Bay Ridge

Summer Stroll brings great music to Third Avenue

July 20, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Cast members from “Mary Poppins” offer audiences a special preview of their upcoming show being produced by Jeff Samaha Theater Productions/Ridge Chorale. That’s Mary Poppins on the right. Eagle photos by Paula Katinas
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Music filled the air as the 2015 version of Summer Stroll on 3rd had its opening night on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge on Friday night. It was the first of four nights for Summer Stroll, an annual event sponsored by the Merchants of Third Avenue in which cars are banned and the shopping thoroughfare is opened up to pedestrians .

No matter what block pedestrians were strolling on along the car-less section of Third Avenue that stretched from 80th Street to 90th Street, musicians and singers were offering songs for everyone’s listening pleasure.

Here’s a sampling of what the Brooklyn Eagle saw and heard during a stroll along the avenue:

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On a stage on 84th Street, Jeff Samaha Theater Productions/Ridge Chorale gave audiences a special preview of its upcoming show, “Mary Poppins” and the talented cast had everyone humming along to “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Chim-Chiminey.”

Frankie Marra, a well-known Bay Ridge singer who has developed a devoted following through his many performances in local pubs, was strumming on his guitar and singing “Losing My Religion,” the old REM hit from the 1980s, outside of The Kettle Black on 87th Street.

Over on 85th Street, 7-year-old Tyler Mui, a student at the Music Box School, impressed audiences by playing “March of the Wooden Soldiers” on piano.

Students and teachers from Adelphi Academy had a stage set up on 89th Street where they performed everything from rock n’ roll to Broadway show tunes. The performers included Arthur Furman, Regina Levy, Christine Colacrai, Nikki Fregara and Robert Bates. They were a big hit.

Speaking of hits, members of Narrows Community Theater sang their hearts out on 87th Street, performing a medley of Broadway show tunes, like “I’ve Got Rhythm” by George and Ira Gershwin and “I Hope I Get It” from “A Chorus Line.”

This was the fourth annual Summer Stroll on 3rd and it drew hundreds of thousands of people to the avenue. The event was blessed with perfect weather as temperatures hovered in the 70s and a cool breeze could be felt.

The Merchants of Third Avenue worked with state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) and Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) and a group of community volunteers to pull the whole thing off.

“I think everyone’s having a great time,” Merchants President Bob Howe told the Eagle as he was dining with his wife Diana at an outdoor café at The Pearl Room on 82nd Street. Howe pronounced Summer Stroll 2015 a success. “It has the relaxed feel we wanted it to have.”

In addition to lots of music, Summer Stroll had art exhibitions, art classes and activities for kids.

At several points along the 10-block route, photographers and artists set up tables to display their works.

Leigh Holliday Brannan and her mother-in-law, Mary Brannan, owners of The Art Room, an art school on 87th Street, helped kids create collages with a “Summer in the City” theme.

On the next block, kids were playing with hoola-hoops in front of Kaleidoscope, a toy store.

There were outdoor cafes on nearly every block.

Summer Stroll on 3rd is part of the Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks program, a series of events around the city in which sections of commercial thoroughfares are closed to vehicular traffic so that pedestrians can more fully experience the city.

There will be three more Summer Stroll on 3rd events, all on Friday evenings from 6 to 10 p.m. The next one will take place on July 24 on Third Avenue between 80th and 90th streets. On Aug. 7 and 14, the event moves north to the section of Third Avenue between Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) and 80th Street.

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