By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bay Ridge shopkeepers hoping to drum up business in the sleepy summertime will stage a second “Summer Stroll on 3rd" this Friday night.
Third Avenue between 82nd and 89th streets will become a pedestrian plaza, with performances by a jazz band, bluegrass band, opera company, dance troupe, and more along the route. Outdoor cafes will be set up in front of restaurants.
“We want people to feel like they can come down to Third Avenue, take a leisurely stroll, relax, and enjoy life,” said Bina Valenzano, who is organizing the event for the Merchants of Third Avenue.
Valenzano, owner of The BookMark Shoppe at 8415 Third Ave., said her block will have an Alice in Wonderland theme to attract parents and children.
The Bay Ridge end of Third Avenue is a busy commercial strip containing more than 250 stores between 68th Street and Marine Avenue, according to business leaders.
But in the summertime, business is slow, merchants concede.
The summertime event is markedly different from the Third Avenue Festival, a street fair held in the fall featuring sausage stands and carnival rides.
“We’re not having any sausage stands. And there won’t be any loud rock ‘n’ roll bands,” Valenzano said. “Our goal is to give the avenue a special ambience.”
“Summer Stroll on 3rd” is co-sponsored by the Merchants of Third Avenue, state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) and Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge) and is presented under the auspices of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) as part of the agency’s “Weekend Walks” program.
“This summer DOT is partnering with local community groups and merchants to offer the fifth ‘Weekend Walks’ to enhance the public realm in commercial districts citywide. There are 19 ‘Weekend Walks’ sites in all five boroughs from May through October in 2012,” according to a statement the DOT’s website.
“Each event is organized and hosted by a local partner, and will feature a number of activities including music, arts and crafts, classes, and youth programming. ‘Weekend Walks’ highlight local cultural institutions, nonprofits, and economic resources. The events promote healthy, safe recreation as well as local businesses, and create high-quality public space where community members can come together.”