A Fond Farewell to Trey Jenkins: A Special Note From Our Executive Director
Today our staff says a fond farewell and sends our very best wishes to our teammate and friend, Trey Jenkins, who has accepted the position of Executive Director of the 161st Street Business Improvement District in the Bronx. His last day will be today. For three and a half years, Trey served our business district as the Director of Marketing and Business Services. In this role, he was the primary point of contact for our business community, oversaw our social media, managed our website, and helped launch several new community events, to name but a few responsibilities.
When our organization was awarded a Strategic Impact Grant by New York City's Department of Small Business Services to help neighboring businesses just outside of our BID Boundaries adapt to Covid, it was Trey who pounded the pavement, establishing relationships with hundreds of small businesses in a short amount of time, introducing them to available loans, grants and marketing opportunities available to get customer feet back in the door. Trey took it upon himself to not only serve the Jamaica business community, but to become part of the southeast Queens civic community as well, by playing active roles in our local community board district cabinet meetings, Friends of Rufus King Park and other neighborhood groups.
His dedication, work ethic, kindness, and charisma will be greatly missed by our team and the community both, but we know that the Bronx and NYC as a whole have much to gain in the years ahead with Trey's involvement and passion for economic and community development. Our Commercial Revitalization Project Manager Jahnavi Aluri and I remain at your service in downtown Jamaica. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our organization if we can be of help.
Sincerely, Jenn Furioli Executive Director
Valued Clean Team Member Froylan Tehuitzil
It is with great sadness that we are letting our Jamaica Center BID community know that one of our valued Clean Team members, Froylan Tehuitzil, recently passed away after a brief illness. Froylan worked in downtown Jamaica for many years and the mark he left on our community was profound. He was always present with a smile and a helpful attitude while providing one of the most valued services we offer, keeping the Avenue clean of litter, graffiti and illegal dumping. Many merchants knew him by name and frequently complimented his hard work, so much so that we recently recognized his contributions at our November Annual Meeting. If you would like to honor Froylan, please consider contributing to the GoFundMe account set up in his memory by his family. We would also ask that you continue to pick up litter after yourselves and thank our other Clean Team members for their service when you see them on the street. We will miss Froylan deeply, but are grateful for the time he served as our colleague and friend. If you would like to contribute to Froylan’s GoFundme page please do so here.
'Tis the Season - Get Your Shopping Done....While Having Fun!
Join us Saturday, December 4 and Saturday, December 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout Jamaica Avenue for a new holiday event we are bringing to downtown Jamaica called 'Tis the Season! This event is designed to keep consumer dollars on Jamaica Avenue and to encourage shoppers to shop local this holiday season. There will be promotions that our small businesses will have for shoppers and our BID will enliven the sidewalk of our downtown with pop-up surprises ranging from fun giveaways, live music, a magician appearance and character photos with Jammy the Snowman and friends.
Activities Happening in downtown Jamaica on Saturday, December 4:
Business promotions: See below.
Free Hot Chocolate: The Avenue NYC Cafe (located inside Jamaica market at 90-40 160th St) will be giving our free hot chocolate to the first 100 customers starting at 11am. Stop by for some amazing hot chocloate and buy a delicious treat.
Snowball Mini Golf: Play 3 holes of putt-putt golf at Parsons Public Space.
Winter game Alley: Play Connect Four or Jenga at Union Hall Street.
Holiday giveways: Look for our volunteers giving out free holiday items to anybody shopping Jamaica Avenue.
Home Depot: Will me handing out kids workshop items to take home at the corner of 168th Street and Jamaica Avenue.
Sheltering Arms: Will have a spinning wheel with giveaways at the corner of Merrick and Jamaica Avenue.
Hands on Arts and Craft: Craft station at Parsons Public Space.
Meet Jammy Snowman and friends: Meet holiday characters throughout Jamaica Avenue.
Letters for Santa: At Parsons Public Space we will have a mailbox where kids can list what they want for the holidays. If you're lucky you may just get a surprise gift...
