Are patrons of Bay Ridge's Third Avenue bar scene mature enough to handle a plan to create an eight-block pedestrian mall featuring string quartets and "doo-wop singers" this summer? The Brooklyn Paper profiles the debate at a Community Board 10 meeting over whether or not to block off eight blocks of Third Avenue for four weeks this summer for a proposed "Summer Stroll." “Every Friday and Saturday we have to clean up broken glass and vomit,” neighbor Lenny Variano said. “It’s disgusting." It can't be as disgusting as that other famed Bay Ridge event, Naked Old Lady Day.
“I’m as sick as you are of the drinking, the vomiting, the urinating and the sexual stuff,” Summer Stroll supporter Chuck Otey concedes. But Otey's point is that you can't live in fear forever. “If you want to give the streets over to the drunks, ignore this proposal. Turn this down and you’re saying, ‘screw the arts.’ ”
This iteration of Summer Stroll is considerably watered-down from the original proposal: initially, merchants wanted a closure of 10 blocks for 9 weeks, but that was voted down. The current plan calls for NYPD officers and DOT employees to act as crossing guards to monitor foot traffic and direct vehicles.
Still, the possibility of roving gangs of drunks colliding with the "doo-wop singers" and chamber musicians that are slated to perform is irresistible. “Rowdy teenagers are not going to want to stand around and listen to a string quartet,” organizer Bina Valenzano assured CB 10. Oh, really?