Nine -year-old Grace Campbell of Dyker Heights offered her cheek to a face painter, who splashed a bold Stars and Stripes across it, and gave the pint-sized patriot something extra to smile about as she celebrated Uncle Sam’s 235th birthday in Bay Ridge on Monday.
Grace was among the joyous nationalists at the 82nd Street field, off Shore Road, hailing our independence from the folk across the pond with a grand cookout, live music and lots of goodwill at the fourth annual Greater Bay Ridge Fourth of July Picnic, hosted by state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge).
Visitors chilled out by open garden hoses and beneath parasols to avoid being toasted by the scorching mercury, as Brooklyn-flavored bands — among them, Frankie Marra and His Band, Blues Circus, and The Ridge — set the musical tone from stages dripping with red, white and blue bunting.
There was plenty of love for the star of the day — Old Glory — which reared its pretty head across the green.
Area revelers Marie Patalano and Terry Manteo, and Staten Islander Mary Ellen Kowlachuk, fluttered their hand flags to the pulsating music as lil’ American Ralphy Ruocco, 19 months, romped in a sprinkler in his Star Spangled Banner T-shirt. Nearby, Sunset Park senior Valerie Ortega basked in the splendor from the comfort of her deck chair — her head shaded by a flag-themed baseball cap.
“It’s great to be an American — and even greater to be able to celebrate it,” smiled Ortega, a Colombian native who became an American citizen three years ago.
Proceeds from the picnic benefited the 68th Precinct Youth Council, CERT 1 NYC, and BRAVO Volunteer Ambulance Service.
“What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than amongst family, friends and neighbors while supporting some great neighborhood causes,” said Golden.