Third Avenue salutes its Pioneers

In a very literal sense, dogged persistence was one of the attributes honored as businesspeople who work along Third Avenue in Bay Ridge gathered together for the 20th time to celebrate their Pioneers.

The Merchants of Third Avenue (MTA) sponsored the event, held at Café Remy, 7110 Third Avenue, at which 10 honorees – including businesspeople, local activists and the strip’s canine mascot – were feted and toasted with champagne.

Yes, Seamus Labradoodle – who greets customers at Third Avenue pet supply store, Paws Truly, was among the Pioneers (though his humans, Deirdre and Michael Butler, accepted his award – an official Third Avenue dog bowl — in Seamus’ absence). Though he is only six years old in human years, Seamus hit the 10-year minimum involvement along Third Avenue required for Pioneers by counting in dog years, explained MTA President Bob Howe.

Also honored as Pioneers were Charles Elias, whose eponymous salon is located on Third Avenue; contractor Ralph Succar, the owner of Empire State development LLC; Courtney Sessa Flynn, who is working alongside dad Jay Sessa at McLaughlin & Sons Funeral Home; and Danielle Jabour-Saviolakis, who works alongside dad Wade Jabour at the real estate firm he founded and that bears the family name.

There were also five Civic Service Pioneers: Myles Davis, the senior vice president for corporate services at Lutheran Medical Center; Douglas Jablon, special assistant to the president and senior vice president for patient relations and volunteer services at Maimonides Medical Center: longtime activist Larry Morrish whose contributions to the neighborhood include being a founding member of BRAVO; Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura; and Karen Tadross, a producer/director for Ridge Chorale/Jeff Samaha Theater Productions and a co-founder of Bay Ridge Cares.

“You may call them Pioneers. I call them the bedrock of Bay Ridge,” remarked Councilmember Vincent Gentile, one of the elected officials – along with State Senator Marty Golden, Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny and D.A. Charles Hynes — who stopped by to congratulate the honorees and the organization, which, he said, “Sets the standard for small business organizations.

Scissura agreed. “There are lots of merchant groups across Brooklyn, lots of BIDs, but you guys wrote the book on it,” he told the assembled crowd. “I hope you go out and teach the rest of Brooklyn what makes it work here.”

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