Venue: Franklin Park, Crown Heights
Theme: Depends on the night…really everything
The sound: Hip hop (often of the 90s variety)
A place to get down? Hellz yes
Extras: Good ol’ adult dance party
Franklin Park is a Crown Heights party and a secret that until recently it seems that everyone knew about but me–and I live in Crown Heights. If by chance you’re in the dark (as I stupidly was), let me break it down. The bar opened five years ago and now hosts a popular monthly reading series, trivia nights, open mics and, yes, DJ’ed Fridays and Saturdays. Friday night DJs are on a trial run, but Saturdays belong to DJ PQ. And DJ PQ throws it down.
When I got there last Saturday at around 11pm, Franklin Park was already pretty full. The bar’s entrance is a long patio, where people eat French fries and hot dogs on aqua-green picnic tables or stand around drinking beer. Past the main bar (which we’ll get to), in the far back is another bar, dimly lit with sports-y collages hung up on walls and where people were leisurely hanging. There is also a game room with skee ball, an indoor basketball hoop and Big Buck Hunter. Past the game room and through a narrow hallway, Franklin Park leads to a Franklin Ave. diner called Dutch Boy Burger, which serves burgers and fries and root beer floats among other standard diner treats, to help feed those unstoppable post-bar-party munchies.
The real attraction on this Saturday night was the main bar, strictly a dance floor. A very packed dance floor. DJ PQ was centered at left with the long wall of family photos, spinning hip-hop hits of the 90s (when I got there Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”) and bouncing along to the beat of the sound. TLC’s “Creep” made an appearance, along with Aaliyah’s “Try Again,” the Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly,” Prince’s “When Doves Cry” and Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes the Hotstepper.” High and happy dancing people got down on the floor and spilled into booths, a solid mix of yuppies, yamakas and gorgeous black dudes. There was grinding and kissing and rapping along (the crowd cheered for both “Crazy in Love” and “I Want You Back”). In short, this Saturday night was a lighthearted, boozy adult dance party.
The DJ was truly fantastic, scratching us into one hit after another, and the entire dance floor was ready to receive whatever he deemed was the song of the moment. I wish I could aptly describe how psyched I am about Saturdays at Franklin Park. I don’t know what to say…I just didn’t want to leave.