Annual Sunday Stroll draws crowds to Bell Boulevard

By Madina Toure

Bayside residents and families, along with elected officials, enjoyed music, games and various activities at the third annual Bayside Village BID Sunday Stroll last weekend.

The event, held between 39th and 41st avenues on Bell Boulevard Sept. 27, consisted of penny carnival games, bounce rides and sports such as basketball. There were also performances by students at the Robert Mann Dance Center, the Queens Dance Project and the bands Soul R&B, Revivers and Chicken Head.

The stroll was sponsored by state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), the city Department of Transportation, the carnival company Send in the Clowns Entertainment and the Bayside Little League.

“It’s kind of a little bit more than a block party, but it’s not the old-school fair that used to be on Bell Boulevard 20 years ago,” said Lyle Sclair, the Bayside Village BID’s executive director.

Queens Borough Melinda Katz and Braunstein gave a trophy to the Bayside Little League Rebels and a certificate of merit to each member.

Katz said she is a fan of the businesses on Bell Boulevard, having celebrated her 50th birthday at Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse at 39-40 Bell Blvd.

“We are here today not only for this great Sunday Stroll,” she said. “I love the businesses.”

Braunstein said his office began sponsoring the event last year.

“It’s nice to shut down the boulevard,” he said.

Volunteers from Holy Cross HS in Flushing and the Bayside HS chapter of the Key Club, an international student-led community service organization, helped set up the event.

“It’s a community event, so it’s nice to help out in the Bayside community,” said Steven Jacoby, director of student engagement at Bayside HS, who serves as the adviser for the Key Club.

David Solano, vice president of the Friends of Bayside High School, a community and alumni association, said the event helps keep neighbors united.

“A community event is a good thing to show that you’re a close-knit community,” Solano said.

Bayside resident Leslie Falabella, 35, came to the event for the first time with her 18-month-old son and her husband. She said the stroll seemed appealing now that her son is old enough to participate in activities such as the bounce house.

“I like it,” Falabella said. “I think it’s good for the neighborhood to come out, support each other.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.