Holiday season events taking place around the borough

“There is a rather festive atmosphere. It is a community affair bringing people together and everyone has warmth in his or her hearts,” - Assemblyman Michael Benedetto on the annual Throggs Neck Christmas Tree Lighting he hosts with the Throggs Neck Merchants Association.

The holiday season is being celebrated throughout the borough by many organizations.

From tree lightings in Throggs Neck and Westchester Square to toy giveaways and ongoing promotions at some 80 stores in the Fordham Road Business Improvement District, there will be a lot to do and experience in coming weeks.

In Throggs Neck, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and the Throggs Neck Merchants Association are teaming up to bring the community its annual Christmas Tree Lighting and visit from Santa, who will be giving out toys, courtesy of the merchants, to the kids on Sunday, December 3 in an event beginning at 5 p.m. at Derosa O’Boyle Triangle.

After the tree is lit, Santa Claus is typically spirited to the location on a fire truck provided by Edgewater Park Volunteer Fire Department, and gives away gifts and takes pictures with the children.

Once again this year, the assemblyman said, the St. Benedict’s Choir will entertain the children and their families.

“There is a rather festive atmosphere,” said Benedetto. “It is a community affair bringing people together and everyone has warmth in his or her hearts.”

“It is a great kickoff to the holiday season,” said Bob Jaen, TNMA president, adding that the merchants will distribute over 1,000 toys.

Over on Fordham Road, Santa Claus is coming to town at Bryan Park on Friday, December 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. for the 13th Annual Sparkling in the Heart of Fordham kick-off event.

Toys will be distributed to the first 600 children, and there will be music, performances by Fordham University’s Gloria Dei Choir and entertainer Rhina Valentin, along with raffles and prizes.

There will be a lighting of a 20-foot tree in the park as well.

“It is packed every year,” said Daniel Bernstein, Fordham Road BID deputy director, speaking of the December 1st extravaganza. “Last year we had 3,500 people.”

The event kicks off a promotion that includes discounts at 80 merchants from December 1 to Sunday, December 17, said Daniel Bernstein, Fordham Road BID deputy director.

Participating stores along the borough’s largest shopping strip are offering ten percent discounts, with shoppers who bring a BID newspaper advertisement, a MetroCard, a printout from the BID’s website or an invitation to the December 1 event having access to the discounts.

The Westchester Square Business Improvement District will be hosting ‘old St. Nick’ at Williambridge Road and East Tremont Avenue during their fifth annual Holidays in the Square event on Friday, December 8.

Lisa Sorin, WSBID executive director, said that this year’s event will include not only Santa, who will be giving out toys to children while supplies last in Owen Dolen Park, but also yuletide carolers visiting stores and stilt walkers entertaining crowds.

The event will kick off at 5 p.m. that evening, she said, adding hot chocolate and cider will be served.

At the Throggs Neck Shopping Center, children will have the opportunity to have their pictures taken with Santa Claus on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9 and on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17 between 2 and 7 p.m.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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