A Tree Glows on Beach 116th

 A Tree Glows on Beach 116th

Story and Photos
By Katie McFadden

Beach 116th is looking a bit brighter with all of the holiday lights hanging high above the street and its newly lit Christmas tree. On Monday, December 4, the community gathered at the commercial corridor to celebrate the annual Beach 116th Street Christmas Tree Lighting.

This year’s lighting included tables with goodies for all, including cookies, popcorn, hot chocolate, hats and gloves, chocolate, light up toys and more. Kids were also able to enjoy face painting and photo opportunities with Santa Claus himself. The evening also included some fabulously festive performances by the P.S. 114 Chorus which sang tunes like “Reindeer Jive,” “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and “Holiday Road.” Then St. Francis de Sales’ Choir broke out some classics such as “Frosty the Snowman,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” for the crowd to sing along to in anticipation of the tree being lit.

Before the lighting, Pastor Garry Patrylo of House on the Rock Church, who sang some religious Christmas music, led a prayer and reminded everyone of the true reason for the season—the birth of Jesus Christ. A nativity scene set up by the Knights of Columbus in front of the tree will also serve as a reminder throughout the Christmas season.

Councilwoman Joann Ariola, whose office helped organize the event, thanked others who made it possible including the Rockaway Civic Association and the Beach 116th Merchants Association, especially Rob Pisani, Matt Mazzone, Mike McMahon and Michael Fiore. She also thanked her office staff, the FDNY, NYPD and the local schools for coming out to perform.

The councilwoman also took time to announce that this year’s tree is dedicated to Arthur Keane, who passed away this week. Despite his father passing away, Richie Keane was out in the rain earlier in the week, decorating the tree to make sure it was ready in time for Monday’s lighting.

“This is a wonderful event and we’re just going to keep on growing and keep getting bigger. Merry Christmas to all!” Councilwoman Joann Ariola said to the crowd before a countdown was led and the tree was lit for the season.

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