Merchants Seek Pedestrian Mall For Bay Ridge
Eight-Block Stretch of
Third Avenue Affected
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
BAY RIDGE — A section of Third Avenue would have an art exhibition, strolling musicians and performances by acting troupes under a plan business leaders have presented to the city.
The Merchants of Third Avenue, an organization representing store owners on the avenue in Bay Ridge, have filed an application with the mayor’s office for a street activity permit to sponsor “Summer Stroll on Third,” an event on the avenue in which an eight-block stretch, from 81st Street to 89th Street would be closed to vehicular traffic on four Friday nights — two in July and two in August — this coming summer.
The dates the Merchants group is proposing are July 20 and 27, and Aug. 10 and 17. The “Summer Stroll on Third” event would run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on those nights.
The Traffic and Transportation Committee of Community Board 10 will hold a public hearing on the “Summer Stroll” proposal on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Shore Hill Community Room, 9000 Shore Road, at 7 p.m.
The hearing will give residents a chance to voice their opinions on the idea of closing a portion of Third Avenue to vehicular traffic, Board 10 leaders said.
Merchants of Third Avenue leaders expressed confidence that their proposal would win the city’s approval. “We look forward to offering our residents and shops an evening to showcase the best of our neighborhood; its shops, its restaurants, and its culture,” Bob Howe, president of the Merchants, said.
The “Summer Stroll on Third” event would be part of the Weekend Walks program run by the New York City Department of Transportation. The Weekend Walks program is popular in many parts of the city, including trendy Williamsburg, according to local officials.
The application the Merchants group filed with the mayor’s office described “Summer Stroll on Third” as “an evening event on Fridays to promote local businesses and cultural groups.”
Spots along the avenue would feature acoustic music, dance performances, art galleries, book singings by authors and sidewalk cafes featuring international cuisine, according to the Merchants.
Charles Otey, executive secretary of the Merchants, said that residents should not think of “Summer Stroll on Third” as a street festival. “It’s not going to be like the Third Avenue Festival, which we sponsor every year and is very successful.
This is going to be different. There won’t be any sausage stands, game booths or big concert stages with loud music,” Otey said.
“This is going to be an event to promote and highlight the arts community. There will be music, but no amplification,” he added.
The Merchants of Third Avenue organization sponsors the Third Avenue Festival each year in the fall. The festival is a 25-block-long street fair with concerts, flea markets, rides and games, and concert stages where musicians perform all day long.
The “Summer Stroll on Third” plan has won the support of Councilman Vincent Gentile and state Sen. Martin Golden, both of whom have written letters to the Merchants to endorse the plan.
“I see this program as a welcomed opportunity for local businesses to ‘show off’ what makes their avenue, Third Avenue, so unique — not only to the local community, but to all of Brooklyn — especially during the summer months when business is often slow,” Gentile wrote.
“The proposal calls for exactly what we need, increased consumer opportunities and attractions to promote businesses during the summer months,” Golden wrote.
Last year, a proposal to close a 10-block stretch of Third Avenue to vehicular traffic fell flat on its face. Hundreds of residents turned out at a Board 10 hearing to voice their objections to the idea. The plan was dropped.
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