The Throggs Neck Merchants Association’s lights are back on this year, transforming the shopping strip into a Winter Wonderland.
The merchants, through generous donations, strung Christmas lights across the shopping streets of East Tremont Avenue shopping strip from Dudley Avenue near Lehman High School all the way to Miles Avenue, said TNMA treasurer John Cerini, noting there are 48 strands of lights and four pole decorations this year.
The lights are paid for by merchants who contribute money to the yearly effort.
For those merchants who do contribute, they are given posters to display in their store windows, he said.
Cerini said the TNMA is asking the community to support merchants who contributed for the lights.
“Please look for the posters in the store owner’s windows,” said Cerini, “and if you don’t see a poster, ask them why they did not contribute.”
The job is a major undertaking every year, and a group of merchants visit every store up and down the shopping strip several times to collect funds for the lights, he said.
The lights were turned on Thanksgiving weekend, said TNMA president Steve Kaufman.
The lights, along with the Christmas Tree Lighting at Derosa O’Boyle Triangle on Dec. 1, hosted by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto along with the TNMA, bring the holiday spirit to the community, he said.
“The merchants are generous in contributing to make sure that were able to put up the Christmas lights and have our welcoming spirit on East Tremont Avenue,” said Kaufman.
“We have an active community and an active group of merchants that want to see Tremont Avenue flourish, and want the people to have a very happy and Merry Christmas,”
he said. “We don’t want darkness in our lives, we want happiness and celebration.”
One of the most generous contributors, said Cerini, is Jim McQuade, owner of Schuyler Hill Funeral Home at 3535 E. Tremont Ave.
McQuade said that when the merchants association restarted after a dormant period, he, Bronx Times founder John Collazzi, and others made bringing back the holiday lights a priority.
“This is my neighborhood, and my home. I love this community and am proud of it,” said McQuade. “It’s Christmas, through the good times and the bad times. As business people, we have to say thank you to the community. We want this community to be thankful that they are living here, appreciate it, and know that the merchants back them.”