Bay Ridge gets ready to stroll • Brooklyn Paper

Bay Ridge gets ready to stroll

Ditch the wheels — it’s time to gear up for the Summer Stroll.

Third Avenue will turn into a lively pedestrian mall for four Fridays this summer — complete with acoustic guitarists, Sinatra-style crooners, and strolling performers — as part of a new art-smart initiative to draw more visitors to the Ridge.

The brains behind the car-free zone says she’s counting the days.

“It’s all coming together, I’m really excited,” said Bina Valenzano, co-owner of the Bookmark Shoppe on Third Avenue between 84th and 85th streets, who worked with community leaders, performers, and promotions companies to bring talent to the area. Her own store will reflect an Alice in Wonderland theme, with a green screen allowing visitors to appear in a Disney film of the same name.

The piazza comes with a code of rules: cops will patrol the piazza, alcohol sales will be limited to participating businesses, and side streets will be open to traffic with cops and Department of Transportation workers acting as crossing guards.

Not everyone was down with the plan — some residents raised concerns about the prospect of clogged streets, and wobbly booze hounds puking and tinkling on neighborhood front lawns.

“I’m concerned about double parking, people parking in our driveways and the spillover from people drinking,” said Florence Dean, who lives on 90th Street.

Valenzano scoffed at the notion that marauding mobs would plague the piazza.

“Rowdy teenagers are not going to want to stand around and listen to a string quartet,” she said, adding that she had informed participating watering holes and restaurants not to allow customers from becoming pie-eyed. “We’ve been over the regulations with them, and they know the dos and don’ts.”

Other Stroll highlights will include performances by the Brooklyn Dance Studio at 82nd Street, Broadway song and dance routines by kids from Dimensions on Stage at 83rd Street, and drama from the Narrows Community Theater along 84th Street. A mandolin player will serenade pedestrians outside Monaco’s Bakery at 85th Street, Cebu will dish out music — Nawlins-style — at 88th Street, and the Kettle Black at 86th Street will morph into an outdoor Lincoln Center with a performance by the Daniel Cordona Opera Company.

Even Councilman Vinnie Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) is set to kick back and thrill with shows by Rob the Magician outside his district office at 87th Street.

Summer Stroll on July 20, July 27, Aug. 10, and Aug. 17 [Third Avenue from 81st to 89th streets, (718) 833–5115], 6–10:30 pm.

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