The dog days of summer are here and with people vacationing during the season, it represents a snail-like period for many merchants. The Village of Garden City has tried to combat these lethargic months by once again offering up the Garden City Promenade. Occurring every Friday for the remainder of the summer, the promenade is a great way to gather together members of the community and support local businesses. It’s also a useful event for any parents looking to occupy restless children. These are some of the reasons why the Garden City Board of Trustees developed this program with the support of John E. Wilton, chairman of the Merchants Professionals and Realtors Group. The idea was to steer traffic during the months of July and August, a usually slow time for business. All of which played into Wilton’s three goals: attracting consumers from outside the community, offset those slow summer months and encourage residents to incorporate Friday night promenades into their summer plans.
“We want Friday nights to be the night you come out and socialize with your neighbors, meet new friends and pay it forward,” explained Wilton.
He noted that many local businesses support philanthropic causes throughout the year for schools, Boys and Girl Scouts and many other organizations.
The well-known Seventh Street, where the promenade takes place, is closed off to traffic beginning at 5:45 p.m. each Friday. Police barricades block the road, and neighborhood cops reinforce this safety measure. This allows children to enjoy the outdoors without worry. On Fridays, many of them can be seen running around, riding bicycles, and skating up and down the block.
Tables and chairs are arranged throughout the street, allowing people to sit down and relax. Many families utilize these for eating and drinking, as there are a variety of local businesses on Seventh Street. Among them are Italian restaurants, ice cream shops, and coffee shops. According to Garden City’s website (Gardencityny.net), several dining locations participating in the event even offer specials on these Fridays.
Near the end of the street, a fire truck sits near the barricades of the promenade. Not only is this used for security purposes, but the Garden City firefighters generously allow children to take turns sitting in the truck, while parents enthusiastically snap photos. The firemen also give out paper replicas of their helmets to kids, who then ran around pretending to be members of the squad.
Additionally, tables and chairs are set up so that children (and adventurous adults) can have their faces painted. Skilled in the art, these face painters can create any design, from fully colored faces to silly masks. And at the stand right next door, kids can also have balloon animals made. Balloons are available in a variety of colors and animals, including puppies and monkeys. Anyone feeling combative can also have a balloon sword made.
The entertainment at the Garden City Promenade is also worth mentioning. With a large and loud speaker system echoing down the road, Seventh Street is filled with the sound of live music from 6 to 10. The band, Fivestone, has been booked to play the promenade for the duration, playing hit songs from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.
Gina Naomi Baez is another frequent performer on Friday nights. She is best known for dressing up as Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. Disney fans adore her appearances, and she signs autographs for the kids after her performance. Her next visit to the promenade will be Aug. 8. Look for Baez’s story in the next issue of Long Island Weekly and Garden City Life. For more information on the upcoming promenades, please visit www.gardencityny.net
Vilma Sceusa contributed to this article