Greenpointers chip in to deck out Manhattan Avenue for the holidays

Small companies in Greenpoint joined forces once more this 12 months to elevate cash for vacation decorations on Manhattan Avenue, a twist on a longtime custom on the busy business avenue.
“It is that time of year again where during the holiday season we as a community come together to make Greenpoint as special as we have always remembered,” wrote Donna Siafakas, proprietor of Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Store, on fundraising web site [1] GoFundMe. “For many years Manhattan Ave was lit up with street lights and decorations enticing shoppers and reminding the community of the beauty of Greenpoint.”
Manhattan Avenue had at all times been decked out for the vacation season, stated Nick Giannios, proprietor of the Greenpoint Floral Store, and it was native store homeowners who organized, took donations from their neighboring retailer homeowners, and paid for the lights.
However lots of them had been “old timers,” he stated, and as they retired or moved away, nobody took up the mantle, and there have been just a few years the place no decorations went up in Greenpoint.
Then, just a few years in the past, Siafkas had had sufficient of the barren streets, and paid for some decorations out of her personal pocket.
“She had a few strands of lights, last-minute type of thing, it was like Dec. 15 or something, and she just wanted to have something on because she just felt bad,” Giannios stated. “The next year, she came to me, she came to Ed and Herman and a couple other guys, and was like ‘Guys, the community was pretty upset last year that there weren’t that many lights.’”
So she, Giannios, Ed and Herman — the homeowners of Cato’s Military & Navy Retailer and Greenpoint Toys — and some different enterprise homeowners shaped a bit coalition to go out and collect donations from the companies up and down the thoroughfare.
By then, Giannios stated, it had been just a few years since folks had ponied up cash for the decorations, and plenty of had been hesitant, however they did it. Final 12 months, although, they had been feeling a bit responsible about prodding folks for donations. It was the center of the pandemic, pre-vaccine, and lots of people had been scuffling with low income and never a lot hope in sight.
Then, somebody recommended an internet fundraiser, the place the neighborhood may chip in.
“I mean, it was a lifesaver for us,” Giannios stated.
Neighbors had been very happy to ship in their donations giant and small, and, as a result of the name was circulating on-line and on social media, they began to get suggestions. Individuals liked the lights, they usually wished they’d develop a bit bit previous their regular northernmost level at Huron Avenue. The fundraiser had sufficient cash to do it, in order that they expanded just a few blocks additional than standard.

Greenpointers donated greater than $25,000 to enhance Manhattan Avenue for the holidays.Screenshot/GoFundMe

They determined to do it once more this 12 months, hoping for — and receiving — the identical outpouring of affection from Greenpointers.
The net fundraiser was posted on Oct. 28 with the purpose of elevating $30,000 for decorations — hundreds had been donated in the first weekend, and by early November, greater than $25,000 had been raised. Then, Siafkis posted an replace: store homeowners hoped the decorations can be hung and lit round Thanksgiving.
“There were people that contributed $500, $1,000, $2,000,” Giannios stated. “The majority of it was people just contributing less than $100 bucks, they wanted to do it just because they wanted to feel a part of it.”
Decorations are going up thanks to the $25,000 raised and extra funds contributed by enterprise homeowners, he stated. They set the purpose for $30,000, he stated, as a result of the metropolis’s transportation division stated they are going to be charging an electrical invoice for the decorations when all is claimed and performed.
“Supposedly, this year, they’re going to be a little more adamant about paying for the electric bill,” he stated. “That’s why we have the goal at $30,000. This way, at least, if we meet that, we’ll have some money to pay the electric bill, and, if it goes to that, we’ll have left over for next year to get started on that.”
Giannios has been working in the store, which used to belong to his sister and brother-in-law, because it opened in 1981, and has been working it since 1995. Seeing the small donations come in drives him to hold working towards elevating cash and adorning the neighborhood, he stated, particularly after they go away feedback reminiscing about the outdated days in Greenpoint.
“These are people that are 60, 70 years old now, and they reminisce about how they used to walk on the avenue, how they loved shopping there,” he stated. “Many of them couldn’t go into the city and see the Fifth Avenue lights and the Rockefeller Center lights. Walking down Manhattan Avenue, it was their little neighborhood pride.”


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