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Queens Chronicle

Lights going up on Cross Bay again

After long absence, decorations return to Howard Beach boulevard

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:29 pm, Thu Nov 21, 2019.

For the first time in at least 14 years, Christmas lights are going up on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach.

Workers started last weekend hanging displays across the boulevard from 156th to 165th avenues last weekend.

The displays will not be lit until sometime during the week of Thanksgiving, said Doreen DeCandia, one of the four women who organized the street decorations on behalf of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy.

The display is being financed by a number of backers, including city funds from Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the Howard Beach Kiwanis, local businesses and private donors.

“Most financial contributions ranged from $100 to $1,100,” DeCandia said in an email. “Some gave more; others gave less. But we were thrilled with the response, regardless of the amount donated.”

The last time Cross Bay had holiday lights was 2005, when they were sponsored by the Columbus Day Foundation, the longtime civic group behind the community’s annual Italian heritage parade, DeCandia said.

Four Howard Beach women — Kelly Sinisgalli, Camille Adamo, Mary Griffith and DeCandia — got the ball rolling on bringing lights back to the boulevard.

“Other neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens mark the holiday season with community decorations, and we thought Howard Beach should be no different,” DeCandia said.

“It’s a wonderful way to make the holiday season a little brighter and bring some cheer to the fantastic neighborhood we call home.”

Elaborate Christmas light displays are not exactly a rarity in Howard Beach.

Private homeowners go all out during the holiday season to decorate their homes, even attracting comments from airline passengers who can catch a glimpse of the elaborate light show as their night flights take off and arrive at JFK International Airport.

The organizers made note that the lights did not serve as a fundraiser for Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy.

It is a community event,” said DeCandia.

“Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy has been an integral part of the Howard Beach community for more than 95 years.

“We value our strong ties to the neighborhood and are committed to working with local residents and businesses to enhance the quality of life for all who live, work and visit our wonderful neighborhood.”

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