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Summer Stroll 2013 Comes to Third Avenue Between 69th and 80th Streets

Wet weather fails to dampen fun along new Stroll stretch

The Brooklyn Paper
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It may have rained, but the organizers behind Bay Ridge’s third Summer Stroll of 2013 say the event was anything but a wash-out.

The stretch of Third Avenue between 69th and 80th streets closed off to traffic and turned into a European-style pedestrian plaza for the first time ever — two weeks after the section between 80th and 90th streets underwent a similar transformation for the second year in a row. Stores, restaurants, bars, and neighborhood groups put tables and chairs out on the street and customers came to fill them — after a few evening showers.

“The initial crowd was scared away, but once it stopped raining, we had a great showing,” said Chuck Otey, executive secretary of the Merchants of Third Avenue business group and co-founder of the Stroll.

Otey noted that the temporary piazza had a distinctly different flavor last Friday than on previous nights, due to a lower concentration of stores and a different ethnic mix of restaurants on the blocks between 69th and 80th streets. But he said business was buzzing at nearly all the participating merchants — in sharp contrast to the usual desolation of a summer night.

“Normally, you can roll a bowling ball down the avenue on a hot August Friday,” Otey said.

Otey also said the event offered an outlet for the neighborhood’s bored youth.

“Kids have been heating up all week long looking for something to do. I saw parents literally being dragged by their kids,” he said.

Otey developed and pitched the Summer Stroll concept in 2011 with Bina Valenzano, owner of the Bookmark Shoppe between 84th and 85th streets, and neighborhood pols. But the open-air fair failed to take flight that year, as merchants and residents raised fears that the event would bring drunken chaos to the corridor. But the idea finally won approval from Community Board 10 in Feb. 2012, as supporters pitched it as a cultural counterblast to the depiction of Bay Ridge as a dim-witted, party-hearty haven in the short-lived “Jersey Shore” knock-off “Brooklyn 11223.”

Wet weather put a damper on two of the four Stroll nights last year, but Valenzano said businesses on the avenue saw a 15 to 50–percent boost in revenue nonetheless.

Otey said he hoped to see the plaza get another extension next year — and run another four nights. Otey argued an eight-evening Stroll would boost commerce even more, and attract visitors from other neighborhoods.

“It would be very good for business, and it would bring a lot of people in,” Otey said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
Oh Gawd! Tal is gonna have a fit when he reads this!
Aug. 15, 2013, 9:30 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
It was great. I ate my dinner in the middle of the street just like a homeless person!
Aug. 15, 2013, 10:07 am
Dorothy from Brooklyn says:
This was wonderful. I'd love to see it happen more and more throughout the year!
Aug. 15, 2013, 12:51 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Honestly, I don't see a need for these summer strolls when you can go to these merchants anytime just like the San Genaro Festival that is held every September for 10 days.
Aug. 15, 2013, 5:13 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- You're an idiot. Go help your mother with the dishes.
Aug. 15, 2013, 6:29 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, last time I checked, even former president George W Bush is smarter than you are, and he is the dumbest person I know.
Aug. 15, 2013, 7:23 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal, that wasn't an invitation for one of your "debates." Just wanted to remind you that you need to be better to your mom.
Aug. 15, 2013, 8:29 pm
BKmanposeur from brokeland says:
Tal does not like to see people enjoy the streets of Brooklyn. He would prefer it that 4th and 5th ave be turned into a turnpike.
Why should Manhathan be only be the city center?
Aug. 16, 2013, 7:58 am
The Chooch from a Europeanizing Brooklyn says:
"The stretch of Third Avenue ... turned into a European-style pedestrian plaza for the first time ever ..."

I'm tellin' YOUZ, I'm tellin' YOUTZ, and I'm tellin' Anthony and his brother ... we ain't seen nuttin' yet!

The Kingdom of Napoli will fall to the Medici. Mark my words.
Aug. 16, 2013, 8:48 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
BKmanposeur, I have nothing against street fairs as a whole, it's what they tend to have. Many of them I tend to find overrated especially when it involves the same merchants that I can go to at anytime, which I don't need a street fair. Also, the vendors there aren't that unique either. There have been many street fairs that have become generic, and some even more corporate sponsored, though that was probably just to keep them afloat. I only used the San Genaro Festival is an example, and I only go to it on just one of the days it's there, because the rest of the week, there isn't anything there that happens to be different, so it's not worth the trip again. In reality, I am just going there just if I happen to be in the city anyway that day in which I am already in the neighborhood. As for mentioning Manhattan, which also has street fairs, most will always view it as the center of NYC mainly because it has always been viewed as the main area for having most of the attractions anyway, so this isn't something political, it's just done that way on most guidebooks. On a side note, I don't find the Summer Streets in Manhattan to be a good idea when much of Park Avenue and Broadway is closed off, and they can always use Central Park in which they can be held longer and give more time for them. Overall, I don't see the need to close off actual streets for events like this when you can use some of the public space that already exists.
Aug. 16, 2013, 2:20 pm

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