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Inaugural Skillman Avenue Holiday Festival takes place Saturday


Dec. 2, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

The first ever Skillman Avenue Holiday Festival will be taking place this Saturday.

The Skillman Project, a collaboration of businesses located on Skillman Avenue, is hosting the festival to bring the community together and celebrate the new holiday lights strung across the avenue.

The new lights are a significant upgrade from the past when snowflakes illuminated the street.

The Skillman Project is closing the Avenue down between 51st Street and 43rd Street, and will have activities lining the business corridor. The cross streets will remain open to allow for cross traffic.

The festival will run from 4 to 8 p.m. with food, drink, music and activities offered by local businesses and community groups.

“We hope this gives people a chance to come hang out, get in to the holiday spirit and see their neighbors,” said Jean Clancy, one of the organizers and a co-owner of Claret Wine Bar. “This is such an amazing neighborhood and a diverse community, and it will be a great opportunity to come out and enjoy the neighborhood.”

Snow flakes in previous years

Snow flakes in previous years

The centerpiece of the event will be the Christmas tree lighting by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer at 6 p.m. at Sunnyside Reformed Church at 48th Street where a stage will be set up.

Many activities will line the Avenue throughout the afternoon and evening. Local choirs, carolers, artists, dancers and marching bands will perform before the tree ceremony.

After the Christmas tree lighting, children will be able to get their picture taken with Santa at a special grotto set up at 49th Street and Skillman.

There will be a professional photographer on hand to take photos, which will then be posted to the Skillman Project Facebook page after the event.

Beginning at 4 p.m. there will be a DJ playing music, food and drink specials at the local bars and restaurants, a wreath making workshop and various arts exhibits.

Throughout the night there will also be performances from local theater, dance and music groups, caroling by the girl scouts and PS 150 school kids, and a holiday raffle that will be drawn at 7:30 with about 35 prizes, including tickets to the Nutcracker and Carnegie Hall, along with prizes from local businesses.

In addition to providing a fun holiday outing, Clancy said the businesses also want to give back to the community.

Most of the businesses lining Skillman will have collection boxes for Toys For Tots. Residents are encouraged to bring unwrapped gifts and put them in one of the boxes. The toys will then be distributed to children in need.

“It is really a community effort to bring something spectacular to the neighborhood and brighten up the street,” Clancy said, adding that funding for the event had come from many different community organizations and stores, Van Bramer’s office, and the Chamber of Commerce.

“We want to make Skillman somewhere everyone wants to go out and have a drink or a bite to eat, to go shopping, and really just get in to spirit of the holidays,” Clancy said.

For more information on the event, visit the event page at



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William (Bill) Alfred Skillman

Sorry I missed the fun but I live near Baltimore and wife is ill, so couldn’t make the long drive. The Skillman Ave. area is where most of us Skillmans got our start beginning in 1664 when New Amsterdam became New York and my 7th great grandfather was given land in the area due to serving with the Nichols Expedition that convinced Peter Stuyvesant to surrender without a shot fired.

Funnyside, Queens

All I know is I live in The Phipps & saw no ads in all six blocks from there to PS11. Would’ve loved to bring my child had some local light posts had an ad or two in English. Maybe more on-street advertising next season☺??

Dorothy Morehead

There was a line of children to see Santa Claus from the time he arrived at 6:30 until 7:30.

Cracky Pants

I think Skillman needs a Prada boutique, but the gentrification is starting well already and I will be looking for the French bubbly on the street. Bring it on!


The avenue is closed from 43-51st…wish they would have left the holiday light on 43rd street then as it has always been instead of moving it further up Skillman. I guess if you don’t live in the Gardens you don’t matter…

Cranky Pants

“We want to make Skillman somewhere everyone wants to go out and have a drink or a bite to eat, to go shopping, and really just get in to spirit of the holidays,” Clancy said.

Because the spirit of the holiday’s is commerce, right?


in ‘Merika, it always is. the dollar has always been the holy wine and spirits. can i get an ay-men? lol


Sounds like fun! I’ll make it a point to support our neighborhood . Now, this I don’t mind moving my car at 8am on a Saturday for, it’s that useless and costly street cleaning that kills me!!!


It’s so disappointing to constantly hear gripping about parking. You don’t own the streets. It’s a public space and you should be grateful. Go pay for parking if you’re unhappy.

Celebrate my @$$ its about $$$

Definitely leave the area Saturday. Drunk santas stumbling around, a lame light lighting celebration. Its over johnny


I’m participating. I’ve been involved for weeks now and will not make a cent. So, stay home. Scrooges tend to bring everyone’s spirits down.


I am not sure what happened to you when you were little boy or a girl, but you grew up to be a miserable ass hole.


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