A Third Avenue wonderland

A Third Avenue wonderland
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

They were dancing — and eating — in the streets!

The 38th annual Third Avenue Festival turned 27 blocks along the Ridge’s lowest-numbered commercial strip into an all-day celebration of food, music, dancing and fun.

“It was one of the best years we’ve ever had,” said Chuck Otey, the festival chairman who claimed 200,000 people showed up for the party.

Residents came from near and far for the fun, but stayed for the food, according to Otey, who said Bay Ridge’s street fair is better than others — like the Atlantic Antic, Downtown’s answer to Bay Ridge’s fest that took place on the same day.

“I think it’s the best food festival in the city because we have so many local restaurants,” he said. “It’s a lot more than sausage.”

The smorgasbord saw 51 different types of ethnic food, along with kiddie rides, live bands and dancing.

And, unlike other street fairs, this one featured that staple of summer sports, table tennis

A partisan ping-pong match pitted Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge) and state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) against Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D–Coney Island) and Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), with the GOP members taking home the trophy.

A bipartisan referee team of state Sen. Diane Savino (D–Coney Island) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge) ensured that the match was won fair and square, and that there were no McEnroe-esque outbursts by competitors from either side of the aisle.