The 2015 Summer Stroll on Third will feature local businesses, costumed antics, and a new center stage on which local artists can perform for two Fridays in July and two Fridays in August.
The fourth annual Summer Stroll on Third, which closes parts of Third Avenue in Bay Ridge so locals can saunter around and see what festivities the neighborhood has to offer, will bring back some of its most popular attractions—live music, costumed characters that will walk around to entertain people, and scavenger hunts—as well as a new kick, a center stage.
“We’re going to have a summer stage for local performers,” said Robert Howe, the president of the Merchants of Third Avenue, which helps host the strolls. “Various theatre performers can utilize the stage. Restaurants will [also] be able to put their tables out, onto the sidewalk, and customers will be able to dine al fresco.”
This year’s first two strolls, which will take place on July 17 and the following Friday, July 24, will be from 80th to 90th Street, while the final two strolls (August 7 and 14) will be from 69th to 80th Street.
The city will begin to close streets around 5 p.m. each Friday so merchants, artists and the like can set up. There is no timetable for events, except for the stage performers, so people can amble through at any time.
“For some reason, people love walking in the street. It’s a very simple thing that people love to do,” Howe said. “I guess for some people it may remind them of a time 20 or 30 years ago when it was a little quieter, easier going, quaint, without all the cars and congestion.”
Around 2,000 people attended previous strolls on each night, which are free to attend. But they do cost money to put on. According to Charles Otey, the executive secretary of the organization, this year’s strolls will cost between $20,000 and $25,000.
The city covers some of those costs, along with business sponsorships, Otey and Howe said. The Merchants of Third Avenue will pay for any leftover expenditures from part of its budget that is earmarked for the strolls; membership fees fund the budget.
According to Howe and Otey, State Senator Marty Golden and Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who secure funding that helps finance the strolls, are among those who give input as to the makeup of the events.
“We have a committee of merchants, residents, as well as Senator Golden’s and Councilman Gentile’s offices, that make suggestions about enhancing the Summer Stroll,” Howe said. “I think everybody’s opinion was that everything we did last year was a success, and just keep on doing it and adding on. Last year, whatever performers we had performed in front of restaurants that sponsored. This year we’ll also have a stage for those who are unable to get a venue to perform.”
Some of the attractions at last year’s strolls included music outside local restaurants The Kettle Black, Casa Calamari and Cebu, a Narrows Community Theater preview of an upcoming play, and dancers.
The Merchants of Third Avenue started the stroll and is working with the New York City Department of Transportation, the NYPD, the Mayor’s Fund and other city agencies to present this year’s summer rendition.
The Home Reporter is one of the sponsors of Summer Stroll.
BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/file photos