As the holiday season is upon us, the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) has brought back its annual Fifth Annual Free Trolley, with residents and shoppers treated to a weekend of festive trolley rides and holiday activities from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, November 29.
“It went really well. People love it and are always looking for it,” said Executive Director of the Sunset Park BID Renee Giordano. “They’re also always shocked that they don’t have to pay and that businesses would do this without charging them.”
Families enjoyed shopping and the opportunity to ride the trolley, but it was the youngsters who really enjoyed the holiday cheer. “Kids love it. They get pictures taken with Santa,” Giordano said, adding that goodies were also given away. “Everyone gets candy canes, bags and info on future events, including our tree lighting. People really liked it.”
The tradition has only grown since its inception. “The community loves the idea. Fifth Avenue used to have trolleys and that’s why it’s appropriate. I know it’s not a real trolley, but it’s like bringing back the old times in nicer way,” Giordano said. “It got so crowded at one point that it was standing room only.”
Shoppers weren’t the only ones enjoying the weekend. Local business also joined in on the fun, especially during Small Business Saturday. “We had signs up promoting small businesses. It helped because people see that these local businesses are giving back to the community,” Giordano said. “They love it too. They come out with the staff and take pictures. There are enough customers who realize this is something people doing for them.”
Johnny’s Pizzeria also gave a demonstration on how to toss dough. Also new this year was the trolley making stops at the rock in Greenwood Cemetery where guides explain its historical background and what it means to the community.
They were fan favorites throughout the weekend, as was the early visit from St. Nick. “We had Santa make an appearance and take photos,” Giordano said. In front of the BID office on Friday, kids also participated in sand art. They received free heart necklaces and signs. Mr. and Mrs. Claus were also available for photo ops.
The BID will host another trolley event as Christmas nears, from Saturday, December 19 through Monday, December 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. The route starts at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue.
For more information, visit www.sunsetparkbid.org.