The avenue was packed on Friday night, July 12 as revelers took to the streets to enjoy the first night of this year’s annual Summer Stroll series. It was a sea of people walking along Third Avenue in Bay Ridge between 80th and 90th streets with an array of food, music, entertainment and activities for kids of all ages.
Restaurants along the strip had bands playing and outdoor seating so strollers could stop and take in the sights. Outside Chadwick’s Restaurant at 88th Street, a band played while people danced in the street.
Bay Ridge’s Summer Stroll is part of DOT’s Weekend Walks program, which was created to allow communities to use streets as public spaces. The event was presented by the Merchants of Third Avenue along with state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and City Councilmember Justin Brannan.
Among the highlights of the stroll was the BookMark Shoppe at 84th Street where five authors — including Jenna Gavigan, who was signing copies of her new children’s book “LuLu the Broadway Mouse” and Rosella Rago autographing her popular cookbook series “Cooking with Nonna” — greeted strollers as they passed by.
Among the elected officials and community leaders walking along the avenue were Brannan; Rep. Max Rose; Assemblymember Mathlyde Frontus; former Councilmember Vincent Gentile; Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann; Robert Howe, president of the Merchants of Third Avenue; Brian Chin, VP and branch manager at Northfield Bank; Walter Ochoa, president and owner of Right at Home; Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress; and Summer Stroll organizer Ilene Sacco.
“Our events have become some of the biggest in New York City, and models for many other groups,” Sacco told this paper. “The Summer Strolls truly exemplify how well different parts of our community work together. There are so many moving parts to get through to make the events happen and none of it would be possible without everyone working together.”
Sacco praised the Merchants of Third Avenue and Howe for his leadership, the elected officials and their staffs who support and work on the events, the community board which helps secure permit approvals, the 68th Precinct for helping keep the strolls safe and orderly, the volunteers, the various agencies and all the sponsors who come out and participate.
“Putting the Summer Strolls together is no easy task, but we all work together because we love our community and when we see an event such as the one that was just held last Friday where thousands of people were out celebrating our wonderful community, it makes it all worthwhile,” added Sacco.
Chuck Otey, one of the founders of the Summer Stroll and executive secretary of the Merchants of Bay Ridge, said that the stroll was the perfect event for parents looking for something to do with their kids.
“It’s a wonderful way for them to spend some quality time together on a Friday evening,” said Otey. “It’s also a chance for them to get out and stroll down the avenue with their kids and find some great food in the fine restaurants along Third Avenue. Plus there’s face painting, games and clowns for the kids to enjoy,” added Otey.
The next stroll will take place on Friday, July 19 and will run from 68th Street to 80th Street.
Freshman lawmaker Frontus was thrilled to be participating in the Summer Stroll. “It was heartening to see so many families out walking the bustling streets, and taking advantage of everything that Bay Ridge has to offer,” Frontus told this paper.
“I was happy to speak with so many constituents and hear what’s on their minds. This event showcases why there’s no place like Bay Ridge,” she added.