The Throggs Neck community came together to celebrate the holidays with festive lights in its commercial corridor and a tree lighting ceremony.
The Throggs Neck Merchants Association reports that this year its annual fundraising drive for the holiday lights went better than it typically does, with more donations than ever arriving in the mail.
All told, the TNMA had over 50 strands of holiday lights hung over East Tremont Avenue shortly after Thanksgiving, according to Steven Kaufman, outgoing TNMA president.
Kaufman said he believes the lights send a message that Throggs Neck is a cohesive community that is in the holiday spirit. He hopes that it will encourage shopping along the commercial corridor.
“People feel it is very important to have these lights,” he said. “Without the lights, we would have a darkened corridor that would be somber and sad; now you drive here and you have these beautiful lights welcoming people.”
The TNMA president said the group raised roughly 80% of what was needed from the lights through the mail as of press time.
“It is our best year ever,” he said of the effort, adding that in some years a delegation from the TNMA has had to go door-to-door many times to the merchants on East Tremont Avenue to raise what was needed for lights.
John Cerini, TNMA treasurer said that his Facebook page received a deluge of comments, almost all positive, in response to a post about the placement of the holiday lights along East Tremont Avenue this year.
“Out of over 300 comments, only three were negative,” said Cerini. “The responses were overwhelmingly positive; they mean everything to the children and they brighten up the spirit of the community.”
The association’s treasurer said that he wishes everyone a happy holiday season and hope that they enjoy and appreciate the lights.
Cerini also said that the community’s annual Christmas tree lighting, hosted by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, with the TNMA, at DeRosa O’Boyle Triangle on Sunday, December 5, was a huge success.
This year, roughly 700 gifts were distributed, according to the TNMA.
Santa Claus came and visited with the children as well, and there were Christmas Carols by Anne Meyers and the St. Benedict’s Choir, hot chocolate and cookies.
The gifts for the children are provided by the TNMA and purchased with funds raised at merchant association outings throughout the year, said Geri Colon, a TNMA volunteer.
These fundraisers include a golf outing and a dinner dance, she said.
“You cannot believe the smiles on the faces of the children,” said Colon of the Christmas tree event, who added that in some cases she has heard that it may be the only toy that many of children at the event receive for the holidays.
Benedetto called the tree lighting a special time for Throggs Neck, and expressed his regret that he could not attend personally because he was called back to Albany.
Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, from the neighboring Assembly district, ran the event for Benedetto.
“The tree lighting initiates just a happy, warm season here in the Bronx,” said the assemblyman of the ceremony. “We look forward to sharing this season with our family.”
The lights this year run along East Tremont Avenue from roughly LaSalle to Miles avenue, according to Colon.