By Carrie Ann Salvi
“Stroll around and meet your neighbor … a big block party to close out summer,” Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said Saturday at the start of New Hyde Park Community Day.
The party in Memorial Park replaced the annual street fair on Jericho Turnpike due to LIRR construction on New Hyde Park Road, logistics and safety concerns.
While the event was notably and intentionally smaller, sponsors compensated with blow-up fun for children and free gelato for the first 1,000 attendees.
Residents enjoyed the green grass, live music and fenced in arena decorated with banners from local summer campers.
Live music and theatrical performances on the main stage and a secondary grassed area included the Magic of Amore, the Holy Spirit Players and the New Hyde Park Children’s Theater.
The fenced-in community park was lined with vendors and autumn colors.
The New Hyde Park Baptist Church offered booth visitors material and spiritual gifts.
“We are sharing the gospel of Jesus with the community,” said Nicole Defreitas as another volunteer tied a beaded bracelet on a woman’s wrist.
Northwell Health staff handed out stress-reducing squeeze balls and dozens more giveaways. Various departments also offered health tips and screenings.
Keeping those not in attendance in mind too, Northwell’s mental health department invited residents of all ages to make cards for veterans overseas.
Janet Bevers, the deputy mayor, encouraged the crowd too.
“Let’s let our veterans know we love them, that we haven’t forgotten about them,” she said.
Glenn Schifano, a 20-year music therapist, has helped many in need, too.
Seated behind his keyboard, the lead singer of His Boy Elroy said the band was co-created 28 years ago in a community that loves music, sports and charity.
“New Hyde Park is the best place to grow up,” he said.