The circus is coming to town! The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus is bringing their Flatbed Follies to Greenpoint, specifically Banker’s Anchor on July 16 with two shows (3 p.m. and 6 p.m).
Flatbed Follies are shows where Bindlestiff Family Cirkus performs in the city streets on a parade float stage. It’s something they started with the support of NYC’s Department of Transportation and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment during 2021. They wanted to bring joy into areas hit hardest by COVID and lacking in arts programming while also providing jobs to artists affected by the pandemic
David Clark Smith, an architect, and his partner who is also an architect got involved with Banker’s Anchor because of Kevin LaCherra from North Brooklyn Mutual Aid. They ran into LaCherra at their local bodega where he asked them if they wanted to volunteer to help design and organize Banker’s Anchor. They said they would love to. Smith is one of the four organizers for Banker’s Anchor.
There have been previous talks about what the future of Banker’s Anchor would be but Smith told Greenpointers that Banker’s Anchor has been approved by the NYC Department of Transportation to be an Open Street. As of right now they have been approved to be an Open Street for two days a week (Saturday & Sunday) but Smith said they are petitioning to make Banker’s Anchor approved as a Pedestrian Plaza. That would mean the area would operate as a social public space seven days a week.
Supporters of Banker’s Anchor, a triangle strip that intersects Nassau Ave, N. 15th, and Banker St., say that it’s the perfect spot to make into an Open Street because of the space in general but the amount of pedestrian traffic. Since there is another street vehicles can go on, it’s redundant. It also helps that vehicular deliveries can still be made without compromising the space.
Smith is grateful for their neighbors, the Lot Radio and San Damiano Mission Church, who have been very supportive. For example, the Church has let Banker’s Anchor use their water to hose the plants. The Lot Radio also brings in folks from their coffee shop and bar.
“We wanted something that’s a little more family-friendly, a little more kid-friendly. And so this was just sort of a perfect collaboration” said Smith.
Bindlestiff reached out to Banker’s Anchor about the Flatbed Follies. The group designing Banker’s Anchor wanted something families can enjoy and to expand the demographic of the park, which is mostly young people and not many kids. Smith also likes how in between shows, the circus does demonstrations and workshops where the audience can learn to juggle or unicycle. It really gets kids and others to participate in the event.
Bindlestiff will perform more shows throughout the city on various Open Streets, and in public and pedestrian plazas so check their website and Instagram for the dates and locations.
While this is the first summer Banker’s Anchor are doing activities and events as an official pedestrian plaza, this won’t be the last. They are also coordinating with the Lot Radio to host live performances in their space. You can check out these future events at Banker’s Anchor’s Instagram.
“Everyone in Greenpoint and Williamsburg should come to the circus this Saturday. And it’s free, free free!” Smith emphasized.
So North Brooklyn, come be amazed and dazzled at a free circus show this Saturday with a 3 p.m. and 6 p.m show. You might even learn to juggle or ride a unicycle!