While the weather on Sunday, June 3 may not have been ideal, it still did not stop thousands of people from enjoying the Fifth Avenue Festival in Bay Ridge. It had rained prior to the event’s start but it was mostly only cloudy skies that revelers had to contend with for the duration of the afternoon.
Sponsored by the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), the festival stretched from Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) to 85th Street like a giant block party with food, games, entertainment and special events taking place between noon and 6 p.m.
Crowds enjoyed music provided by a number of bands including Full Disclosure performing center stage at 77th Street, three live bands at Mussels and More at 80th Street and a belly dancer performing outside Le Sajj at 82nd Street.
There was ethnic food of every kind as vendors happily served everything from pizza, falafel and sausage sandwiches to a wide array of desserts including ice cream, cotton candy and endless varieties of cakes and cupcakes.
Large crowds gathered at 79th Street outside Skinflints restaurant to watch the Street 2 Street basketball players. Street 2 Street helps engage at-risk kids through sports, mentoring and personal development. The games were a popular draw as onlookers cheered and waved them on.
Bay Ridge Pizza at 7704 Fifth Avenue was the place to be as the eatery celebrated its 40th anniversary. Elected officials including U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, whose congressional table was situated in front of the pizzeria, State Sen. Marty Golden, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and City Councilmember Justin Brannan all stopped by to wish owners Tony and Gaspar Tumminello a happy 40th. They each presented the Tumminello family with certificates of merit for their years of serving the neighborhood.
The festival had many outdoor cafes, including one at Schnitzel Haus, a German eatery near 73rd Street where kielbasa sandwiches sold at a brisk pace and the band Lunatix performed.
The BID is a public-private partnership representing the interests of property owners, merchants and residents on Fifth Avenue between 65th and 85th streets, one of southwest Brooklyn’s premiere shopping strips.
The BID uses members’ money to plant trees, install benches, sweep away litter and generally beautify the avenue to attract customers so that storeowners can benefit and the local economy can improve. Like all BIDs in New York City, the Fifth Avenue group works in close consultation with the Department of Small Business Services.
“Neither rain nor sleet nor hail will keep the visitors from the Fifth Avenue Festival,” said Bay Ridge AARP President Peter Killen. “Even though it was cloudy and chilly, it was a great festival. The vendors had a good time and the visitors had a wonderful time.”