Dec. 2, 2010 By Christian Murray
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer switched on the Skillman Ave. holiday lights on Wednesday night, which were erected for the first time between 45th and 51st Streets.
A group of about 80 people gathered across the street from Aubergine Café on 50th Street and Skillman Ave. at 6:30pm to be part of the ceremony—despite the fact that the neighborhood had been blanketed by wind and rain for most of the day.
“Many people called our office today nervous about the weather,” Van Bramer said during the event. “But I said, ‘it never rains in Sunnyside – or Woodside for that matter.’”
Van Bramer said he was a big supporter of the lights since they bring the holiday spirit to the neighborhood. Additionally, “they’re good for small businesses, since they bring foot traffic- and businesses need our support.”
There have already been calls to extend the lights on Skillman farther west to 43rd Street– and all the way east past 52nd Street next year. Father Brian Dowd, who is the leader of the Queen of Angels RC church, is a strong advocate for their extension, Van Bramer said.
The project was brought together by the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Van Bramer’s office.
Ira Goldberg, president of the Chamber, and Tim Chen, who was the chamber’s main organizer, both expressed how it took a lot of work to complete the project since there were permit issues, city funding rules and complex electrical work that had to get done.
On Tuesday night, there was a holiday tree lighting in Sabba Park, at 50th Street and Queens Blvd., that featured Santa, Christmas carolers and the Sunnyside Drum Corps.