Sidewalk Socialism

Photo: Jackie Ladner/New York Magazine

Day-care owner Stephanie Silhavy set out to rid her home of clutter and wound up captaining June 12’s Red Hook Sidewalk Sale alongside 70-plus Brooklyn comrades. Here’s how she pulled off the communal effort.

What made you take on such a huge project?
I wanted to have a giant stoop sale on my sidewalk, but I realized I needed to generate some foot traffic.

How did you get so many neighbors onboard?
I sent out an e-mail to ten people, everyone forwarded it on, and it kept snowballing.

Did you do any promoting?
A woman in my building agreed to design some posters for free. We asked everyone who was participating to pitch in and raised enough money to print 200 of them. We put five up in Red Hook, and the rest went up in store windows throughout Brooklyn.

How was the turnout?
I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people on Van Brunt Street.

What made it different from a typical street fair?
It wasn’t this bombardment of sausage trucks and inflatable bouncy houses. This was just people hanging out, drinking coffee, and having fun.

Make any money?
One family made $800. We had on-duty cops pulling over and shopping. I sold a cooler to a paramedic for a buck.

Will you do it again next year?
We’re planning on the second Saturday in June.

Sidewalk Socialism