Tuesday evening, Bushwick residents, business owners and elected officials gathered, danced and sang at Knickerbocker Plaza to celebrate Knickerbocker Avenue’s new holiday lights display. 

There are many reasons for celebration this holiday season, as 2021 marks the first time that holiday lights have hung over Bushwick’s Knickerbocker Avenue since the early 1980s.

The beautiful lights display, spanning from Myrtle Avenue to Flushing Avenue, gives some holiday spirit and energy to a commercial district that has been hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Among those who came out to celebrate were State Senator Julia Salazar, Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, Chair of Bushwick’s Community Board 4 Robert Camacho, Councilwoman Darma Diaz of District 37 and Salvatore Polizzi of Tony’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, who led the charge to bring the light display back to Knickerbocker Avenue. 

“This is a wonderful thing,” said Camacho. “As a Latino, we used to knock on peoples’ doors and sing when we were kids. You’d come over and you get food, eat and bring things. That’s what we used to do. And this is bringing back memories of when I was a child. People used to welcome you, no matter who you are. That’s what we need to do. We need to be together, especially during this rough time.”

For years, Polizzi had been unsuccessfully fighting to get a holiday lights display on Knickerbocker Avenue. This year, thanks to a partnership with Councilwoman Diaz and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the lights finally returned.

“This holiday lights initiative has been decades in the making, so it truly is a special feeling for us to be able to celebrate the wonderful moment together,” Polizzi wrote on Instagram

The holiday lights display is just the first step in Knickerbocker Avenue revitalization efforts. Currently, there are plans to create a “Bushwick is Beautiful” mural at Knickerbocker Plaza, which Polizzi previously explained to Bushwick Daily will be the “backdrop of a community arts renaissance for Knickerbocker Avenue and its respective graffiti laden storefronts from Myrtle to Flushing Avenues.”

All images and video: Alec Meeker

Additional reporting provided by Alec Meeker

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