‘About more than just toys’: Reynoso and Avilés celebrate Three Kings Day at Sunset Park school

Antonio Reynoso handing out gifts at school
Borough President Antonio Reynoso gives a gift to a student at P.S. 1 during a Three Kings Day celebration on Jan. 11.
Brooklyn Borough Hall

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and Councilmember Alexa Avilés teamed up last week to celebrate a holiday “near and dear” to local Latino communities: Three Kings Day.

On Jan. 11, the pair partnered with the National Supermarket Association — a trade alliance representing independent supermarket owners in New York and beyond — to deliver toys to 400 first-, second- and third-graders at P.S. 1 in Sunset Park.

P.S. 1, “The Bergen,” is a public school with a student population of nearly 950. Of those students, 97% are a minority, and 84% are considered economically disadvantaged.

“‘Día de Los Reyes’ isn’t just about toys and presents, it’s about the traditions that have crossed borders and passed through generations,” Reynoso said in a statement after the event. “This is a holiday that is near and dear to our Latino communities, so it was such an honor to bring that joy and cheer to the kids at P.S. 1, whose families have come from all over to build a new home here in our borough.”

According to the National Supermarket Association’s Board of Directors, Sunset Park is a community largely served by organization members, independent grocery stores in New York City. However, the association’s statistics show that 30% of its membership has left the city. Brooklyn Borough Hall

Three Kings Day — or Día de Los Reyes — is a Christian tradition that follows Christmas, commemorating the moment the three wise men first saw Jesus after his birth, and brought him symbolic gifts. On this day in Spain and Latin America, many children get presents.

Last week’s celebration began with opening remarks from P.S. 1 Principal Wanda Lopez-Ramirez and a performance of the song “Oh Moon” by the school’s choir. Then, 400 young scholars received gifts, from Easy-Bake Ovens to soccer balls and action figures to board games.

“This holiday is about more than just toys,” said Avilés, a Sunset Park resident whose Council district encompasses her neighborhood, as well as Red Hook, Greenwood Heights and portions of Windsor Terrace, Dyker Heights, and Boro Park. “It is a story of struggle, migration and finding safety in unexpected places. For many New Yorkers, our city is not their first home, and that’s why it’s so important we welcome our neighbors, address their needs and support them with open arms.”

The Three Kings Day toy giveaway was one of many the Brooklyn Beep participated in over the holidays. Late last month, the former North Brooklyn Councilmember stopped by Nuestros Niños Child Development Center in Williamsburg — day care center and educational facility he attended as a child — to surprise children with gifts. During the month of December, Reynoso and his staff also worked to distribute children’s books and pajamas to hundreds of kids living in shelters throughout the borough.

“I’m so grateful that we could come together with Councilmember Alexa Avilés, the National Supermarket Association, and P.S. 1 to spread love the Brooklyn way,” he said.