A little drizzle can’t stop Saint Nick.
Ridgeites gathered on Tuesday, December 2 – despite the rainy weather – to watch as the Owl’s Head Park Horticultural Group of the Shore Road Park Conservancy flipped the switch and lit one of the park’s tallest – and most festive – pines.
“We’re going on with it come hell or high water,” organizer and area manager of the group David Matthews told this paper an hour before the annual event which had a scheduled rain date for December 3 but, to his surprise, the water was quite low – merely a slight mist. “This is truly the most wonderful time of the year for us.”
In line with tradition, entertainment was provided by The Guild for Exceptional Children’s chorus who took the stage with such hits as “Jingle Bells,” “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Feliz Navidad” and even “It’s a Small World After-all.”
“At least in New York City we’re not banning reindeer,” joked Councilmember Vincent Gentile – a reference to the city’s proposed horse carriage ban — before applauding the hard work of Matthews, his group and, as always, the Guild. “This is always a great night here in Bay Ridge.”
State Senator Marty Golden agreed, also asking that the crowd keep Javier Acevedo, president and founder of the Horticultural Group, and Maureen Stramka, a major player in the nabe’s annual tree lightings, both of whom died this year, in their thoughts and prayers.
“May we continue to celebrate the great work that they did for our community,” he said. “This is what this neighborhood is all about, coming out and bringing people together in good spirit.”
And so, the countdown began and the tree was lit, but not before Matthews debuted Owl’s Head Park’s newest addition, a brand new mascot, a blue owl.
The night was capped with a very special visit from the big guy himself as Saint Nick ditched his sleigh for a seat in one of the 68th Precinct’s squad cars.