Throggs Neck’s annual Christmas tree lighting and visit from Santa drew a larger than expected crowd into what has grown into one of the community’s most anticipated events.
Hundreds of families came to Derosa-O’Boyle Triangle as carolers from St. Benedict’s parish and P.S. 14 sang songs to get the crowd into a festive mood on the chilly evening of Sunday, December 5. The crowd watched as the tree, standing tall at Dewey and East Tremont avenues, was lit at around 5:30 p.m.
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto was the master of ceremonies for the event, which included a visit from Santa. The Throggs Neck Merchants Association donated toys for 300 children, and all kids got a free picture with Santa Claus that their parents can download and share with friends and relatives.
“It was an exciting and exhilarating evening; there were so many people there,” Benedetto said. “This has been an event that is slowly growing over the years. I have to give credit to my staff for all their hard work and the merchants who have really taken this event to another level. It was always a great community event, but really grew much larger this year. It is great to have the merchants participating in the event, and donating toys and pictures with Santa.”
Shortly after the tree was lit, Santa Claus arrived on the back of a red pickup truck that served as his sleigh. After climbing onto a stage trucked in for the occasion, hundreds of children and their parents lined the perimeter of the triangle to have their picture taken with Santa.
As the young children waited on line to reach the stage, hot chocolate and cookies were provided from a cart parked near the side of the street. The NYPD closed off part of Dewey Avenue, where the stage was located, and provided crowd control. Many in attendance remarked how the event was really a good expression of the community.
“We came here just to be part of the community and to see the tree,” said parent and Throggs Neck resident Darren Brenner, who was there with his wife Julia and two young children Joseph and Deanna. “We drive by and see the tree every day, and read about it in the Bronx Times Reporter. We get to see Santa Claus and get into the Christmas spirit.”
Parent Deyvy Regalado said he felt that the event really captured the spirit of the community, because it seemed less commercially driven than others similar events.
He was there with his wife Shadeline and his two-year-old daughter Neynarie.