On Friday December 7, our Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony took place. The weather was drizzly with intermittent rain, but in spite of the inclement weather we had a big crowd in attendance. Wearing their red velvet Santa hats, these hearty Woodhavenites were there for the duration.
As always, Loretta and her family were there front and center, as they have been every year, even during the snowstorm of 2003. It was good to see them there again. The Woodhaven Business Improvement District ceremony then began.
The Color Guard from Franklin K. Lane H.S. presented the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Then I made a statement regarding Hurricane Sandy and the destruction and sadness she brought to our Queens. But “that we will survive and we will rebuild for we in New York City are strong and we have a spirit that can not be broken”
All agreed by clapping and cheering. I then explained Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. After the statement there was a symbolic lighting of the Menorah. All of the children delighted in the bright lights of the Menorah and all said “Happy Chanukah.”
“Twas the Night Before Christmas” was recited (with the assistance of the little and big voices in the crowd) by Stephen Esposito, GWDC president and WBID board member.
In attendance were our very supportive Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Seth Bornstein executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. a great friend of Woodhaven. He was accompanied by one of his twin daughters, who is now 22 years old, and last attended our ceremony when she was six, and our new commanding officer of the our 102nd Precinct, Captain Henry Sautner. All conveyed their best wishes to Woodhaven for a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and a wonderful holiday season.
Then it was time to meet our costumed characters, who were introduced by Paul Rudolph Jr., WBID Board Member, Seth Bornstein and Steve Esposito: Christmas Mouse, Christmas Rabbit, Shrek, Frosty the Snowman, our old friend Rudolph, and the stars of the evening, Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The children and all in attendance were so happy to see them.
Santa commenced with the countdown so that we could light our Christmas Tree, which replaces our real Christmas tree, which was named 4th Best Tree in the City by the Daily News and was the only real tree named, that was lost to Sandy. Santa and the crowd chanted the numbers 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1. Then our Christmas Tree, this being the WBID’s gift to you in our Forest Parkway Plaza, was lit.
All of the children wearing their Santa hats, courtesy of the WBID, and those young at heart cheered. All were thanked for attending. Especially with a big thank you to our 102nd Precinct commanding officer and our 102nd Precinct police officers and the auxiliary police.
Then all joined in singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Jingle Bells.” Requested was that everyone lift the red, white, and blue glowsticks and our small American flags that the WBID had distributed, and it was stated let us remember our brave armed forces that are not with us this evening and are fighting for our freedom.
Then I led in the singing of “God Bless America.” It was a great evening, our “Holiday Weekend” kickoff event was a great success and enjoyed by all the young and young at heart!
Now don’t forget the Woodhaven Business Improvement District sponsors during the month of December, Santa and friends at our Forest Parkway Plaza area (weather permitting) off Jamaica Avenue taking free – yes, no charge pictures – with our little ones, plus distributing goodies on Saturday, December 15, and December 22 from 1 to 4 p.m.. On these Saturdays look for Santa again riding in his sleigh along Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue, which is now 98 percent graffiti vandalism free and cleaned seven days a week.
Please shop Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue for the holidays. In my next article, I will give you highlights from our very overcast and wet Welcome Santa to Woodhaven Parade.
Also, on Friday, December 7, we must remember it was the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing and the lives lost on this “A day that will live in infamy.”
May God bless the brave honorable men and women of our armed forces fighting for our way of life, especially at this time of year so far away from home, and may God bless our America.