Building off the success of a similar initiative in 2010, members of the Burnside Avenue commercial district have been celebrating Summer Walk Street Festivals all summer season. They are also intended to serve as the building blocks for the community’s Burnside Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), which has long been a goal of area merchants and business owners.
The mini-Festivals, which run the length of the commercial thoroughfare from Jerome Avenue to Davidson Avenue, are hosted as a way of strengthening communication among local merchants, well as providing area residents with recreational activities that are organized and safe. To this end, there were face paintings, give-aways, games and raffles all throughout the day.
Angel Caballero, Executive Director of the Davidson Community Center, and president of the Burnside Avenue Commercial District, sees the Walks as useful for the merchants’ ultimate success.
“This is an important way for the BID to show its organizational capacity and strength,” explained Caballero.
This past Saturday, July 30th marked the second in the series, and the streets were filled with area merchants, local health care plans and service providers, including the Morris Heights Health Center and Union Community Health Center. There was also a stage upon which local elected officials, including Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene, New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera and New York City Councilmember Fernando Cabrera honored the efforts of distinguished local community and business leaders, including Caballero himself and Ubaldo Santos, Chairman of the Burnside Avenue Merchants Association.
Mohammed Adbullah, owner of Accra Restaurant on Davidson and Burnside, will be participating in the summer walks and is all for the BID.
“It’s a matter of cooperation by all the business people here,” Adbullah said. “If we can all cooperate, it will be better for everyone.”
What was of far greater, and immediate, importance to many families and children in attendance were the musical and dance presentations offered on stage, which ranged from modern dance troupe to classic salsa.
And the bouncy castle, of course.
“I want to go next,” exclaimed 7 year-old Joshua, as his sister pulled him in to the inflatable house.
All that was heard next was a loud, “Wheeee!”