It was cut by half last year, but the organizers of the controversial Fresh Pond Road Street Festival want to make the late-summer street fair in Ridgewood four days long once again.
For 23 years, the Fresh Pond Road Street Festival — which is sponsored by the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens — has requested a four-day permit to operate along a five-block stretch of Fresh Pond Road, from Woodbine Street to Menahan Street. The Federazione is requesting this year’s festival run from Thursday, Sept. 7, through Sunday, Sept. 10.
Last year, however, the festival was dropped to only two days due to planned construction on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge at the intersection of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue on the Ridgewood/Middle Village border — which has still not begun.
In recent years, residents on and around Fresh Pond Road have taken issue with the festival’s length, citing traffic jams and loss of parking spots as some of the reasons they want to see the street fair shortened.
“We put in for the four days as we have for the past 23 years,” said Lucy Dolce of the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens. “We just feel that it’s better for us and better for the community to do the four days. Not monetarily. We don’t make much money and whatever money we make goes back into the community through the service we provide. Last year, the reason the city gave us the two days was because of construction. So we applied like we always do and we will see what happens.”
When asked if the construction at the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge will play a part in deciding the length of this year’s festival, Dolce said the Federazione is taking a “wait and see” approach.
“We really don’t know at this point, maybe the construction will be done by then,” Dolce said. “So we are just taking it one day at a time and we will see what happens.”
Dolce also went on to defend the event from allegations of violence at previous festivals. In 2008, a man was arrested and charged with attempted murder following a shooting on a side street near the festival.
“We are not allowed to do anything at all without the proper permits from the agencies involved,” Dolce said. “If there were any problems, the police department wouldn’t allow it. We have an unblemished record. We have no violations, nothing, with anyone.”
There are five other street festivals to be voted on by CB 5:
- Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (RLDC) Myrtle Avenue Festival on Myrtle Avenue between Wyckoff Avenue and Fresh Pond Road (11 blocks), on Sunday, April 9, closing the streets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
- Metropolitan Avenue Festival on Metropolitan Avenue between 73rd Place and 79th Street (five blocks), on Sunday, April 30, with street closures from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
- Myrtle Avenue Festival in Ridgewood on Myrtle Avenue between Fresh Pond Road and Forest Avenue (four blocks), on Sunday, July 23, with street closures from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.;
- Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District’s (BID) Myrtle Avenue Festival along Myrtle Avenue between Wyckoff Avenue and Fresh Pond Road (11 blocks), on Sunday, Sept. 17, with street closures from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and
- Maspeth Chamber of Commerce-Lions-Kiwanis Grand Avenue Festival on Grand Avenue between 65th Street and 72nd Street, on Sunday, Oct. 8, with street closures from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.