Kevin Ellis, member of the steering committee for Langdon Street Alive, informed The Bridge June 28 by phone and in a press release that on Friday, July 1, the organization will host a “Langdon Street Ribbon Cutting and Chair Bombing.” A “chair bombing”, according to Ellis, is when people bring their chairs and “take over the space.” Ellis described himself as a radical urbanist.
Ellis said he has not discussed shutting down the street with city officials, but that he is encouraging people to bring chairs to sit on the sidewalk, and “there just might be some spilling into the street.” This action would slow down cars and is to “demonstrate that streets are for people and not for the warehousing of automobiles.”
Ellis said he is working closely with business owners on Langdon Street to organize the event. However, not every single business owner/manager had heard of it.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” said Jeff Thomson, owner of the Get Up Vintage at 27 Langdon Street. However, he said he is in support of public art in general, so he is in support of it. “Hopefully they are not blocking our customers,” Thomson added. “I can’t wait to see what happens.”
Another business owner/manager, who asked that his or her name not appear in The Bridge, also said he or she had not been informed of the chair bombing. This person opposed the idea since it is to occur right after work, when people let out for the weekend.
The events scheduled on July 1 are as follows: 4:30 p.m., welcome remarks by Mayor John Hollar and Ward Joyce. 4:45 p.m., Christening of the project. 5 p.m. barbecue/busking/chair bombing. Where: The “New Entryway to Langdon Street.” The press release asks people to bring their own dish to grill at the new seating area next to Onion River Sports, located at 20 Langdon Street. “Buskers” will play music and chalk art is encouraged.
Apparently not everyone who works at Onion River Sports — the business that owns the property where the barbecuing will occur — knew about the “chair bombing,” either.
“I don’t even know what that (chair bombing) is,” said Talia Brooks, an employee of Onion River Sports.
“We knew about the ribbon cutting and the barbecue…I wasn’t clear on the chair bombing portion of things,” Brooks said, offering to look into it and call back.
“This is what I’m told is ‘chair bombing:’ ‘Chair bombing is just “bring your lawn chair so you sit and eat a burger. No street shut down. Just folks using public spaces. “- Mayor John Hollar