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Stavisky, mayor light downtown Flushing for holidays

Mr. Met and Santa Claus share the stage at the Flushing BID's annual holiday lighting ceremony with area children and state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (back row from r.) state Sen. Toby Stavisky and city Councilman Peter Koo. Photo by Christina Santucci
By Connor Adams Sheets

Santa Claus and Mayor Michael Bloomberg came to town Monday evening to join the Flushing Business Improvement District in front of the Roosevelt Avenue Macy’s and symbolically ring in the start of this year’s holiday shopping season.

The event, which began with the lighting of downtown Flushing’s holiday lights, was a chance for officials, children, shoppers and jolly old St. Nicholas to join together in support of holiday cheer and the bottom lines of area businesses both large and small.

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) got in the Christmas spirit by first asking the many children who attended whether they had been naughty or nice. But she then got down to business, joining a succession of politicians who took the opportunity to help boost the commercial options available right in the heart of Flushing.

“Let’s all have a wonderful holiday season. We thank the BID and Macy’s and everybody else for putting this together,” she told the crowd. “It brings everybody to celebrate the holidays.”

Young children were wowed as the lights sprang alive, and they were all excited about the prospect of the beloved holiday.

As many children tend to be when the prospect of Christmas first appears on the horizon, even before Advent calendars are purchased, Glen Aguilar, 10, was most excited about presents — those he hopes to receive and, more surprisingly, those he plans to give.

“I’m mostly excited about Christmas each night when it’s almost the 25th because you get to open presents,” he explained. “I haven’t done my Christmas shopping yet. I’m waiting until Black Friday. I’m going to go to GameStop right across the street.”

Even the young Aguilar appeared to have absorbed the message James McClelland, chief of staff for City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing), said was a major component of the event: the importance of shopping in Flushing.

“The mayor, in conjunction with a lot of elected officials, is trying to encourage people to shop locally,” McClelland explained. “It helps boost sales at small businesses. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars — just patronize the local shops.”

Katherine Pineda, 8, of Flushing, did not buy into the commercial aspect of the event, instead choosing, in a manner far wiser than her years, to focus on the part even the Grinch eventually came to acknowledge as the spirit of Christmas: the selfless fun of being with the people you love.

“I don’t want anything for Christmas. I just want to have a good Christmas with my family and to be jolly and not be so greedy with my brother,” she said.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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