NEW YORK - In year's past, the decorations that went up over Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint were a given every holiday season. But this year, some are worried that the streets will remain as bare as you see them today because of the toll the pandemic has taken on small businesses.
"Most of the money, if not all of it, has come from the businesses with few and far between coming from individual donations" said Bess White, one of the organizers behind a GoFundMe campaign to encourage more individual donations.
What You Need To Know
- Bess White is one of the organizers behind a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the lights after realizing COVID-impacted businesses couldn't be relied on to foot the bill
- The campaign is hoping to raise at least $20,000 to install lights along Manhattan Avenue
- She says most, if not all, of the money to pay for the lights came from local businesses in past years
The plan is to raise enough to bring back the beloved "Welcome to Greenpoint" display that she looks forward to seeing every year. She says her fundraising partner took a poll of businesses in the area and realized funds were low.
"I think that there was a lot of sadness expressed by their inability to be able to contribute this year as they've always done," said White, who called it "sadness on top of an already frustrating and trying year for them."
And so, White says they set their goal at a modest $20,000.
"The $20,000 is to get the lights up, like that's the bare minimum. The amount of lights that we're used to seeing in our neighborhood is $40,000."
We reached out to a number of business improvement districts throughout the city. Many of them reported that they've had to scale back their holiday plans. But, Bess says even the smallest amount of holiday cheer in Greenpoint will make a big difference in a year that's been so hard on so many.
"This has been such a dark year already, the last thing we need is more darkness up and down the main thoroughfare,” said White.
So far they've reached more than half of their goal and hope to bring as many lights to Greenpoint as their fundraising will support.