As soon as four oclock struck on Friday, July 19, Third Avenue was cleared of all parked cars and traffic, as shopkeepers got to work setting up their stations for the first of this years Summer Strolls.It was clear that the event had gained momentum when hundreds of Ridgeites came out to enjoy the mini-festival despite the sweltering heat. The strip ran from 80th to 90th Street, and although alfresco dining was the most apparent of the happenings, there were dozens of hidden gems along the avenuea valid portrayal of the corridor in general.Considering the heat, a lot of people showed up, and considering that it was Ramadan there were a lot of people. I can’t wait for the next one, said Ridgeite Kathy Khatari.Kaleidoscope hosted a highly contested hula-hoop tournament for only the most competitive tweens, while community activist Liz Amato organized a Stroll-wide scavenger hunt, requiring participants to answer questions by seeking out businesses they might not typically explore. It was really a family-friendly activity, and that’s exactly what we wanted to promote, said Amato, All ages participated and the hunt required participants to go into stores that they wouldn’t usually go into.Summer Stroll was not only a night of food and fun, but a night of art as well. Bookmark Shoppe accommodated local author Jim McAllen as he signed copies of his new book, Split Rock RoadNarrows Community Theater allowed the neighborhood to preview its upcoming production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as the performers danced and sang on 88th Street, their tie-dye shirts refusing to be ignored. Soloists from NCT’s Contemporary Musical Theater workshop transformed the sidewalk into Broadway Stage, astonishing the crowd with their contagious confidence and lively vibrato.It’s awesome that Bay Ridge hosts events like this to bring the community together and give everyone a chance to sample everything it has to offer, said soloist Alex Hajjar, who performed Out There, from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.Students from P.S. 229 also set up an old-fashioned lemonade stand alongside The Home Reporter, to raise money for Reaching Out Community Services Food Pantry. The crew, sporting a uniform of pastel yellow polos and sundresses were natural salespeople, using their charming demeanors to raise almost $500.
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