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.