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Kids charge Dyker Park in search of eggs

Here comes Peter Cottontail: Dyker Heights boys Gino Sarta and Joseph Piangelis get to meet the Easter Bunny at Saturday’s egg hunt in Dyker Park.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

In spite of damp gray weather, hundreds of kids ran down the bunny trails of Dyker Park in search of plastic eggs during the first ever 13th Avenue Merchants’ Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday.

The well-attended event also featured an egg-and-spoon race, face painting, a DJ, a raffle, and a special appearance by the Easter bunny, thrilling all those there.

In fact, the hunt was so well attended that volunteers from the 13th Avenue Merchants group quickly ran out of the 200 goodie bags — full of books, frisbees, and school supplies, all courtesy of Merchants’ member stores — that they were giving away at the entrance to the park. And even with 1,000 plastic eggs scattered about the grounds, the event’s managers said there were barely enough to go around. The new Merchants co-president, Tatiana Nicoli, said she and her fellow leader Dominick Sarta didn’t realize just how popular the egg hunt would be.

“Being our first year, we didn’t know what to expect.,” said Nicoli, owner of Boulevard Books and Cafe between 75th and 76th streets.

Nicoli added that the huge turn-out was a good sign, as she and Sarta hope to turn the event into a yearly tradition.

“Now we have a precedent to refer to, and when there’s a precedent, more people are willing to get involved,” Nicoli said. “Next year — hopefully with better weather — it’ll be twice as big.”

But even in its first year, the event picked up plenty of co-sponsors, including state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge), and the Dyker Heights Civic Association.

“We’re always happy to sponsor events with the 13th Avenue Merchants, and this was an important event because it’s something that’s provided for the children of the community, and it celebrates something that’s positive,” said Association head Fran Vella-Marrone.

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