Peers: 500,000-plus units of PPE were delivered
Brooklyn Business Improvement Districts, Brooklyn small businesses and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce were well-represented at the Hometown Heroes parade in Manhattan on Wednesday, July 7.
Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District Executive Director David Estrada told the Eagle that BIDs were recognized as essential businesses because they provide sanitation services for their districts. They distributed personal protective equipment, and they helped small businesses navigate all the complicated COVID rules during the pandemic.
“The Sunset Park BID stayed open all last year and doubled our trash and graffiti spending when the city cut back services, and we also sponsored 17 three-day weekends of the Open Streets program to help local restaurants survive,” he said.
Estrada was somewhat surprised that de Blasio invited BIDs to the historic parade.
“Sure, we hustled throughout the pandemic, but there’s no comparison to the heroic work done by first responders and medical workers,” he said.
“But then as we assembled in Battery Park for the parade, I looked around and there were deliveristas, street vendors, retail and food service workers, caregivers, Con Ed, the Brooklyn Chamber Of Commerce and teachers and so many other people who kept our city functioning. We were definitely in good company, and were placed in a group dedicated to small business support,” said Estrada.
The Bay Ridge and Flatbush BIDS were also represented at the parade, as were others.
Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue BID Executive Director Amanda Zenteno was also honored to be part of the Hometown Heroes parade.
“It was a true joy to hear the cheers from all the grateful New Yorkers,” she said. “As a business improvement district, we advocated and supported our small businesses while continuing seven day a week sanitation services and security for Fifth Avenue. To march with the BID Association and all the sanitation and security teams was a remarkable experience. I am so proud of to work with so many dedicated New Yorkers.”
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Randy Peers participated in his first ticker-tape parade and was honored to be a part of the day, as the Chamber staff were there to represent the thousands of small businesses across the borough who served New Yorkers during the pandemic.
“To put it in perspective, 500,000-plus units of PPE were delivered, there were 39 commercial corridor listening tours, 3,600-plus businesses were directly served with TA support, $750,000 was raised and dispersed through the ‘Bring Back Brooklyn Fund,’ 200 restaurant heaters were purchased and delivered, and over 40 technical assistance webinars were presented,” he said.
“If I can say one thing I learned about leadership in my life, is that you have to show up if you are going to be effective,” Peers added.
Speaking of the parade in general, Estrada said, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The BIDs were as happy to shout thanks to the crowd as having people cheer for us.
“When you do non-profit community service, you never expect a parade. This experience has definitely made me more thankful for all the people who take care of our city and our families.”
The ticker-tape parade was announced earlier this month by Mayor Bill de Blasio to honor all the essential workers who brought New York City through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parade featured 14 different floats, making it one of the largest ticker tape parades in the city’s history. Queens nurse Sandra Lindsay, the first person in the United States to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, served as the parade’s grand marshal.