CB5 votes against Ridgewood street festival

By Gabriel Rom

For the second year in a row, Community Board 5 has recommended that the application for the annual Fresh Pond Road Italian Festival in Ridgewood be denied.

The application, which was submitted by the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens, requested a four-day festival that would take place in September 2016.

The festival has been a mainstay of central Queens’ festival circuit since the early aughts.

The recommendation to deny the application, which was made at Community Board 5’s monthly meeting Feb. 10 in Middle Village, received 27 votes of approval, with eight opposing it. The Executive Committee, which had voted to approve the festival last year, voted against it this year.

“The change in population in our community is a major reason,” said Vincent Arcuri, CB5’s chairman. “There are newer residents who aren’t accustomed to having to deal with this for four days on Myrtle Avenue.”

According to Arcuri, over the past three years there have been significant demographic changes to the area, specifically an influx of “old-time Ridgewood Germans and Eastern-Europeans”

Additionally, major logistical concerns include rerouted buses and cars and a dearth of parking spaces for almost a full working week.

The Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office has the final say, however, on whether the festival is approved. Last year, CB 5 voted to deny the festival, but it was nevertheless approved by the mayor’s office and went on as originally planned.

The community board voted to approve applications for five other street festivals:

• Glendale Kiwanis Club Festival on Metropolitan Avenue between 73rd Place and 79th Street in Middle Village, for Sunday, April 24.

• Glendale Kiwanis Club’s Myrtle Avenue Festival of Ridgewood on Myrtle Avenue between Fresh Pond Road and Forest Avenue on Sunday, July 24.

• Maspeth Chamber of Commerce Lions Kiwanis’ Grand Avenue Festival on Grand Avenue between 65th Street and 72nd Street on Sunday, June 12.

• Ridgewood Myrtle Avenue Festival on Myrtle Avenue between Wyckoff Avenue and Fresh Pond Road on Sunday, April 17.

• Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District’s Myrtle Avenue Festival on Myrtle Avenue between Wyckoff Avenue and Fresh Pond Road on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.