NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The spirit of Christmas looked dim in a Brooklyn neighborhood. An annual holiday light display was in jeopardy until someone stepped in to spread holiday cheer.
Sonny Mukhopadhyay a 39-year-old real estate broker, was born and raised in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He said the holiday season has always been his favorite time of year.
“It used to be brightly lit for Christmas. Very jovial, happy — then the last couple of years there were no Christmas lights, and it got kinda, and it didn’t feel like Christmas as much,” he said.
Donna Siafakas, owner of Peter Pan Donut and Pastry Shop said she’s tried desperately to bring back holiday lights on Manhattan Ave.
“I remember even as a child what it looked like. You were in awe when you walked up the block,” she said, “When certain people that used to take care of the lights, their businesses closed, unfortunately the lights went with them.”
Siafakas and Nick Giannios of Greenpoint Florist had been encouraging business owners to chip in, but couldn’t raise enough donations to foot the bill.
Last week, Sonny showed up at the bakery with a surprise to revive the Manhattan Ave light display.
“He’s like an angel,” Siafakas said, “This gentleman came and handed me a check for $20,000. And when I looked at it, I tell you. I almost fell on the floor.”
“The community has been so good to me over the years that I actually feel I owe it something,’ Sonny said.
Word of Sonny’s generosity has spread like wildfire.
It’s inspiring other people in the neighborhood including business owners not on Manhattan Ave. to contribute money as well.
Sonny is looking forward to the first day the street is lit up.
“A return to childhood. Just the way things used to be. Things that I missed, and I know that people will be happy, so that’s actually the most important thing to me,” he said.
Organizers said the donations have now exceeded their expectations. They hope to use the additional funds to pay for a lighting ceremony, and perhaps a visit from Santa.