Culture, Food, Community Spirit and Lots of Fun Showcased the Best of Brooklyn on Sunday, October 3, 2021

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Contact: Michelle Karshan, Communications Consultant

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Report on the 46th Annual Atlantic Antic Festival

Culture, Food, Community Spirit and Lots of Fun Showcased the Best of Brooklyn on Sunday, October 3, 2021

Ninth Annual Atlantic Avenue Ambassador Award Presented to Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez

Brooklyn, New York – October 18, 2021 – This year’s 46th Annual Atlantic Antic™, was held on Sunday, October 3 from noon to 6pm. Once again, magically blessed by perfect weather, Brooklynites and others came out for Brooklyn’s oldest, largest and most culturally diverse street festival held annually on Atlantic Avenue running through four charming neighborhoods — Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and downtown Brooklyn.

Celebrating the successful and fun-filled return of the Atlantic Antic™, this year served as a celebration of community and a welcoming to the rich diversity and creativity of Brooklynites and beyond.

Founded in 1974 by Howard Lewis and Harry Reid, the Atlantic Antic™ has been held every year since except twice when it had to be canceled in 2001, immediately following the attack on the World Trade Center, and in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brooklyn Boro President, Eric Adams, said in his official newsletter, “After such a challenging period…the return of the Antic is a wonderful opportunity to support our small business community and spend quality time with our neighbors.”

Usually, attendance at the Antic is approximately 800,000, but 400,000 showing up this year was more than expected and cause for celebration. Families, neighbors, old and new friends — and their dogs –strolled the more than one-mile-long open street bazaar.

Two-hundred and fifty vendors, showcasing their food, artisana, art, jewelry, fashion, beauty products, handcrafts, toys, international food booths, and community and cultural institutions, were interspersed with ten live stages with a wide-range of music and dance performances. Marching bands added theatrical and musical fun along the avenue.

Summed up beautifully, and written in poetic praise, Nick Birnback, Chief of the Strategic Communications Section in the United Nations Department of Peace Operations, wrote on his personal Twitter account: Beautiful Brooklyn, locally owned and harvest retail therapy, autumn skies, yummy global eats and joyful musical mayhem; must be #atlanticantic time!

Grace, who at age 4 attended the first Atlantic Antic™ in 1974, visited her favorite Atlantic Avenue clothing, jewelry and décor stores as well as shopping at stalls and enjoying traditional and international foods along the way.

There was food for every taste at the Antic™. One food enthusiast was fascinated by a booth that read “Southern Food with a Korean Twist.”

The enchanting and historic Middle Eastern enclave of businesses on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights, still draws fans from near and far to their restaurants, bakeries, specialty foods, musical instruments, spices and other imports. During the Antic™, the street is a major attraction when classical Middle Eastern orchestras accompanied by belly dancers perform on the Main Stage. The energetic Dabke Group dancers performed their middle eastern dance on stage as well as in the street encouraging others to join in.

Tribeca Pediatrics, who now has three offices in Brooklyn including in Boerum Hill, had a booth to publicize their locations. Zakiya, who was manning their booth described the Antic™ as having “really positive energy.”

CURÀA, a new store on the avenue, explained their participation on the day of the Antic, “I think it is integral to learn about the community, [and] let them know that you are here.”

Fun activities for all ages and interests entertained all including sports areas for soccer and basketball enthusiasts and oodles of activities for children. The Kids Zone, sponsored by Weill Cornell Medicine included ponies, bouncy house, crafts, and LEGO building presented by Brooklyn Bridge Parents. Participating for the first time, children joyfully gathered around the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Tweens and teenagers had their own stage where KIDS ROCK FOR KIDS, sponsored by Alloy brought back music from the nineties.

Shopping, eating, people watching, and celebrity spotting were the sports of the day. Girls on the Run NYC, a not-for-profit organization empowering the next generation of girls with skills needed to stand in their own strength, remarked online following the October 3rd Antic, “We had a great time at Atlantic Antic…meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones!” They added that they “…even met Diane Dixon, a Brooklyn native who won a gold medal in the 4×400 meters relay in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles!”

Still true to Ethan Kent’s observation about public space use made in his article entitled Street Renaissance Antics on Atlantic Avenue in 2006 in nyc.streetsblog.org, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a place where as diverse a range of people and activities are brought together in such a natural and comfortable way.”

As one of this year’s Antic™ sponsors, Brooklyn SolarWorks said about this year’s Antic™, “What a way to kick off October!”

Atlantic Avenue, from Fourth Avenue to Hicks Street, already enjoys a wide range of eclectic stores and restaurants – many who enjoy regularly being featured in the media. Many stores and restaurants used the opportunity to connect with the public by having a booth in front of their businesses.

One woman, when asked why she attends the Atlantic Antic™, enthusiastically answered that, “This is the most eclectic, upscale, farmers’ market that you’d ever run into — from the vendors to the food, the jewelry, the clothes. The people are so friendly!”

Weaving their way in and out of Antic festivities and local shops and restaurants, the streets were vibrant with dance classes –including salsa and line dancing– pop-up performances, and politicians eager to speak with constituents ahead of upcoming New York City elections.

In addition to calling this year’s Antic triumphant, Brooklyn’s District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez, wrote online, “I had a great time connecting with local residents and providing important information about the work of the DA’s Office.”

