Block party

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A block party in Manhattan
People and police officers at a very large block party
Musicians performing at a block party

A block party or street party is a crowded party in which many members of a single community congregate, either to observe an event of some importance or simply for mutual enjoyment. The name comes from the form of the party, which often involves closing an entire city block to vehicle traffic. Many times, there will be a celebration in the form of playing music and dance and activities like pony rides, inflatable slides, pop corn machines and barbecues. Block parties gained popularity in the United States during the 1970s, particularly within the hip hop community. Block parties were often held outdoors and power for the DJ's sound system was taken illegally from street lights, as referenced in the song "South Bronx" by KRS-One.

Block parties are reported as a World War I innovation originating from the East Side of New York City, where an entire block was roped off and patriotic songs sung and a parade held to honor the members of that block who had gone off to war.[1][2] Traditionally, many inner city block parties were actually held illegally, because they did not file for an event permit from the local authorities. However, police turned a blind eye to them.

In the United States, block parties usually occur on holidays such as the Independence Day and Memorial Day. Some towns may also have an annual block party.

Sometimes the occasion may be a theme such a "Welcome to our town" for a new family or a recent popular movie. Often block parties involve barbecues and lawn games such as Simon Says, karaoke, and group dancing such as the Electric Slide, the Macarena or line dancing. In many small towns, the local fire department may also participate in the party, bringing out trucks that they display for show.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Block Parties", The Outlook, 16 October 1918; reviewed 2008-09-20.
  2. ^ Fiocco v. Carver, 234 NY 219 (1922)