Monday, September 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023
81° F Dallas, TX

First on Your Block

By D Magazine |

If you’ve always wanted to meet the little old lady who lives down the street, but you don’t think she’ll buy the line about the cup of sugar, invite her to your next block party. See if she’s not surprised.

We were surprised to find that anyone still throws block parties-that anyone could throw block parties-but they can, they do and you can, too. Without throwing traffic for too much of a loop, you can block off your block, meet your neighbors and never once touch those blasted car keys.

Anyone in Dallas can have a block party as long their street is not a major thoroughfare, and as long as all their neighbors on the block are in agreement.

First, draft a short petition describing the party, and have all of the homeowners on the block sign it. Submit it at least a week, preferably two, in advance of the party to the office of traffic operations at the Department of Transportation (670-3260). (A pending ordinance would change the request period to 45 days.) They’ll process your permit in two to three days, randomly phoning neighbors to corroborate the petition. The permit and its processing are free.

Usually, you can take up only one block for the party, and the street must be accessible to emergency vehicles. The music, if you play it, must stop by 11 p.m. There are no restrictions on alcohol, unless it’s being sold, in which case you’ll need another permit. Also, you must supply your own street barricades, which can be rented from several outfits listed in the Yellow Pages under “Barricade Companies.”

For not-so-lazy afternoon parties, set up a volleyball net or croquet course. And both big and little kids on the block will enjoy an old-fashioned egg toss or sack race.

Invite your neighbors to participate in a pot-luck supper, or collect money and have a cook-out. Haul out a few kegs of beer, or rent a frozen margarita machine. And keep several coolers of lemonade on hand. You might ask the little old lady who lives down the street to bring the sugar.