What's Happening This Week in
Downtown Jamaica
Farewell to Alba, our CUNY Service Corps Intern

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.  
What We’ve Been Up To Lately 

Introducing another round of “What We’ve Been Up to Lately”, our effort to share with you how we continue to advocate for downtown Jamaica as a wonderful destination to do business, work, shop, live and play.
Data, data, data: We’ve been busy this summer capturing a lot of information from the business, shopper and residential community regarding what they would like to see on Jamaica Avenue. Earlier in the summer we issued our Retail Desires survey which asked residents to pipe in about what types of stores, restaurants and services they’d most like to see on Jamaica Avenue. We’re still cleaning up the data and look forward to sharing it with area brokers, property owners and businesses interested in relocating to downtown. Most recently, we appeared at the JAMS festival and canvassed all of our downtown merchants to see what streetscape enhancements (be it more accessible sidewalks and crosswalks, public seating, more trees and flowers) would make downtown a more pleasant and safe spot to shop. Keep your eyes peeled for a digital release of this survey soon:--we want your opinion.

Design and Placemaking: The Design Trust for Public Space has selected downtown Jamaica as a pilot project for an equitable placemaking project designed to provide positive programming in some of our key public spaces this fall. Along with our friends at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL), King Manor Museum, 165th Street BIDCultural Collaborative JamaicaA Better Jamaica and the Queens Library, we are brainstorming a series of physical enhancements and public programs that will enliven our downtown with safe, free activities and bring more foot traffic to our business community. 

Raising Awareness: If you don’t know, now you know. DOT is preparing to implement a pilot busway on Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin to 168th Street and on a portion of Archer Avenue. Since the announcement last summer by the Mayor’s office, our BID has been working hard to ensure that all businesses and property owners are made aware of the City’s plans and that they have the opportunity to ask questions and provide input. We've personally emailed every property owner and dropped off flyers at every storefront business in our corridor. Now is the time to learn about these plans and address any questions, feedback or concerns you may have with DOT. Do you have a strong opinion about this busway? Please share it with us so that we can ensure that your thoughts are being heard. Email jfurioli@jamaicacenter.org

Business Support and Recovery: Our efforts to ensure our businesses are aware of the latest Covid guidelines continue. We’re focused on ensuring all of our businesses are prepared for the roll-out of Key to NYC vaccination-proof requirements for certain indoor business activities. We are also visiting as many small businesses as possible today with a business recovery counselor from George Hadjiconstantinou to counsel businesses about the importance of getting online (be it via website, social media or sales platforms) to increase chances of survival in these new times. Special thanks to JFK International Air Terminal’s 4GOOD Community Philanthropic Program. Thanks to their 2021-2022 support of our organization, we are able to provide direct business assistance just like this. 

Clock Watch: Along with our friends at Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, we continue to monitor the progress of the revitalization of our historic street clock which is getting a long-overdue makeover with a clock specialist. The expected return date is projected for October for now. Be prepared for a special “moment in time” celebration and ribbon-cutting when that happens! 
What We're Digging

Fun Cultural Performances by JCAL: Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) continues with their cultural performances with VITALS (a free outdoor health and wellness festival highlighting organizations and entrepreneurs advancing health equity amongst communities of color) this Saturday, August 21 at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center (153-10 Jamaica Avenue). Enjoy live musicians from The Dream Unfinished and the Harlem Chamber Players. RSVP here.

On Friday, August 27, JCAL’s ‘Jamaica Mic Drop’ continues at Parsons Public Space with performances from Queens-based poet and emcee J La Sol. Generally known as a quiet child, Sol found his voice through the power of poetry, which ultimately evolved into the art of music. Jamaica Center BID is pleased to be a Jamaica Mic Drop Sponsor. RSVP here to attend this terrific and FREE outdoor cultural event.  
Jamaica Memories PostcardsSwing by King Manor Museum’s (150-03 Jamaica Avenue) lobby and pick up free postcards as part of the ‘Jamaica Memories’ series by Linda Ganjian for Jamaica Flux. These beautiful mini works of art detail downtown Jamaica landmarks and neighborhood resident memories in a really appealing way. 