Edge School of Arts: ESOTA will have a prescence on Jamaica Avenue in front of the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (161-04 Jamaica Avenue) with a Wooden Toy Soldiers mini performance. Performances will be from 12 - 12:30pm, 1:30 - 2pm and 3-3:30pm. In addtiion to the Wooden Toy Soldiers, ESOTA will have a meet & greet and free photo opportunities for kids throughout the day with an information tent on the sidewalk.
Underground Horns: Catch the brass band performing throughout Jamaica Avenue from 1 - 3pm.
King Manor Museum: King Manor Museum (150-03 Jamaica Avenue) will have their Hands on History: All the World’s a (Puppet) Stage from 1 - 4pm. As the year comes to an end, celebrate the holiday season with King Manor! Since puppets were a popular holiday gift for children living in the 19th century, join us to make your own puppets and miniature puppet theatre!
Ugly Sweater Selfie Station: We will also launch our Ugly Sweater Selfie Station at three locations on Jamaica Avenue. With this activation, we are encouraging people to snap a selfie in front of one or all three ugly sweater backdrops and share it on social media by tagging us at @jamcenterbid for a chance to win a $50 gift card! Walk the Ave to find out where these backdrops will be located!
Below are the businesses that will be offering promotions at their locations this Saturday:
'Tis the Season Holiday Map We're finalizing our 'Tis the Season Holiday Map and will update the final map on Friday, December 3 so that shoppers will know where to go to get some cool holiday giveaways and more on December 4 and 11.
Home Depot and Jamaica Center BID Partner to Decorate Small Business Storefront for the Holidays
Home Depot and Jamaica Center BID Partner to Decorate Small Business Storefronts for the Holidays
Perhaps while walking down the Avenue you noticed that many of our small business storefronts have a little extra holiday flair this year. That’s all thanks to Home Depot, located at 92-30 168th St which partnered with our BID to add pizazz to the storefronts of 13 businesses.
We’re grateful to Home Depot for its community-minded outlook. The store was helpful earlier this summer when we partnered with SEQ Clean-Up, Linden Studios, and Cambria Heights Florist to beautify Parsons Public Space’s 39 planters by providing mulch, cleaning supplies, and leagues of volunteers to green the area. Now, in addition to their Holiday storefront efforts, Home Depot is also planning on participating in our ‘Tis the Season local shopping events taking place on Saturdays 12/4 and 12/11 with a hands-on activity table.
This week downtown got a little greener. Last Saturday our BID planted dozens of bright yellow and red mums and ornamental cabbages and laid fresh mulch in the two tree pits in front of Beverly Hills Furniture (149-01 Jamaica Avenue). You may recall from past newsletters that these tree pits were previously empty without tree guards and compromised pits. Thanks to funding from District 24 Council Member James Gennaro’soffice and partnership with the Horticultural Society of New York, we were able to plant two new downtown trees and install four decorative tree guards earlier this year. Saturday's fall flower planting (plant materials provided by a generous grant from JFKIAT) added the final flourish, beautifying a portion of this block for the better and enhancing the downtown shopper experience. This is just a taste of what we feel the entirety of Jamaica Avenue should look like. Restoring our tree canopy, beautifying ALL of our tree pits, and introducing a horticultural program that would delight shoppers, support businesses, and enhance our environment with seasonal plant displays would make a big difference in our downtown. For now, our team will continue making small, but significant changes such as these, with the hope that we will eventually, through sponsorships and government partner support, be able to grow Jamaica green!
On the same day of this exciting tree pit makeover, JBID partnered with Cultural Collaborative Jamaica, Friends of Rufus King Park, and the Abuela Neighborhood Maintenance for ‘It’s My Park Day & Community Cleanup.’ We first cleared litter from tree pits, sidewalks and gutters on 163rd Street (mid-block parking garage) to Jamaica Avenue, filling dozens of trash bags and continuing our commitment to providing shoppers a positive first impression of our shopping corridor the minute they descend from the parking lot or subway. Then we planted hundreds of tulips and daffodil bulbs at both entrances of Rufus King Park and in front of King Manor Museum. Below are some photos from this past weekend. We look forward to bringing three more cleanup days to downtown Jamaica in the coming months! Thanks to JFKIAT’s grant, we were able to purchase all cleaning supplies and additional tulip bulbs and daffodil bulbs to supplement bulbs provided by NYC Parks and the amazing Friends of Rufus King Park.
