If you weren’t already convinced that you should try to shop locally this holiday season, then Sunday’s Holiday market put on by the South Riverdale Merchants Association and Kingsbridge-Riverdale-Van Cortlandt Development Corporation should have been all the prodding you needed.
Parents greeted each other in the streets. Children who go to school together had the unprecedented chance to pet goats in their neighborhood together. Meanwhile, families spent money that they likely would have otherwise doled out elsewhere on a beautiful spring-like Sunday, right on Riverdale Avenue.
The cyclical nature of commerce spent where it would be reinvested was right there before our eyes, as were the people who benefit from a robust local economy.
Shop owners, who already knew many of the festival’s attendees, stood out in the street and greeted their neighbors.
Riverdale Avenue — with new popular eateries that include Greek Express (soon to expand), Corner Café, Yo Burger, Tin Marin, Generico’s and Tiny’s Diner — has experienced a resurgence in recent years. Ha Makolet, a market with prepared foods, as well as fresh ingredients, has also been added to the mix.
Old classics like Salvatores of Soho seem to have only benefited from the rising tide that has raised all ships. And the group effort of the more than 30 participants on the two-block stretch was a testament to that concept.
Those who work at the new play space Kidaroo got to show off their prowess with children, who were crouched over their drawings on the blocked off street. John’s Botany Bay’s decorative wreaths lined the Avenue.
By the end of the event, vendors helped pack up the stage and put away the fold-out chairs used to feature local musicians, who on other days would perform at other local establishments. Linda Manning, who has been instrumental in bringing jazz nights and musical events to the area, organized a talented lineup — no cover charge this time — that played for free and lingered on the stage to support the next act.
Sunday’s was a scene to remember as the shopping season gets fully underway. Even if a particular item costs a little bit more at a local shop than at a big box store, consider the gift you are giving to yourself and your community by reinvesting here — not only in the stores but in the art, the ingenuity and the people — who are likewise invested in a robust community.