Bay Ridge beats the heat with rock and roll

Fourth of July picnic celebrates freedom with free rock concert

The Brooklyn Paper
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Photo gallery

Bubbling over: Ava DeAngelis, 15 months, lives it up at the party in Shore Road Park.
American girls: Danielle Waye of Staten Island and Nicole Terzulli of Bensonhurst journeyed to Bay Ridge to celebrate the Fourth of July in style.
Cool kid: Seven-year-old Ridgite Lauren O’Brien sprays herself with water to ward off the summer heat.
American tenor: Daniel Rodriguez, a 9-11 survivor known as “the Singing Policeman,” belted out the national anthem to the crowd.
Buggin’ out: Kim Rutherford of Mill Basin wore a holiday headband at the picnic in Bay Ridge.
All-American: Elsie Willumsen and Julie Bergland of Bay Ridge came out in full patriotic garb.

Nobody celebrates Independence Day like Bay Ridge!

Brooklyn’s most patriotic neighborhood rang in the 237th anniversary of America’s birth with its sixth-annual Fourth of July picnic in Shore Road Park.

Some 2,000 people poured into the greenspace’s 82nd Street Field even as the heat index flirted with 100 degrees. As a line-up of six local bands rocked out onstage, adults guzzled liquids and children danced in the sprinklers.

“It was hot, but we had enough water and kept everybody hydrated,” said organizer Chip “Festival Guy” Cafiero.

Cafiero handed out to attendees more than $1,000 worth of gift certificates to be redeemed at Bay Ridge businesses. And hundreds of raffle tickets were sold with proceeds going to the 68th Precinct Community Council and the Southwest Brooklyn Parks Task Force.

The highlight of the 10-hour event, according to Cafiero, was a performance by tenor Daniel Rodriguez, a New York City police officer who was two blocks away from the World Trade Center on 9-11, and became famous as a singer in the days and weeks afterward. Rodriguez enthralled the crowd with performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”

“The whole crowd, everybody had goosebumps,” said Cafiero. “I had people crying, falling over with the emotion.”

The concert wrapped up with 15 members from the different bands wowing the audience with a patriotic jam session on John Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses” and several Bob Dylan songs.

“They mixed it up good,” said Cafiero. “Everybody was wild, waving flags.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at

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Reasonable discourse

Charlie from Avenue C says:
Next week BP writes about the glory and wonder of Christmas 2012! No shame here??
July 12, 2013, 1:20 am
Elvis from Nawcoatella says:
Give them a break. I was so moved by their piece on OJ Simpson last week. I can't wait to find out if he did it or not.
July 12, 2013, 8:55 am
Len from Bay Ridge says:
So glad there are no blacks in this find neighborhood
July 19, 2013, 2:02 am

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