SUNSET PARK — A Sunset Park Christmas tradition continues, as the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) held its annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony on the day after Thanksgiving.
As always, local families showed up on Friday, Nov. 30 outside Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 545 60th St., for goodies, entertainment, photos with an elf and, of course, the dramatic illumination of the towering tree.
“The front of OLPH is the closest thing that strip of Sunset Park’s Fifth Avenue has to a public square other than the park itself so it’s really important to have that place to begin with,” noted Executive Director of the BID David Estrada, noting that the church partners with the BID to host the “shared event.
“Father [James] Gilmour said some beautiful words about the season of lights and appreciating having these lights during the darkest times of the year,” he added.
The entertainment included clown Payaso Pechuguin and band Hasta la Zeta, and the BID’s famous antique trolleys that were on the avenue the next day, throughout Small Business Saturday, and the BID gave away about 150 gift bags for children. The trolleys help the youngsters brave the cold, Estrada said.
“There used to be a Santa that sat outside but it’s just so cold for the little kids so now we have the antique trolley that runs in the afternoon for shopping and pauses in front of OLPH and becomes home base,” Estrada said.
The well-attended event means a lot for both Sunset Park and the BID, he added.
“I’m just happy to carry on a Sunset Park tradition like the lighting of the holiday lights on the avenue, followed by the tree lighting on Black Friday, which is trying to get people shopping small on Fifth Avenue. It all seems to line up beautifully,” he said.
He also thanked event producer Cathy Williams who was on the trolley all afternoon, handing out bags.
The trolleys will run again along Fifth Avenue on Saturday, Dec. 14, Sunday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 21.