difficult time, this year, Aoki wanted to emphasize the beauty and immense history her block has to offer. 

“My fellow organizers and I wanted to honor the beautiful historical block we live on and its namesake: Pauline Leblond Way, a brick-paved street with homes constructed in the early 1900s by German immigrants, named after the preservationist and community member who led the effort to landmark the block,” Aoki said. “This year, we wanted to celebrate the diversity of our community, from new neighbors to children to people who’ve lived in the neighborhood for decades.”