Stroll lotta love! Third Avenue prepares for second year of pedestrian plaza • Brooklyn Paper

Stroll lotta love! Third Avenue prepares for second year of pedestrian plaza

Charles Otey and Bina Valenzano say closing an eight-block stretch of Third Avenue in Bay Ridge on four nights this summer will bring business to the strip.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Third Avenue’s Summer Stroll is back this year, and amped up in every way.

The 2013 Summer Stroll will transform Third Avenue into a pedestrian plaza — shutting the street to parking and traffic and opening it up for fresh-air commerce — on four Friday nights this year, in two sections.

On July 19 and 26, businesses between 80th and 90th streets will get to put tables and tents out front for visitors to browse their wares. On August 9 and 16, the party moves to the stretch between 69th and 80th.

And this year, shops will be allowed to provide amplified entertainment outside their doors — in contrast to 2012’s acoustic-only rule. The event will also run half an hour longer than last summer, going all the way to 10:30 pm. But like in 2012, motorists will be allowed to pass through on the cross-streets.

Summer Stroll got off on the wrong foot when first proposed in 2011 as a way to boost small businesses in a sagging economy. Merchants and residents raised fears that the fair would bring traffic congestion and drunken chaos. But the open-air market won approval from Community Board 10 in Feb. 2012, as supporters pitched it as a cultural counterblast to the depiction of Bay Ridge as a dim-witted, party-hearty haven in the short-lived “Jersey Shore” knock off “Brooklyn 11223.”

But even with CB10 approval, the stroll was no walk in the park. Wet weather put a damper on the fun two of the four nights in 2012.

The effort paid off, nonetheless. Event mastermind Bina Valenzano of the Bookmark Shoppe between 84th and 85th streets said participating stores enjoyed 15–50 percent increases in revenue on the Summer Stroll nights last year.

Summer Stroll, Part One [Third Avenue between 80th and 90th streets, in Bay Ridge] July 19 and 26, 6 pm. Free. Summer Stroll, Part Two [Third Avenue between 69th and 80th streets, in Bay Ridge] Aug. 9 and 16, 6 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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