Bay Ridge residents will come together this weekend to mark the 50th anniversary of the Ragamuffin Parade with an extra special street renaming.
On Saturday, September 17, the corner of 74th Street and Third Avenue will officially be co-named in honor of the Bay Ridge institution, which celebrates 50 years this fall.
“I am pleased to have introduced the legislation in the City Council to co-name this street and have this bill signed into law by the mayor for a true Bay Ridge institution,” said Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who will be joined at 11 a.m. that day by fellow elected officials and the Ragamuffin Day Parade Committee, to welcome the brand new “Ragamuffin Way.”
The first Ragamuffin Parade technically took place in October of 1966, when Father James McKenna of Our Lady of Angels and several parishioners involved in the church’s youth activities decided to hold a youth event reserved for the children of the parish. According to Ted General, public relations director of the Ragamuffin Parade Committee, the parishioners put together a mini-parade of sorts beginning at 73rd Street and Fourth Avenue and gave out prizes to the children, who were dressed in their parents’ over-sized clothing.
“Evidently, the parade was popular and they had a subsequent meeting, deciding to do a community-wide parade complete with a grand marshal, bands, etc.,” said General. “In the first parade they held in 1967, they got synagogues, businesses and merchants involved.”
In the years since, the popular Ridge parade has continued to soar.
Beyond the street co-naming, the neighborhood staple’s golden anniversary will also be commemorated at a special gala dinner at the Bay Ridge Manor, to be held on Saturday, September 24 in place of the tradition’s usual pre-parade fundraising luncheon.