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ebrooklyn media/file photos
ebrooklyn media/file photos
Scenes from past Strolls.

If you take a stroll on Bay Ridge’s Third Avenue on the night of July 13, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation in Venice walking through the Piazza San Marco.

That’s what Summer Stroll on 3rd does to people.

Friday, July 13, will mark the first of four Summer Stroll on 3rd events planned for the summer of 2018 by the Merchants of Third Avenue, the business group that sponsors the outdoor extravaganza.

The normally bustling Third Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic between 68th Street and 80th Street from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and a pedestrian plaza will be created to give people a chance to stroll to their heart’s content.

Here’s a little taste of what’s in store: the 12-block section of the avenue will be lined with sidewalk cafes that will stretch out into the street. It will be a perfect time to enjoy a dish of pasta and people-watch. There will be live performances from opera singers, folk artists, and rock and rollers at different points along the avenue. Dance performances, too. Sketch artists will be setting up their easels and photographers will be asking you to pose for pictures.

“This is going to be our biggest and best Summer Stroll yet,” Merchants President Bob Howe told this newspaper. “People expect us to do a great job and we will not disappoint them.”

This year marks the Seventh Annual Summer Stroll on 3rd. The event began in 2012 as a way for the Merchants group to draw visitors and help store owners on the avenue avoid a summer swoon.

The Merchants group represents 250 store owners on the avenue between 67th and 94th streets.

Summer Stroll is presented under the auspices of the New York City Department of Transportation as part of DOT’s Weekend Walks program. Under Weekend Walks, commercial streets around the city are closed to vehicles for a day or an evening so that local civic and business groups can sponsor sporting events, performances and other happenings.

The next Summer Stroll, set for July 20, will take place a little further south, between 80th and 90th streets.

Summer Stroll returns to 68-80 streets on Friday, Aug. 3. The final event, to take place on Friday, Aug. 10, will be between 80-90 streets.

The Merchants have become masters of the Weekend Walks concept, according to Charles Otey, the group’s executive secretary. “We are the prototype Summer Stroll for the rest of the city. Other neighborhoods study what we’re doing,” he said.

State Sen. Martin Golden (R-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), who works with the Merchants and with DOT on the planning of the event, said he is looking forward it.

“The Summer Strolls are great community events which highlights our restaurants and shops, boosts our local economy and offers a chance for some good old-fashioned summer fun,” he told this newspaper.

Councilmember Justin Brannan (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-parts of Bensonhurst) also works with the Merchants and with the city to ensure a smooth Summer Stroll.

“Having been part of the original gang that started Summer Stroll way back when, I am so excited it’s that time of year again when everyone comes out to enjoy Third Avenue with their neighbors. Events like this are exactly what make this neighborhood truly feel like a small town in the big city,” Brannan said.

For a complete listing of Weekend Walks taking place around the city, visit: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/weekendwalks/html/home/home.shtml

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