What's Happening This Week in
Downtown Jamaica
In Honor of Black History Month

February is Black History Month. Here are a handful of ways you can support our Black businesses and cultural community and honor their contributions and legacy right here in downtown Jamaica:

  • Promote Black-owned businesses: Share social media posts from Black-owned businesses and help to crowdsource location info on local Black-owned businesses so other customers can discover them too. We’ve noticed downtown Jamaica isn’t getting as much love as it deserves in citywide platforms. So for starters, consider nominating your favorite Jamaica Ave Black-owned businesses to appear on this City-wide list by emailing membershipinfo@nycgo.com.

I Love Jamaica Avenue

There are so many things to love about shopping, congregating and working on Jamaica Avenue. But rather than having our team at the BID tell you this...we figured we’d pass the mic over to members of the community to share what makes this vibrant shopping district in Queens so very special to them. 

Each day of February on our Instagram account, we are featuring an individual that has contributed to the business, nonprofit and educational community of downtown Jamaica and Southeast Queens. This could be the owner of a current business on Jamaica Avenue or the founder of a civic organization that goes back decades. This week, hear what Tyra Emerson of Cultural Collaborative Jamaica, DJ Nett of SEQ Cleanup Initiative, Al Reynolds of Literary Inc and Southside Jamaica Reads and Natasha Morales and Candi Semone of Make Me Over Beauty Bar tell us a bit more about themselves and reflect upon why Jamaica Avenue holds a special place in their heart.  
What We've Been Up to Lately

Fred Green our Operations Manager and our Executive Director Jennifer Furioli recently traversed the southern length of Jamaica Avenue to take a census of our empty tree pits. Our plan is to apply for funding to plant new trees and add decorative tree guards over the next few years. So far we are off to a good start. Thanks to generous 2020 fiscal year funding by former District 24 City Council Member Rory Lancman, we are working with the NYC Horticultural Society to plant new trees and repair pits in several spots on the north side of Jamaica Avenue, results to be revealed later this spring! The photo to the right is of Fred and Jenn taking a selfie in front of one of the many tree pits we wish to repair.

Additionally, our BID staff and board members, several of our local businesses, almost all of our elected officials and the 103rd Precinct met at GJDC’s Jamaica Market on Thursday, January 28 to discuss business safety concerns, specifically at the bustling transportation junction at Parsons, Archer and Jamaica Avenue. This is just one of many meetings planned, to ensure Jamaica Avenue continues to be a safe place to shop and run a business. Thank you to all of those that attended.
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning and Kind Manor Museum Virtual Events 

The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning has two virtual events happening this month including JCAL School Assembly/Family Matinee from February 8 – 14 featuring Boogie Chillun a lively multicultural band that takes students and faculty on a musical journey through America’s rich music history. You can RSVP for this event here
On February 16 at 7 p.m., the first guest for JCAL Talks, a new speaker series spotlighting Queens-based thought leaders in arts and culture, education and politics, and civic and community life, will be Melva M. Miller, CEO of the Association for a Better New York. The 45-minute free event, including a curated Q&A, will be streamed live to JCAL’s YouTube and Facebook. To RSVP visit here

King Manor Museum will be presenting Industrial Romance: Valentine’s Day in the late 19th Century. Valentine’s Day has undergone many transformations over the years, from pagan holiday to the most popular day for engagements, but what does it have to do with the Industrial Revolution? Join Director of Education Brittany Lester on Zoom and find out how our most widespread Valentine’s Day tradition got its modern start. Registration is $5 and you can register here.
Business News Section
#WeStanForHer Grants 

New Voices and Barefoot recently launched the #WeStanForHer grant program, specifically for businesses owned by Black women. Recipients of the $10,000 grant will also receive complimentary business coaching and mentoring from the New Voices Foundation.The deadline to apply is February 28. You can see if you qualify here
Webinars That Caught Our Eye 

Here are a few webinars that recently caught our eye with registration links:

