On a recent weekend, one of the one-block streets in the City of Plattsburgh organized and held a party for itself.
That event did more than you’d imagine to initiate acquaintances, cement relationships and have a lot of fun within what should already have been a very close-knit community.
One couple conceived the idea and got it started. The organizers settled on a date several weeks away, hoping, of course, that Mother Nature would smile on the get-together. Mother Nature did her part.
One of the neighbors went to each house with a flier announcing the event and giving what few specifics were known: that each attendee would bring beverage of choice and a dish to share. A small donation was requested so that hotdogs, hamburgers, rolls, ice and a few other supplies could be purchased. An RSVP was asked so the appropriate amount of food could be bought.
This block had suffered some significant losses of numbers over the past few years, either by death or people moving away. Some solid friendships existed, but most of the relationships were new acquaintances, at best.
The idea seemed to catch on immediately. The neighbor going door to door was met with a surprising amount of enthusiasm for the project.
Preparations were made, and the party unfolded as planned. People arrived, many bringing food, all bringing lively topics for discussion.
Those who knew each other were, naturally, occupied with catching up on the latest intra-family developments. Those who didn’t know each other very quickly did. The atmosphere was relaxed and rewarding for everyone.
One of the neighbors played music from his property, which entertained all and enlivened the occasion.
It’s surprising how quickly people can become attached to one another in circumstances like this. By the end of the afternoon, just about everybody felt either a renewed relationship or a newly authored one. The shy were no longer shy.
It being a virtually untrafficked one-block street, the small children were able to play games in or near the street, with careful oversight of parents — and neighbors.
Afterward, everyone seemed to agree it had been a wonderful idea that had yielded a terrific time. Several attendees were talking about volunteering to host next year. For this street, there is little doubt this will become an annual event.
All seemed grateful for the opportunity to get to know their neighbors better than they had. One of the attendees pointed out that the kids now knew more safe homes in the neighborhood and would have more people looking out for them.
To broaden the applicability of the lessons learned here, all neighborhoods would benefit from similar efforts. And so, it would be hoped, could nations, such as at G7, which was going on at the time.
Diplomacy, local or international, always seems to work better face to face. Electronic communications will never evoke better results than personal interactions.