It was a joyous holiday party for members of the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID).
Members of the BID, local businesses and community were joined by BID officers and elected officials on Wednesday, December 16 at the annual event, held inside the BID office, 5116 Fifth Avenue. The building was filled with holiday decorations and food catered by local businesses such as Johnny’s Pizzeria and Sunset Bagels.
Not only was it a time to let loose and celebrate the upcoming season, but the party also allowed members of the BID to reflect on the past year, which is in its 20th year of existence.
“I had to do an annual report a couple of weeks ago and I forgot all the things we did and how much went on this year,” said Executive Director of the BID, Renee Giordano. “We gave the police of the 72nd Precinct challenge coins which was rewarding. We also had Make Music NY, which we always do, and with Wi-Fi now in the park, we were able to convince the Parks Department commissioner to rescind the ban on amplified sound so this summer we had movies in the park, some of which we sponsored. It was an exciting year.”
Dilraj Batchu, a board member of the BID for over 10 years, agreed. “Everything has been working well for us,” he said. We’ve made progress and accomplished a lot. As hard as we work, we deserve the party.”
One example of progress is that some stores that have closed are slated to reopen. “We have several new businesses and several came back again. Pretty Girl just came back a week ago and a men’s clothing store is coming back,” Giordano said. “It must be something about our avenue.”
Guests such as Grisel Amador, executive director at the United Senior Center of Sunset Park, had high praise for the BID. “To be part of this is an excellent experience for me. It’s a great opportunity for my seniors to be involved, especially with the festivals, because we work every year with Renee,” she said. “The seniors feel safe and informed with this organization because the information they have, they provide to the senior center in order to keep us up to date. It’s an excellent experience.”
“The BID is a very influential engine to continue to keep small businesses together that are the backbone of our economy,” added Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. “The role that they’ve been playing is to ensure there are more businesses in Sunset Park, that they get the information they need in order for them to operate effectively and efficiently, and also keeping Fifth Avenue clean.”
Ortiz also stressed the importance of having an annual party to recognize the hard work. “By coming together as a family in this kind of environment, it helps us to exchange ideas about things that have been done, and will be done in the future, and organizations like this re-enforce the importance of not forgetting where we came from and who we continue to serve.”