Noriega Merchants Association to host Block Party on Saturday
Noriega Street between 45th and 46th avenues will close to cars from noon to 5 p.m. for the first annual Noriega Street Block Party. The Noriega Merchants Association organized the party and hopes to make it an annual event.
As Dimitri Vardakastanis from Noriega Produce explained, “This party is really presented for everyone. It’ll be kid-friendly, but not overrun with kids. It’ll be adult-friendly, but not too rowdy.”
“We’ve really tried to make this a fun party with universal appeal.”
If you haven’t heard of the Noriega Merchants Association, the organization hosting the party, you aren’t alone. It’s a brand-new neighborhood organization, one that local business owners such as Vardakastanis have been anticipating for several years.
“The Noriega Merchants Association gives this group of local businesses more of a voice in a city with a lot of voices,” Vardakastanis said.
“You turn many voices into one, and there’s potential to get more done.”
For example, if there were a broken chunk of sidewalk in front of the Noriega Produce, Vardakastanis feels that the City would be quicker to react to an alert from an organization of businesses, rather than one person.
Another business owner enthusiastic about the creation of the association is Cindy Hayward-Baryza of The Pizza Place.
“I’ve lived and worked in the city for 20 years, and this is the only neighborhood where it really feels like an actual sense of community,” she said.
“The local businesses really support each other,” said Hayward-Baryza. “I think the association would be a good model for other neighborhoods to see how business can be done in the city.”
Hilary Passman of Devil’s Teeth Baking Company anticipates that the NMA can continue to change the perception of the Outer Sunset as a sleepy ghost town.
“People always say, ‘You own a business way out there? Do people even come by?’ I hope this association will help raise awareness in the city at large that this thriving hub exists.”
The association is still information, and membership isn’t determined yet. According to Passman, a majority of the businesses between 42nd and 47th avenues on Noriega have expressed interest.
In addition to Vardakastanis, Hayward-Baryza and Passman, the fourth core local business owner involved in the association is James Mitchell of Sunset Shapers.
“Here on Noriega Street, we are in the shadow of Judah and Taraval,” Mitchell said. “But there’s a really nice vibe out here that we want to share.”
Saturday’s block party seems like the perfect opportunity to sample that vibe.