The decorations are up, a winter chill is in the air, and the holiday season is upon us. Over on Fifth Avenue between 38th and 64th Streets, the Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) is excited and ready to support community celebrations.
Residents and shoppers can look forward to a busy lineup of activities scheduled to celebrate, starting with the return of Sidewalk Sales and the free Holiday Trolley along Fifth Avenue, and continuing with the annual tree lighting ceremony and singing schoolchildren.
“This time of year is really important for the business people in Sunset Park so we try and do as much as we can,” said Renee Giordano, executive director of the Sunset Park BID. “It’s a lot of fun.”
The fun starts on November 29, the day after Thanksgiving—known to shoppers as Black Friday, and to Brooklyn shoppers as “Brooklyn Friday”—with the arrival of a shiny red-and-wood old-timey Holiday Trolley to Fifth Avenue.
The free trolley will run from 1 to 5 p.m., starting in front of the McDonald’s at 52nd Street and then following the B70 bus stop route up to 38th Street before looping back around down to 64th Street. Santa Claus will often be aboard the trolley, as well, giving candy to kids, singing, and telling stories about the history of the BID and Fifth Avenue.
In addition, the trolley will be around on Sunday, December 1, and during the weekend before Christmas, from Saturday, December 21 through Monday, December 23.
Sidewalk Sales are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, November 29 and 30, Sunday, December 1, and Saturday through Tuesday, December 21-24. On these days, merchants along Fifth Avenue between 38th and 64th Streets will have food, clothing, toys and more out on the sidewalk in front of their businesses, some of which will also have coupons and bargains.
On Thursday, December 5 is the SPBID’s tree lighting ceremony in front of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at 60th Street. The 18-foot artificial tree will be lit at 6 p.m., but the entertainment begins at 3 p.m. with Photos with Santa for the kids, and then, from 4 to 6 p.m., musical performances, a magic show and more.
The hometown feel will permeate Sunset Park from Black Friday through Three Kings Day in January, with pre-recorded holiday music sung by local schoolchildren playing on speakers affixed to the lampposts along Fifth Avenue. Music will only play during the day from 1 to 5 or 6 p.m.
This year, there is also an idea contest for elementary students, in which their ideas about how to explain tips for pedestrian safety are evaluated, with the winner receiving an award at the tree lighting ceremony.
Throughout it all, Sunset Park security officers will patrol Fifth Avenue a few days a week to help police officers from the 72nd Precinct during the holiday shopping season.