NYC Launches Three New Business Mentorship Programs

Last month, Mayor de Blasio and SBS Commissioner Jonnel Doris announced three new mentorship programs, Small Business Mentors NYC, BE NYC Mentors, and M/WBE Mentors. These programs will provide industry experts as guides for current and aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to start and grow a business in a post-COVID era. These programs are expected to serve 1,500 businesses in 2021. Read the press release here.
You can now sign up for BE NYC Mentors and Small Business Mentors NYC upcoming sessions here
Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) Small Business Help Center

If a small business has an upcoming hearing with OATH, they can request an appointment with the OATH Help Center to speak with an OATH Procedural Justice Coordinator who can provide legal information and resources to help prepare for their case. In order to schedule an appointment with the OATH Help Center, please email here or call (212) 436-0845.
The Open Storefronts program has been extended through September 30, 2021! 

The Open Storefronts program assists existing ground-floor storefront businesses who want to use outdoor areas on a temporary basis. The program allows eligible businesses to conduct activity on sidewalks, on roadways in the Open Streets: Restaurants program, or a combination of both. In addition to businesses engaged in retail trade, repair stores, personal care services, and dry-cleaning and laundry services are able to use outdoor space for seating, queuing, or display of dry goods. The program also allows businesses to sell pre-packaged food on sidewalks and restaurants to use sidewalks for take-out orders. To learn more and sign-up visit here
PPE for Local South East Queens Small Businesses 

We continue to partner with the City of New York as an official distribution entity for PPE (masks) for local SE Queens businesses. Any business wishing to receive masks should send a request to Fred Green via 718-873-2508 or fgreen@jamaicacenter.org. Businesses are limited to 50 masks per business, or 20 per small business employee (regardless of their employment status), whichever number is greater. For example, a 1- or 2-person business would receive 50 masks; a 10-person business could receive 200 masks. If you need more masks for your employees, contact Fred quickly, as supplies go fast.  
General Community News
Queens Educational Opportunity Center Virtual Open House

Join SUNY Queens EOC’s Virtual Open House on February 8 at 3:30 p.m. to learn more about their featured tuition-free academic preparation and their career training remote programs for the Spring 2021 semester. The Zoom link is here and the passcode is 870-2172-683.
COVID-19 Assistance at Findhelp.org 

Find food assistance, help paying bills, and other free or reduced cost programs, including new programs for the COVID-19 pandemic at Findhelp.org. 
Stop the Spread of COVID with NY's Contact Tracing App 

To stop the spread, New Yorkers need to do their part. Participate in the new contact tracing app COVID Alert NY to help keep yourself and your community safe.  

COVID Alert NY is a voluntary, anonymous, exposure-notification app that notifies you if you were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Knowing about a potential exposure allows you to self-quarantine immediately, get tested, and reduce the potential exposure risk to others.  

The app is available to anyone 18+ who lives, works, or attends school in New York or New Jersey, and it's available in seven languages.  

Download the app for iPhone or Android here. Read the FAQ on privacy and more here
COVID Guidance for New Yorkers

All New Yorkers can take some simple steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:  

  • Stay home: Stay home, especially if you are sick unless you are leaving for essential medical care or other essential errands. 

  • Physical distancing: Stay at least 6 feet away from other people. Do not attend large gatherings, especially indoor gatherings. Remember to keep a safe distance between you and others even when wearing a face covering.  

  • Wear a face-covering: Protect those around you. You can be contagious without having symptoms and spread the disease when you cough, sneeze or talk. When worn correctly (covering both your nose and mouth), face coverings can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

  • Practice healthy hand hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; clean frequently touched surfaces regularly; avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; and cover coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hands. 

  • Get tested. To find a COVID-19 testing site near you, visit nyc.gov/covidtest or call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319). Testing is free at many sites, including all sites operated by Health + Hospitals and the NYC Health Department. 

For general information on COVID-19, visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus or text “COVID” to 692-692. Message and data rates may apply.  
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.