After learning there wasn’t enough money to pay for Christmas lights and signage along Third Avenue, a local resident started a fundraiser on Facebook.
Bianca Sunshine, creator and administrator of the Facebook page South Brooklyn Food & Drink, hopes to raise $8,000 of the $16,000 needed to pay for the lights in full. So far, the page has raised more than $7,000.
“Growing up in Bay Ridge, one such [tradition] has always been our holiday lights on every street all down our important avenues and thoroughfares,” Sunshine said. “Those charming, gently twinkling lights would herald in the forthcoming holidays and do so much to get our community in a jovial, generous spirit.”
Councilmember Justin Brannan was able to secure some funding for the lights, and the Third Avenue Merchants Association also raised and donated money.
“In these uncertain times, local traditions like the holiday lights along Third Avenue provide comfort and much-needed joy,” Brannan said. “Bay Ridge is a small town in a big city, and I think now more than ever, people want to feel that sense of community.”
“The holiday lights are a tradition going back decades and they are a signal to the community that the holiday season is upon us,” said Charles Otey, secretary of the Merchants of Third Avenue. “It’s important to realize that these lights are almost entirely paid for by the local merchants.
“In financially stressed times like this there may not be the same extent of coverage, but there’ll be enough festive lighting out there to launch the season. Keep in mind, some of the business owners who contribute to this important program have been virtually closed for most of this year.”
“Bay Ridge needs lights on every street, in gorgeous abundance, reminding one and all that we are Brooklyn,” Sunshine added. “Our brick and mortar shops need this initiative to not only survive but thrive.”