Get your walking shoes out for Third Avenue’s Summer Stroll

Plans are now being finalized for the long-awaited Summer Stroll, which will be held on Third Avenue between 82nd and 89th Streets on four Friday evenings this summer.

On those evenings – July 20 and 27 and August 10 and 17, from 6 to 10:30 p.m. – the strip will be transformed into a pedestrian promenade, with local stores and restaurants as well as Ridge-based arts groups setting up outside.

With several evenings of auditions already completed, those who venture along the Summer Stroll portion of Third Avenue can look forward to lots of entertainment, including some sponsored by the Bay Ridge Arts and Culture Alliance (BRACA), which will have a stage along the strip. According to organizers, confirmed performers include opera singer Daniel Cardona, one of the founders of the Martha Cardona Theater Company.

Other confirmed attendees include the FDNY, which will bring its smoke house; the NYPD, which will offer child fingerprinting; the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, which will set up one of its Water on the Go portable fountains; and the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Different blocks will have different themes. The block between 87th and 88th Streets, for instance, will be a kid-themed block with giant board games, among other things. The block between 84th and 85th Streets will give attendees an opportunity to venture through the looking-glass, with an Alice in Wonderland theme.

There will be a “mix of everything,” said one of the organizers, who promised “stuff for people of all ages.”

“Think Piazza San Marco… in Brooklyn,” enthused City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who worked together with State Senator Marty Golden to shepherd the idea from concept to reality.

Attendees will get maps on the evenings that the Summer Stroll is taking place, pinpointing where different events will be occurring, said Bina Valenzano, who is organizing the event for the Merchants of Third Avenue (MTA).

Supporters expect the Summer Stroll to be a huge success. “I think once it’s done, people will see it’s a good idea, not only for small businesses but for the residential community as well,” Golden told MTA members, gathered at The Green Spa on June 25 for their monthly meeting.

In addition, Golden stressed, the event will create “An opportunity for people to come into the community and see what Fifth, Fourth, Third Avenue are all about and get involved.”

While it’s the first time such a project has been planned for Bay Ridge, the “Summer Stroll on 3rd” is similar to existing “Summer Streets” and “Weekend Walks” programs in Manhattan and northern Brooklyn neighborhoods.

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