Third Avenue Merchants Give Back at Annual Holiday Get-Together

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, indeed.

The Merchants of Third Avenue celebrated as such on Mon., Dec. 3 at the group’s annual party, held this year at Tanoreen, 7523 Third Avenue.

The yearly shindig doubles as a holiday gift drive. This year, admission to the party was one or more new “unwrapped” toys or gift cards for the Olivia Boccuzzi Foundation.

The local toy collection – now in its seventh year – was founded by Dyker Heights parents Enza and Frank Boccuzzi in November, 2012, just three months after their three-year-old daughter Olivia lost an 11-month battle with a PNET brainstem tumor.

All toys are donated to children up to 18 years old at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and other New York and Brooklyn hospitals, just in time for the holidays.

“We had a fabulous time,” Merchants of Third Avenue President Bob Howe said of the soiree. “The theme of the night was benefitting the Olivia Boccuzzi Foundation and once again reminding people that it’s not all about the glitz and glitter of the holiday – it’s about doing something good for a really needy cause.”

The Olivia Boccuzzi Foundation, Howe said, was the perfect organization to spotlight.

“The Olivia Boccuzzi Foundation supports kids with pediatric cancer and it really is so deserving of our recognition, and community-wide recognition,” he said.

Also noteworthy, Howe said, were the evening’s entertainers.

“Tanoreen was a spectacular host,” he told this paper. “Jumana [Bishara] and her staff really put themselves out there to make it a memorable evening.”

Also on hand, Howe said, were the “new crew of legislators.” Among them, state Sen-elect Andrew Gounardes, Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus and Councilmember Justin Brannan.

“I think it was a good community gathering focused on the fact that we all made it another year on Third Avenue as merchants – which is a tough thing to do,” Howe said. “And on top of that, we get to recognize an organization that is doing something special and that is doing so quietly.

“It’s a reaffirmation of all things that are good in Bay Ridge,” he went on, “and there’s never anything wrong with that.”

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