Sunset Park BID cheers one year, embraces the next

December 13, 2013 Heather Chin
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The mood was festive inside the offices of the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (SPBID), where local merchants and small business advocates from the community gathered in celebration of another successful year.

Over plates of food from area restaurants such as Puerto Rico Restaurant, Royal Kings Pizza, Johnny’s Pizzeria, China Wok, Luigi’s Pizzeria and La Gran Via, neighbors cheered their shared achievements from 2013 while expressing excitement about what is to come in 2014.

“This year saw a lot more people [come to the party and participate in BID activities],” said SPBID Executive Director Renee Giordano. “It’s nice to think that that people who support us are all here and working together. I’m looking forward to next year, finishing the Free WiFi project.”

Eddie Artica, an SPBID board member and almost lifelong resident , said that watching the neighborhood and commercial district of Sunset Park “transition from graffiti-covered to structured, with communication between business owners” has been wonderful.

“It’s a very dynamic, up-and-coming [neighborhood] with more traffic and more amenities. People want to be here,” said Artica. “Sunset Park is growing and is not overlooked as in previous years. Fifth Avenue is a major avenue and we’ll definitely do it proud.”

Jeremy Laufer, district manager of Community Board Seven, said that there is a lot to be proud of from 2013 and a lot of projects that will bear fruit in 2014.

“We have a lot of investments coming on the waterfront, with Jamestown Properties [continuing to develop the creative hub of] Industry City, as well as the approval of LibertyView Plaza—formerly known as Federal Building #2—for a larger commercial space and Phase One of their space opening in April,” Laufer said. “We hope to leverage these changes [to create more benefit for the community].”

On top of these big city-advocated projects, Laufer noted that on the ground level, the SPBID and local civic advocacy have made a big impact as well.

“SPBID annual events bring out a lot of people so there is more awareness [about what is going on in the community,” he said. “And this year, we worked together to clean 30 years of debris on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) train tracks. That took a lot of degradation away. And we also have the waterfront park opening in the spring for residents and workers to enjoy.”

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