Ridgites gather for Fifth Avenue tree lighting

Holiday merriment: Fifth Avneue Business Improvement District president James Clark, far left, joined Santa Claus, center, Councilman Vincent Gentile, left of St. Nick, John and Alana Wood, and two officers from the 68th Precinct at the Saturday tree lighting.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Ridgites came together at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway on Saturday to light the avenue’s Christmas tree at an annual event bursting with holiday cheer.

The lighting was serendipitously timed with the season’s first snowfall, which helped created the perfect atmosphere to light the 15-foot tall tree, according to the executive director of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, which sponsored the fifth-annual event.

“There was a lot of snow, and of course, we had music, and we had someone doing balloons for the kids,” said Amanda Zenteno. “We were very happy to be able to bring a little festivity to Fifth Avenue.”

The tree arrived in the Ridge all the way from Vermont, and Santa Claus himself was even on the scene with an elf to add a little magic to the event. But one Ridgite who attended with his kids for the third year in a row said that the falling snowflakes were what helped make the event a memorable one.

“The kids enjoyed it,” said John Wood of his kids, 9-year-old John Jr. and 7-year-old Alana. “They loved seeing Santa Claus and the Christmas music, especially with the snow.”

A live deejay also spun Christmas tune and a balloon-animal artist created new pals for the kids. Plus, Ridgites could hitch a ride to the event on the business group’s trolley with Santa Claus, which went up and down Fifth Avenue for four hours from 85th Street to Leif Ericson Park, stopping at bus stops along the way.

Any Ridge kids who missed the magic last weekend can hitch a ride on the holiday trolly this Saturday, from 12 pm–4 pm.

Local pols state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) also made appearances at the event.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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