Auga de Tamarindo at Mi Tierra. If you’ve never tried Auga de Tamarindo, a refreshing drink made from tamarind, water and sugar, get yourself to Mi Tierra at 149-15 Jamaica Avenue. It’s a perfect palliative to the hot days of summer. Mi Tierra has an assortment of other jugos (juices) and cold drinks as well to quench your thirst.  
Business News Section
NYC Requiring Workers and Customers to Show Proof of Vaccination for Indoor Activities 

The City’s Key to NYC Executive Order (see order here) requires proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine for customers and workers participating in indoor dining, gyms, performances and entertainment. Businesses working in these areas should know that full enforcement and inspections will begin the week of September 13th by the City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). 

Businesses: The time to prepare is NOW. 

  • Become familiar with the accepted proofs of vaccination 

  • Develop a written implementation plan that will be available for inspection. This should include how you will check the vaccination status of staff and customers before they enter — or immediately after they enter — your business.  

If you are a small business and have questions about this policy, call NYC Department of Small Business Services hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692). More in-depth information about this can be found here (scroll down to “Information for Businesses”) and by this recently-posted SBS-hosted webinar.
Get Your Business Online 

Never has it been more important to get your business online, and there are so many free resources to help you do so. York College’s Small Business Development Center has a webinar titled ‘How to Market and Promote Your Business on LinkedIn.’ You can register for it here.  

Additionally, right now you can apply for a free website or a free search engine optimization (SEO) consultation with smallbiz.nyc. (SEO or Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. For more information visit here.
Grants and Loans Update

LMI Storefront Loan Application Deadline Has Been Extended. Pursuit has partnered with the City of New York to administer the NYC LMI Storefront loan program for COVID-19 relief. The loans are up to $100,000 at 0% interest with a term of 60 months and no payments required for the first six months. Apply here

The New York State Small Business Recovery Grant Program is also still open. 
The New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program was created to provide flexible grant assistance to currently viable small businesses, micro-businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations in the State of New York who have experienced economic hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more and apply here.

Child Care Stabilization Act: An unprecedented opportunity and investment to effectively stabilize the child care sector in New York, which makes $1.1 billion of funds available to child care providers throughout the state. The goal is to provide financial relief to child care providers to help cover unexpected business costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and to help stabilize their operations so they may continue to provide care. The deadline for stabilization grant application submission is Tuesday, November 30, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Learn more and apply here.
General Community News
Local Employment Opportunities

The Cookies Department Store (166-21 Jamaica Avenue) is hiring cashiers, sales associates and stockpersons. Flexible schedules are available for part-time or full-time associates. Pay will be $15 an hour. For more information reach out to the Human Resources Department at 718-291-7700
Find a Vaccine
Need to get vaccinated? Visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov to find a vaccine near you.
You can also call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692) to schedule an appointment at certain sites.
To request free transportation to and from a vaccination appointment for city residents 65 and older, as well as for those with disabilities who have no other way to get to a vaccination site, call 855-491-2667.

  • If you are 65 and older, or have a disability, you can schedule free transport by ambulette or taxi:

  • For ambulette service, call 516-812-9827.

  • For taxi service (including wheelchair accessible vehicles), call 646-349-0289.

  • If you are a minor under the age of 18, you must have your parent or guardian call to book the trip on your behalf.

Additionally, there is a vaccine bus on Jamaica Avenue at 160-12 Jamaica Avenue.  
Educational Opportunities in Downtown Jamaica 

Adult clients and young adult population who graduated from high school and are in low-to-moderate income households, returning citizens, single-parent households, first-generation college-goers, an older person, and non-English speakers are encouraged to apply to SUNY Queens EOC ‘s Tuition-Free, 8-Week online College Prep program (Pathways-to-College) for the 2021 fall semester. For information visit here.
About Business and Event Promotions in this Newsletter: Businesses and organizations located in the Jamaica Avenue Commercial District between Sutphin Blvd and 169th Street are invited to submit promotional information for possible inclusion in our newsletter. Events happening near or immediately adjacent to the Jamaica Avenue Commercial District may also be considered for inclusion on a case-by-case basis. We reserve the right to reject or edit materials for length, style, timeliness, and appropriateness. This newsletter serves to inform our community about events, opportunities and commercial activity in Downtown Jamaica, within specifically the Jamaica Center BID boundaries.