By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A series of events organized by a leading business group to lure shoppers to one of Bay Ridge’s premiere shopping strips is returning for another go-round this summer.
Summer Stroll on 3rd promises to turn Third Avenue into a pedestrian plaza filled with sidewalk cafes and strolling musicians.
Starting on Friday, July 15, the Merchants of Third Avenue, an organization representing more than 250 store owners on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, is presenting the Fifth Annual Summer Stroll on 3rd.
There will be a series of four Summer Stroll on 3rd events this year. The Merchants group, which is headed by President Robert Howe, has been hosting Summer Stroll since 2012.
On Friday, an 11-block stretch of Third Avenue from Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) to 80th Street will be closed to vehicular traffic so that pedestrians can stroll along the avenue to window shop, stop to enjoy dinner at a sidewalk café, listen to musicians playing their favorite songs or catch a performance by a dance troupe.
Summer Stroll on 3rd will begin at 5 p.m. and the fun will last until 10:30 p.m.
Last year’s Summer Stroll on 3rd events brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to Bay Ridge, according to the Merchants of Third Avenue.
Charles Otey, executive secretary of the Merchants, said the Bay Ridge event has gained a boroughwide reputation. “One of the points we want to make this year is to challenge the sponsors of other Summer Strolls to come to ours and see exactly how it is supposed to be done,” he told the Brooklyn Eagle.
Otey pointed out that Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, once asked the Merchants group to speak to other organizations around the borough to offer advice on how to run a successful summer stroll.
On Friday, July 22, the event will take place between 80th and 90th streets. On Friday, Aug. 5, the Summer Stroll moves back to the area located between Bay Ridge Avenue and 80th Street. The final Summer Stroll for 2016 will be on Friday, Aug. 12, from 80th Street to 90th Street.
Ilene Sacco, a lawyer and the former president of the 68th Precinct Community Council, is coordinating Summer Stroll on 3rd for the Merchants of Third Avenue. State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-parts of Bensonhurst) and Community Board 10 are providing logistical support.
“It brings life to a community,” Golden said of Summer Stroll. “It gives the store owners a chance to display their wares and show what they do.”
Summer Stroll is much different than a street fair, according to Golden, who said that while it’s lively, it doesn’t have the loud boisterousness of a festival. “It’s just the businesses; no sausage stands,” he told the Eagle.
There will be plenty of music. “We have a lot of great talent in this community,” Golden said.
The Bay Ridge event operates under the auspices of the New York City Department of Transportation and is part of city’s Weekend Walks program, a series of events taking place in all five boroughs in which cars and trucks are banned from streets for a day so that the streets can be turned over to civic organizations and business groups to host sports and recreational activities.
For a listing of Weekend Walks around the city, visit www.nyc.gov/weekendwalks.