MAMARONECK, N.Y. - Like most who spent Thursday night on the section of Mamaroneck Avenue shut down for the second annual Mamaroneck Shares Block Party, Carlo Balsamo and his friends enjoyed the games, food and live music literally filling the streets.
Balsamo's ultimate destination was Molly Spillanes, where a live band played during the first of four block parties this summer, which all run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. While patrons could sit inside the bar, tables and chairs were set up in the middle of the street, as was the case for nearly every restaurant along Mamaroneck Avenue between Boston Post Road and Halstead Avenue.
"We are trying to showcase our local merchants," said Peggy Jackson, co-chair of Mamaroneck Shares, a group of local residents who organized the event, now in its second year. "Mamaroneck Shares is only open to Mamaroneck-based merchants and raises money for Mamaroneck-based charities."
Last year, Mamaroneck Shares held three block parties and pooled over $12,000 in donations for three charities. This year, all money raised will be donated to Mamaroneck Emergency Medical Services, At Home on the Sound, the Keep a Breast Foundation and the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
Balsamo, who will be a junior at Rye Neck High School, came to the block party to support the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which provided him support when he needed it the most. "I was diagnosed with a brain tumor the day before my 14th birthday," Balsamo wrote in a Pediatric Cancer Foundation annual campaign pamphlet.
Balsamo was diagnosed in April 2009. He was treated at Columbia University and is now in remission. He has to have MRIs taken of his brain and spine every three months to check for effects of treatment, his mother Karen said.
Karen volunteered at the obstacle course, sponsored by Equinox, where she said many children came back two or three times to see if they could do it quicker. Equinox trainers ran the course, but spent more time trying to keep other people from walking through it than anything else.
"The excitement on the kids' faces says it all," said Chris Casino, general manager of the Equinox on Boston Post Road, who donated their time and trainers.
Mamaroneck Shares started as one fundraiser for one charity, but has grown into a large-scale event.
"They work very hard to get the local businesses involved and to participate in the event," Village of Mamaroneck assistant village manager Dan Sarnoff said.
The first thing Stephanie Liverzani's daughter Amy and niece Nicole did was run the obstacle course. "Were making the loop, so we did the obstacle course, and now we're looking for a place to eat, but there are so many, we can't decide," Stephanie said. "And, of course, everybody wants something different."
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