Sunset Park

Sunset Park BID says new app will help boost business

January 7, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sunset Park BID Executive Director Renee Giordano introduced free WiFi to Fifth Avenue two years ago. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas
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A forward-thinking business group that provided free WiFi to Sunset Park’s Fifth Avenue is now working on the development of an app that leaders said will help merchants attract customers.

The Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) plans to introduce the app later this year, according to Executive Director Renee Giordano.

“You would be able to use the app to get information on the businesses we have here on the avenue, including the sales and discounts that the stores are having,” Giordano told the Brooklyn Eagle in an interview.

The new app isn’t the first time the BID has dipped its toes in technological waters.

Three years ago, the BID (a public-private partnership group representing property owners, merchants and residents on Fifth Avenue between 38th and 64th streets) introduced free Wi-Fi to the avenue.

Thanks to the BID’s efforts, a two-mile stretch of Fifth Avenue became a giant Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling users to have Internet access as they walk down the street, shop in stores and relax in their apartments.

The BID’s board of directors is paid for the Wi-Fi connection, including the installation of routers on buildings located every three or four blocks along the avenue to pick up signals, as well as the placement of signal receptors.

The Wi-Fi connection gives merchants and residents free Internet access on their Smartphones, iPads, laptop computers and other devices, Giordano said.

Sunset Park, the 24-acre recreation area that shares its name with the neighborhood that surrounds it, also has free Wi-Fi in certain sections.

Giordano said the BID is working to get Wi-Fi for the entire park. The park stretches from Fifth Avenue to Seventh Avenue and is located between 41st and 44th streets.

“It just seems like the right thing to do. I think giving access to people is so important. Everything is done via the Internet now. We wanted to give it to our community for free,” Giordano said.

Giordano realized the value of Wi-Fi this past summer when she was enjoying a Movie in the Park Night in Sunset Park (a program the BID sponsors) and realized she had Internet access and could post pictures of the movie crowd on Facebook.

The year 2016 is shaping up to be a busy one for the Sunset Park BID.

In addition to the app development, the business group is planning to host a scavenger hunt in the spring or summer and is making plans to bring back a popular trolley-type bus to take shoppers up and down Fifth Avenue during the Christmas shopping season.

In the fall, the BID will sponsor its annual street festival on the avenue.

The previous year also kept Giordano and the BID’s board of directors busy.

“I think one of the biggest things to happen is that the Parks Department lifted its ban on amplification in Sunset Park,” Giordano said.

The ban, which was in place for several years, prevented the park from hosting outdoor movies.

Once it was lifted in 2015, it opened the door for the BID to sponsor movie nights in the park.

Sunset park residents enjoyed “Jurassic Park,” “La Bamba” and other films under the stars.

For more information on BID programs, visit the organization’s website at www.sunsetparkbid.org.


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