Restaurant owner George Forgeois is hoping to build a Tribeca tradition from the ground up —literally — by covering several Downtown streets with sand for the Bastille Day festivities he’s planning for July 14.
Forgeois, 52, the owner of restaurant Cercle Rouge, will be trucking in the sand to build 18 pétanque courts on West Broadway between Walker and White Sts. for “Bastille Day Tribeca.” Pétanque, a French game similar to lawn bowling, has proven popular in Brooklyn, where Forgeois owns another restaurant and has made the sport a Bastille Day tradition. This year, Forgeois is bringing the game back, as well as food, drink, and live music to celebrate French independence.
“I decided this year to do it, because there’s nothing Downtown,” said Forgeois. “It’s like the Fourth of July [is] for American people. It’s an important date in France.”
Forgeois said he expects to draw a large crowd this year, and noted that the roster of 62 teams had filled up in only two days. Competitors from France, Britain, and other countries as well as local competitors will amount to an estimated 200 participants in the day’s tournament. Though all teams will be playing in elimination rounds during the early hours, empty courts will likely be available as more teams get eliminated, at which time locals and beginners will have a chance to try their hand at Pétanque. Forgeois added that traditional French food and drinks will be served outside during the day, and there will a foosball tournament and other activities for kids.
The West Broadway block between Walker and White Sts. will be closed from 10 a.m. until after 8 p.m. on July 14. Local businesses including Bubble Lounge and Capsouto Freres have partnered with Cercle Rouge for the Bastille Day celebrations, and will be present at the events.
— Jared T. Miller