Gravesend and Coney Island are beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Residents gathered in Lady Deborah Moody Square and Leon S. Kaiser Park for some hot chocolate, Yuletide caroling and a visit from Santa Claus at separate Christmas tree lighting ceremonies that ushered in the holiday season.
The Gravesend celebration at the plaza on Van Sicklen Street at Avenue U on Dec. 8 was organized by state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), who collected gifts for his annual drive for the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation.
“During the Christmas season, and all year, residents of our community should join together in the Christmas spirt and exhibit good will to serve the most needy,” Golden said.
Two days later, Coney Island residents assembled in Kaiser Park on W. 29th Street for a Dec. 10 holiday party featuring a tree lighting, raffles and a special appearance by Santa for 75 neighborhood youngsters — all of whom left with a free gift basket of toys and winter accessories such as hats and gloves, courtesy of the conservation group Friends of Kaiser Park.
“The kids appreciate it,” said Rocco Brescia, the group’s president. “They’re so excited when they see Santa.”
The organization lit up six trees — including a nine-foot spruce — inside of the park’s new $2.3 million fieldhouse, which opened in October after a decade-long renovation.