Our contracted uniformed sanitation team cleans our district seven days a week from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m., year-round. These hardworking individuals sweep the sidewalks and gutters, bag litter, and empty trashcans daily and in all weather. They also wash and paint the district’s trash receptacles as necessary and clean graffiti and stickers regularly from street furniture, light poles and building surfaces. Come winter, the team removes snow from our BID’s catch basins, crosswalks, intersections, bus stops, and fire hydrants.
Several times a week, various members of our administrative team assess street conditions, identify broken or troublesome city infrastructure (promptly reporting it to 311), and identify other areas that can be fixed or beautified with our assistance.
During the dreariest months, we light up Jamaica Avenue with holiday lights, while year-round our banner program decorates street pole banners, adding visual interest to the area. Currently, we are inventorying our many tree pits to evaluate both planting and maintenance needs and are trying to find funding to repair the historic and landmarked clock at Jamaica Avenue and Union Hall Street.
We also facilitate public art in our built environment. Our most recent installation: Power Strip, a colorful linear ground mural by Queens artist Brittany Baldwin, at Parsons Public Space.
The BID provides business assistance to our current merchants and hosts events targeted towards our business community. We help notify local businesses of new city regulations, incentives or services that could affect their operations, and in return, provide useful feedback to city government regarding street-level issues and policies affecting our merchants. Our online directory encourages consumers to patronize our local businesses, while our periodic classes or technical assistance workshops offer free capacity-building opportunities for local businesses to grow, survive and thrive. We also coordinate a large sidewalk sales days calendar, a boon for local retailers, and a value card that consolidates discounts offered by local merchants to increase sales and loyalty.
Jamaica Center BID is a three-year recipient of a Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Avenue NYC grant. This structured program, led by an in-house Avenue NYC Program Manager dedicated to our community (and with technical support from SBS), allowed us to complete a comprehensive planning study in 2018-2019 (Commercial District Need Assessment) to highlight the existing business landscape of our neighborhood shopping corridors with community-identified strengths, challenges, and opportunities for commercial revitalization, and to implement projects in 2019-2021 to address the needs identified in the report.
Our district marketing and events initiatives are designed to put the spotlight on our wonderful retail, restaurants, businesses, public spaces and cultural organizations and encourage consumers to make the most of Downtown Jamaica and Jamaica Avenue. Key programming includes:
Our website, active social media and weekly e-newsletter keep the community abreast of what’s here and the latest news.
We periodically print specialized guides and distribute at local brick and mortar entities, public spaces and events. Our biannual Guide to Seasonal Events in Downtown Jamaica, a New York City Small Business Services Avenue-NYC funded project, highlights cultural events and local retail and restaurants within walking distance.
Networking Happy Hours
Periodically, we invite local community partners and business owners to mingle and connect at varying spots throughout the district. Past happy hours have taken place at Raymour and Flanigan and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.
Using NYC DOT Weekend Walks funding, we are able to present our Family Fun on the Ave series, which shuts down vehicle traffic on Jamaica Avenue for a day, replacing cars with live music performances, yard games, quirky photobooths, children’s activities, and more. Our recent Halloween on the Ave event brought families in droves (and costumes!) to Rufus King Park for not-too-scary fun, crafts, old-fashion' hot chocolate, open tours of King Manor museum and a district-wide scavenger hunt. In December our BID’s very own snowman Mr. Jammy graced Jamaica Avenue for a surprise pop-up parade, accompanied by the sounds of local brass band Underground Horns.
One of our most popular initiatives, our district presents approximately 20 sidewalk sales annually, a shopping extravaganza where local retailers display merchandise for outdoor perusing, allowing neighbors to get to know one another, enjoy the weather and score a bargain.
Many hands make light work, and advocating for a strong Jamaica is no different. We value our neighborhood’s network of anchor institutions, government partners, nonprofit and community-based organizations, property owners, business owners and others that are focused on making Jamaica all it can be. For that reason, we work closely with many entities, including the Jamaica NOW steering committee, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Queens Community Board 12, our two adjacent business improvement districts (Sutphin Boulevard and 165th Street BIDs), Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, King Manor Museum, Cultural Collaborative Jamaica, Queens Borough President’s Office, Queens Chamber of Commerce, Queens Economic Development Corporation, Queens Youth Justice Center, Sheltering Arms, and our local electeds, sanitation, transportation and police departments (to name but just a few entities!) to share information, cross-promote, jointly advocate, and collaborate whenever possible.