Over the past six weeks you may have seen a friendly new face downtown working on behalf of our Business Improvement District. Alba M. came to us as a CUNY Service Corps student through an internship program designed to help New York City’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Building on CUNY’s history of service to New York City, the CUNY Service Corps creates opportunities for students, faculty, and staff at the university to work on projects that improve the City’s short and long-term civic, economic and environmental sustainability.
Over her six-week placement, Alba helped monitor and address streetscape and quality of life issues. She translated many of our business communications materials into Spanish, updated our downtown business directory and vacant storefront list, distributed information about new merchant safety programs and the proposed Jamaica Avenue busway to all of our storefronts, collected pedestrian counts, solicited public feedback on desired streetscape and beautification enhancements downtown, and undertook a comprehensive survey of all tree pits along our 30 block faces. Before she departed, our Executive Director, Jenn Furioli, took a moment to catch up with Alba about her experience:
Jenn: We’re so glad to have you here, Alba! Tell us why you wanted to participate in CUNY Service Corps? Alba:I wanted to do something with my time this summer and when the opportunity to work with CUNY Service Corps became available I jumped at the chance as way to get work experience and get to know New York City. What have you learned about Business Improvement Districts and the kind of work we do? Alba: Before I started this position, I didn’t know what BIDs were. Now when I walk down the street in my own neighborhood, I notice if someone is cleaning the street and look for their uniform. I try and figure out if other neighborhoods I visit have a BID. I notice things like the cleanliness of the street, or items that need to be reported to 311. Jenn: Yes, that’s an occupational hazard of working in our industry. One’s ability to walk down the street and not obsessively notice things like cleanliness, overflowing trashcans or items necessitating a 311 call is forever altered. I think you may end up being a BID Director in the future. But if that isn’t your chosen career path, what else interests you? Alba: I’d actually like to join the police force and become a detective.
Thanks, Alba, for your service to the Jamaica Avenue community! We were lucky to have you as part of our team, and we appreciate the attentive efforts Jahnavi Aluri, our BID’s program manager, who has mentored and supervised Alba during her time with us. Stay tuned for a Day in the BID Life of article featuring Jahnavi in an upcoming e-newsletter.
DOT Community Advisory Board - Jamaica and Archer Avenue Busways
On Wednesday, August 18 and Thursday, August 19, the NYC Department of Transportation will host in-person, outdoor, informational open houses in Downtown Jamaica to support outreach for the Jamaica and Archer Avenues Busway project. These meetings are open to the public and participation is encouraged. Please share this flyer amongst your networks.
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Please contact the Queens Borough Commissioner’s office at 212.839.2510 or email [email protected] with any questions. To request accessibility accommodations, please contact the Queens Borough Commissioner’s office by Thursday, August 12, 2021.
Don’t Miss These Great Events!
Downtown is bustling with exciting events this month, starting this weekend when Cultural Collaborative Jamaica’sJAMS Fest returns to the Ave! JAMS will be celebrating its 25th anniversary kicking off with JAMS Under the Stars at Rufus King Park tonight (Friday 8/6) from 6-10pm. Tomorrow (Saturday, 8/7) 11am - 7pm, JAMS Fest begins with a 10-block open air festival with entertainment, music, shopping and more. Follow #jamaicafestival2021. Our team will be present soliciting community input on beautification desires for Jamaica Avenue with an opportunity to win a $50 gift card to a local restaurant—so be sure to stop by!
Meanwhile, King Manor Museum’s (153-03 Jamaica Avenue) Hands-on History month continues, with a focus on curiosity cabinets (miniature early museums of the 18th century that helped early Americans learn about nature and culture). Join King Manor Museum in the making of your own curiosity cabinet. Learn more and register here.
Speaking of live performances, we were pleased to sponsor and be in attendance at JCAL’s most recent Mic Drop last Friday which featured tap dancer and instructor, Omar Edwards and Carlos Noel, David Sincere Aikenand Lyle Omolayo at Parsons Public Space. Don’t miss the next Mic Drop which will take place on August 27.
