It is either feast or famine when it comes to holiday lights this year.
On East Tremont Avenue in Throggs Neck, merchants have funded a total of 42 strands of lights, according to merchant leader John Cerini, who along with other members of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association went door-to-door collecting $150 contributions.
Not all of the merchants contributed, and this year fewer strands were hung up, Cerini said.
“We are going to be giving posters to all the merchants along E. Tremont Avenue who contributed to the lights so customers can see who contributed,” Cerini said.
This was probably the most difficult year that the merchants association had in terms of collecting, and those who did contribute funding for the lights, in some cases up to $2,000, should be rewarded by their customers, Cerini said.
“If they like the lights, the community needs to go into the store and ask the merchants if they contributed,” Cerini said. “If the merchant did not contribute, they need to ask ‘why’.”
The funding of the lights would come out to about $12 a month per merchant per month, which should not prove any hardship and brightens up all of Throggs Neck, Cerini said. The festive lights should get people into the spirit of the holidays, said Throggs Neck Merchants Association president Steve Kaufman.
“I think that it is wonderful to have a sparkle and spirit come to Throggs Neck during the Christmas holidays,” Kaufman said. “It enhances the neighborhood, creates a nice atmosphere, and shows that the merchants want a festive holiday season, and that we are alive and well in Throggs Neck.”
However, according to Al D’Angelo, president of the Morris Park Community Association, Morris Park will be without holiday lights this year for the first time in over a decade.
The lights, which normally run along Morris Park Avenue from White Plains to Williamsbridge roads, then along Williamsbridge Road to Pelham Parkway, cost around $14,000 to install every holiday season.
D’Angelo said that elected officials did not provide grants this year as a result of budget cuts, and many of the local merchants could not afford to pick up the difference.
“It’s a shame because it’s became such a tradition in the community and was something that really brightened up the neighborhood during the holidays,” D’Angelo said. “A lot of people take it for granted, but it just goes to show you how hard the economy is hitting a lot of people.”
According to D’Angelo, many merchants were willing to make contributions, but the money would not have been enough to fill the streets. The MPCA hopes to bring back the lights next holiday season.
“It wouldn’t of been fair to just fill a portion of the community,” he said. “Hopefully things are better financially next year for everyone.”
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (718) 742-3393