Written by Paige McAtee, email@example.com Saturday, 21 December 2013 00:00
Members of the community gathered together to celebrate the Christmas tree lighting celebration held by the Western Property Owners Association (WPOA).
Guests were put into the holiday spirit with singing, dancing, and hot beverages. The tree lighting took place at the park between Plattsdale Road and the New Hyde Park Road Shopping District on Friday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.
“We like to have the Christmas Tree lighting here to bring unity here between the businesses on New Hyde Park Road and its residents,” said Jonathon Kashimer, president of the Garden City Western Property Owner’s Association.
“The WPOA is a community-based organization that represents the resident of the western section of Garden City,” explained Kashimer. “We deal with village issues and help residents resolve their issues that they have here in the village.”
Two singers, Gabriella Pulice and Alessandra Mannino, sang Christmas tunes throughout the event.
“We sang last year at the tree lighting, and we were asked to sing again this year.” said Pulice.
Pulice, a junior at West Hempstead High School, sang “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Santa Baby,” and “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.” Mannino, a junior at H. Frank Carey High School, sang “O Holy Night,” and “Last Christmas.”
“We’ve been doing the tree lighting for a number of years now,“ said Kashimer, who remarked that he has been organizing the event for about three years.
“The western side of Garden City is kind of unique,” said Kashimer. “We actually have a small business section. This is a time for us to get to know each other with the business community here. And to work together and to celebrate the holidays.”
The three major sponsors of the tree lighting event were Galleria Restaurant and Pizzeria, Honestly Delicious, and Broadway Bound Dance Center.
Ernie Pulice, the owner of Gallery Restaurant and Pizzeria, and father of one of the singers of the event, Gabriella Pulice, has been helping out at the tree lighting for the past five years.
“Ernie has been very helpful with the sound, the electricity, and also helping organize the event,” said Kashimer.
Workers at Honestly Delicious provided hot chocolate to guests, and the dancers at Broadway Bound performed three dances at the tree lighting celebration.
“We were fortunate to have them lend their talents and abilities to help us here today,” said Kashimer of the Broadway Bound dancers.
The dancers, ages 6 through 11, performed two ballet numbers and a hip-hop number. Despite the cold weather, the dancers were still very excited to perform. “They were so enthusiastic,” said Debbie Tavernese, the owner and director of Broadway Bound Dance Center.
“We were very happy to be a part of the community and the tree lighting,” said Tavernese. “I told the girls that it is important that we support the community by doing community service.”
It was Broadway Bound’s third year being involved in the tree lighting. The dance center was also celebrating its 10th year being located in Garden City.
While Pulice was singing, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the last song of the evening, the power went out and all of the lights on the Christmas tree went dark.
Only a few minutes had passed by until Santa Claus saved the day. Santa Claus came through on a fire truck provided by Garden City Fire Department, and proceeded to take pictures and greet everyone at the event.