Bensonhurst

Bensonhurst looks to hold Weekend Walks this July

FIAO applies for city permit

March 27, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bay Ridge’s Third Avenue has been hosting Weekend Walks events, called Summer Stroll on 3rd, each summer since 2012. Now, the excitement is spreading to Bensonhurst. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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A major Bensonhurst shopping strip will turn into an outdoor plaza – where vehicular traffic will be banned and foot traffic will be welcomed – for two days in July if an application filed with the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) by a community service organization is approved.

The Federation of Italian American Organizations (FIAO) of Brooklyn has applied for a permit to host two Weekend Walks events on 18th Avenue in July, according to Community Board 11 (Bensonhurst-Bath Beach) officials who were informed of the filing.

“It’s a proposal at this point. The Federation is waiting to hear from DOT,” Marnee Elias-Pavia, district manager of Community Board 11, told the Brooklyn Eagle.

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Weekend Walks is a citywide program operating under DOT’s jurisdiction that is designed to open up the streets to pedestrians and encourage New Yorkers to walk. There are Weekend Walks events all over the city during the summer. Many of them take place on commercial strips and feature outdoor dining, live music, and games for kids.

Under the FIAO proposal, 18th Avenue will be the setting of two Weekend Walks events, one on Sunday, July 19 and the other on Saturday, July 25. The FIAO is seeking approval to close 18th Avenue to vehicular traffic to create a pedestrian plaza on both of those dates. The avenue would be closed to traffic from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on both dates.

On July 19, the pedestrian mall would start at 63rd Street and end at 74th Street. On July 25, the avenue would be closed to traffic from Bay Ridge Parkway (75th Street) to 85th Street.

“I think it’s a great idea. It allows the merchants on 18th Avenue the opportunity to showcase what they have,” Elias-Pavia said.

Representatives of the FIAO did not return phone calls.

Headquartered at 7403 18th Ave., the FIAO is a non-profit organization that provides services to immigrants, social service referrals, translation services, after-school programs and other forms of assistance. The FIAO is currently in the process of constructing a community center, called Il Centro, at 8711 18th Ave. that will contain classrooms, a gymnasium, and a pool, among other amenities.

Bensonhurst is the latest neighborhood to catch Weekend Walks fever.

The Merchants of Third Avenue, a business group in Bay Ridge, has been hosting Weekend Walks events, which the group calls Summer Stroll on 3rd, since 2012 and is making plans to hold more this summer.

Last month, Community Board 10 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights) voted to recommend that the DOT approve the Summer Stroll on 3rd application for 2015.

Robert Howe, president of the Merchants of Third Avenue, said he is pleased the community board voted to support another Summer Stroll on 3rd event.

“We’re gratified that the community board is supportive of Third Avenue and our efforts to bring Summer Stroll to the neighborhood again this year. They appreciate the importance of Summer Stroll,” he told the Eagle in a recent interview.

Previous Summer Stroll on 3rd events have featured a wide variety of activities, including scavenger hunts, opera performances, acoustic guitar duos, outdoor cafes, art galleries, chess games, and performances by groups singing Broadway show tunes.


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