By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Eric Williams, owner of the Silver Room, 1506 E. 53rd St., will host his “14th Annual Silver Room Sound System Block Party,” on Saturday, July 15, from noon to 10 p.m.
The event will take place on 53rd St. and will stretch from Lake Park Avenue to Blackstone Avenue and from Harper Avenue to 53rd and 52nd streets, including Harper Court.
“It is our hope this year’s theme of “We Speak” will bring people together through art, music, dance, and celebration of not only our commonalities but our differences as well,” said Williams, about the event. “The theme represents an opportunity for “us” to talk with one another, as well as increase our human potential and strengthen our community.”
Each year Williams creates a block party theme that is positive and inspirational. Previous themes included “Freedom, Love, Joy & Peace,” “We The People,” “We Come in Peace,” “Things That Matter” and “Look Up.”
According to Williams, the event is an outdoor celebration of music, community, art, and culture. It was started as an urban style small block party back in July of 2003 in the alley behind his store’s former location in the Wicker Park neighborhood.
Since then, he has watched his event grow from extension cords connected to small speakers running through the windows of his old storefront, to a daylong event that attracted over 15,000 attendees in the summer of 2016.
“Each of the intersections will be staffed,” said Kenneth Pickett, general manager of the Silver Room Block Party in regards to traffic flow. “We want to minimize congestion and make sure that the traffic flows [smoothly] up and down Lake Park Avenue and surrounding street closures.”
Pickett said there would be signs to help direct traffic throughout the community on the day of the event. And there will be no parking on Old Lake Park Avenue from 53rd Street to 54th Street from 7 a.m. Saturday, July 15, to Sunday, July 16, midnight.
Other areas of closure will include 53rd Street between Lake Park and Blackstone avenues from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Harper Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets (including all of Harper Court) from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Restricted Parking will go into effect on Friday night, July 14, from 11 p.m. to Saturday night, July 15, at 11:59 p.m.
To improve traffic flow, Pickett explained that there would be Main Thoroughfares available to drivers at Garfield Boulevard East and West Bound, 51st Street East and West Bound, Woodlawn Avenue. North and South Bound and Lake Park Avenue. North and South Bound. This will provide drivers with main street alternatives en route to the event.
The Block Party Committee will host its second and final community informational meeting at the Silver Room on Wednesday, July 12, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“We look forward to your support as we create a special day of celebration for all of Hyde Park,” Williams said.