The Ninth Annual Atlantic Avenue Ambassador Award

The AALDC presented its Ninth Annual Atlantic Avenue Ambassador Award to U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. 

Since 2011, the AALDC has presented Atlantic Avenue Ambassador Awards to exceptionally outstanding leaders in the community, or business persons, who have contributed to enhancing the cultural and economic development of Atlantic Avenue and its surrounding areas.

In 1992, Congresswoman Velázquez was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Velázquez currently serves as Representative for New York’s 7th Congressional District and is the Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, and a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She also sits on half a dozen other subcommittees including the House Committee on Natural Resources.

AALDC President, Nat Rubin, thanked Atlantic Avenue merchants, Brooklyn vendors and corporate sponsors of this year’s Atlantic Antic™. Special thanks also went to CityMD for sponsoring the Community Stage, Weill Cornell Medicine for the Kids Zone and Two Trees for the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.

Rubin added, “The Antic does not only bring visibility and foot traffic to Atlantic Avenue, but also income from the Antic is re-invested into our smaller events throughout the year such as our Holiday, ArtWalk, Spring Fling and Pride activities.”

Acknowledging the tireless efforts that went into making this Antic a shining success, Rubin gave praise, “I would like to wholeheartedly thank our Executive Director Howard Kolins and AALDC staff for all the work they’ve done for this event and others over this past crazy year. Your passion and energy for your work and this community is breathtaking. Thank you!,”

In conferring the 9th Annual Atlantic Avenue Ambassador’s Award title to Velázquez, Rubin praised the hard work undertaken by Congresswoman Velázquez on behalf of working families adding that, “Through blood, sweat and tears, everyday working families, businesses and communities have built this country, and they need to be paid back by this country through improving essential parts of life, like housing, healthcare, education and childcare.”

Adding that Velázquez,“…who, with sensibility and compassion, fights every day in Washington for the equal rights of the underrepresented and [for] economic opportunity for the working class and poor.”

“This is a small token of our appreciation for what you do for our street and neighborhood as well as all the other communities you represent in District 7, from Sunset Park to Woodhaven.”

In accepting the Ambassador Award, Velázquez praised the AALDC for taking such an active role in providing assistance to small businesses, who she added, “represent the fabric of who we are — Atlantic Avenue is a microcosm of what New York City is all about.”

“There is no better reward than being here and seeing the many faces that make NYC a strong city. Here in New York City we give a lesson to the nation. We embrace diversity and we know that in diversity there is strength. We have proven this time and time again.”

Naming the honorees that proceeded her, Sahadi’s owner, Charlie Sahadi; District Attorney Charles Hynes; Assembly Member Joan Millman; the AALDC Co-Vice President at the time and  community leader Sue Wolfe;  Council Member Stephen Levin; Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon;  New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery; and Martha Kamber, CEO and President of the YWCA, Velázquez added that it is an “honor to be in the company of great leaders.”

Following the award ceremony, Public Advocate of New York City, Jumaane D. Williams, talked briefly about inequities exposed by the pandemic, declaring that, “We cannot go back to normal.” Instead, he said, “we have to come back better than normal” by strengthening infrastructures to make them equitable. To help end the pandemic, Williams urged everyone to get vaccinated as well as to wear their masks.

For this year’s Antic, Adam Suerte, famed artist, designed an Atlantic Antic™ centric commemorative t-shirt featuring his famous tattoo-style art, which quickly sold out. Contact the AALDC to purchase a t-shirt.

 

The 46th Atlantic Antic in the Time of a Pandemic

As usual, the AALDC took health and safety precautions, but also took into consideration COVID-19 concerns by incorporating public health messaging in its advertising. Through social media, they advised the public of necessary protocols and that the AALDC would make hand sanitizer and masks available at their two booths on each end of the festival. Additionally, the AALDC  Event Street Team handed out masks throughout the event.

Health partners and sponsors had their booths and mobile units spaced throughout the avenue that included informational materials, HIV testing, COVID testing, COVID vaccination info and scheduling.

Further, the AALDC spaced vendors apart to prevent congestion and NYC health and fire inspectors checked all food vendor stalls to make sure they were compliant on normal safety issues such as food and fire safety as well as COVID-19 precautions regarding spacing and protection of food.

The AALDC hired an ambulance for the event that remained ready at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street in case of any accidents.  Fortunately, it was not used and there were no incidents throughout the event known to the AALDC.

Sponsors of the 46th Annual Atlantic Antic Festival: NYU Langone Health, CityMD, Con Edison, Mount Sinai Doctors-Brooklyn Heights, MetroPlus Health, Gramercy Pediatric Dentistry, Crunch Fitness, Brooklyn SolarWorks, NYC Ferry, Alloy, Changing Tomorrow Academy, Dodge YMCA, and more. This year’s Media Sponsors include Schneps Media, Brooklyn Paper, Park Slope Courier, The Villager, Caribbean Life, QNS, amMETRO, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, BRIC, Brooklyn Free Speech, SaveMor Digital Printing, and TGI Office Automation.

Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation: The Atlantic Antic™ is the signature event of the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation (AALDC), a nonprofit organization, furthering economic development, historic preservation, and cultural enrichment in the greater Atlantic Avenue area. The AALDC provides information, advocacy, produces events and projects that promote economic growth and vitality, for the preservation and development in downtown Brooklyn and neighboring communities.

For more information: www.atlanticave.org, email: pr@atlanticave.org or telephone: 718-875-8993

 

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