The fourth and final installment of this season’s Summer Stroll on Third went off without a hitch, despite one passing rainstorm, on Friday, August 11.
The four-part event – a summer staple in Bay Ridge – once again drew thousands to the nabe’s Third Avenue shopping strip, its last night a shining example of its importance to the ‘hood.
“But for the two minutes of rain at 8:30, I think it was a very huge success,” said Merchants of Third Avenue President Bob Howe. “We’re finding that, more and more, Bay Ridge people are looking forward to the Stroll – they want to make sure that they’re there for it.”
The Stroll – an event which, since its inception in 2012 has piggybacked off of both Bay Ridge’s successful Third Avenue Festival and the Department of Transportation’s Summer Streets project – is an annual celebration of culture, small business and community hosted by the Merchants.
“It’s really been institutionalized,” said Howe. “Nowadays at the Stroll, you bump into people on the avenue who either have not gone away that Friday night so to not miss it, or who have come in from somewhere else just to go to the Stroll.”
More this year than ever, Howe said, he received personal apologies for missing an evening.
“It’s something that’s so important to so many people,” he said. “People have started apologizing to me for not being able to make it.”
Friday’s stroll saw the closure of Third Avenue between 68th and 80th Streets to make room for outdoor dining, games, live music and more.
“It fosters a community not only between other vendors but neighbors as well,” said local artist Cait McCarthy, who, at more than one Stroll this season, had her work for sale. “It creates visibility within the neighborhood and shows that artists are here and show up for the neighborhood – and that we care about its growth.”
McCarthy was accompanied at the August 11 iteration by her family’s dog, Mickey, who, before the rain came, served as yet another smiling face on the strip.
Three other Summer Strolls were held this season – two in July and another on Friday, August 11 – the latter (and one prior) encompassing Third Avenue from 80th Street to 90th Street. All four Strolls took place, rain or shine, from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
With another set of successful Strolls in the history books, Howe said, he and the Merchants are already setting their sights to next summer.
“We’re going to start planning for next year in September,” he told this paper. “We’re going to try to make it more interesting, more inviting and really change it up. We’re trying for bigger and better.”