We are happy to welcome the new coffee shop The Avenue Café NYC to Jamaica Avenue! The coffee shop is located inside Jamaica Market (90-40 160th Street). They have all that you need from Stumptown Coffee, teas and fresh pastries including the Nutella Dream Cruffin and Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breaktarts. We caught up with the owner Stephen Kanhai to speak to him about his new place:
Tell us what made you want to open The Avenue Café NYC? I grew up and currently live in Jamaica, Queens. I truly believe in the concept of “Bloom where you are planted.” I really love cafes where it’s not just another business in the community, it actually becomes part of the fabric of the community. Community is important to me!
Is Avenue Café NYC a family business? The Cafe is a family business. My wife and I have been dreaming of opening one for years!
What’s a little-known fact about yourself? I love farming and growing produce.
What’s your favorite business on Jamaica Avenue? Two businesses come to mind. Alexis Caribbean (In Unique Food Court) and Jamaican Flavors.
What business would you want to see on Jamaica Avenue? I would love to see a sporting good store or a bookstore!
How can people help or learn more about your business? People can help by becoming customers and trying our delicious offerings! You can learn more about our business on social media. Follow us on Instagramand Facebook@theavenuecafenyc!
We are grateful to our supporters who make our work possible
NYC Department of Small Business Services: Avenue NYC Grant, Strategic Impact Grant, and Support for Revitalization of the Jamaica Avenue Clock
Council Member I. Daneek Miller (District 27): Support for Revitalization of the Jamaica Avenue Clock
JFKIAT and Partners (4GOOD Community Philanthropic Program): Programmatic Support for FY22
City Council District 24: Tree Pit Revitalization Support
Office of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards: General Operating and Programmatic Support
Additional In-Kind Support, Friends, and/or All-Around Helpful Partners and Colleagues Making Jamaica Great. We Appreciate YOU!
Home Depot-Support of Parsons Clean Up
Mattone Investors-Support of Parsons Clean Up
Golden Krust, Popeye’s and Dunkin at Parsons Public Space-Support of Parsons Clean Up
SEQ Clean UP-Multiple Downtown Clean Up Initiatives
Cambria Heights Florist-Support of Parsons Clean Up
Lindon Studios-Support of Parsons Clean Up
Greater Jamaica Development Corporation
Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning
York College and the SBDC
Queens Chamber of Commerce
King Manor Museum
Cultural Collaborative Jamaica
A Better Jamaica
Our World Media
Sutphin Boulevard BID
165th Street BID
Where’s the Jamaica Center Clock?! Don’t panic. The clock is in good hands :)
Don’t panic. The famous Jamaica Center clock is in good hands! Thanks to generous support from Council Member I. Daneek Miller, NYC Small Business Services; Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, our BID and Save America's Clocks have teamed up to restore this historic landmark street clock back to its former glory! We’ll have updates as we move forward but we’re hoping the clock will be back up sometime in the summer! For Additional Information visit the full NY Times article on the clock's history and renovation here. See the below photos from last Thursday's removal of the clock and view the Instagram story here!
Jamaica Avenue: Not Just Surviving…But Thriving!
The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated retail across the city and nation, but downtown Jamaica serves as a beacon of hope as new businesses, independent and national, continue to open on the Avenue.
Most recently we welcomed the long-awaited Target, located in the lower-level of (160-08 Jamaica Avenue), just below Burlington. Here you’ll find a nice selection of groceries (plenty of organics too!), games, cute lamps, general home goods and a new CVS pharmacy.
Just a couple blocks east at the corner of Union Hall and Jamaica Avenue is another newcomer—Jamaican Flavors (162-02 Jamaica Avenue), selling patties, coco bread and some delectable looking desserts (look for the blue awning). Of course our team is eagerly awaiting the opening of Jollibee (skip to our article below to read our detective work regarding what we can expect when the Jamaica Avenue location finally opens).
You can view coverage of the ribbon-cutting parade hereand hereand view the photos of the event here. Special thanks to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards from coming out to our special event along with Council Members Adrienne Adams, I. Daneek Miller, and Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman.