What's Happening This Week in
Downtown Jamaica
What a Difference a Bit of Green Makes!

This week downtown got a little greener. Last Saturday our BID planted dozens of bright yellow and red mums and ornamental cabbages and laid fresh mulch in the two tree pits in front of Beverly Hills Furniture (149-01 Jamaica Avenue). You may recall from past newsletters that these tree pits were previously empty without tree guards and compromised pits. Thanks to funding from District 24 Council Member James Gennaro’s office and partnership with the Horticultural Society of New York, we were able to plant two new downtown trees and install four decorative tree guards earlier this year. Saturday's fall flower planting (plant materials provided by a generous grant from JFKIAT) added the final flourish, beautifying a portion of this block for the better and enhancing the downtown shopper experience. This is just a taste of what we feel the entirety of Jamaica Avenue should look like. Restoring our tree canopy, beautifying ALL of our tree pits, and introducing a horticultural program that would delight shoppers, support businesses, and enhance our environment with seasonal plant displays would make a big difference in our downtown. For now, our team will continue making small, but significant changes such as these, with the hope that we will eventually, through sponsorships and government partner support, be able to grow Jamaica green!

On the same day of this exciting tree pit makeover, JBID partnered with Cultural Collaborative Jamaica, Friends of Rufus King Park, and the Abuela Neighborhood Maintenance for ‘It’s My Park Day & Community Cleanup.’ We first cleared litter from tree pits, sidewalks and gutters on 163rd Street (mid-block parking garage) to Jamaica Avenue, filling dozens of trash bags and continuing our commitment to providing shoppers a positive first impression of our shopping corridor the minute they descend from the parking lot or subway. Then we planted hundreds of tulips and daffodil bulbs at both entrances of Rufus King Park and in front of King Manor Museum. Below are some photos from this past weekend. We look forward to bringing three more cleanup days to downtown Jamaica in the coming months! Thanks to JFKIAT’s grant, we were able to purchase all cleaning supplies and additional tulip bulbs and daffodil bulbs to supplement bulbs provided by NYC Parks and the amazing Friends of Rufus King Park. 
Tree Pit Before --->
Join Us At our Annual Meeting- Tuesday, November 9

Each year our organization convenes to share information about our annual programming and to discuss neighborhood news. This year’s Annual Meeting will take place Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom.

In addition to providing an update on our sanitation, business support, and marketing programs, we are honored to be joined by Adam Behnke, Chief Business Officer of NYC’s new professional soccer club, Queensboro FC, who will speak about the soon-to-be constructed soccer stadium at York College and what the influx of professional soccer fans to downtown Jamaica on gamedays means in terms of opportunity for our business community. We will also honor Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Thomas Gretch, outgoing District 27 Council Member I. Daneek Miller and our BID’s own Clean Team member, Froylan Tehuitzil, for their unique and valuable contributions to our business community. Join us! To rsvp, please email jaluri@jamaicacenter.org
NYC DOT’s Jamaica and Archer Avenue Busway Pilot Launches

Implementation of the NYC Department of Transportation’s new Pilot Busways on Jamaica and Archer Avenue is in full effect and went live on Sunday, October 24. The busways are part of the City’s Better Buses Action Plan, which is focused on improving bus speeds citywide by 25% and reversing downward bus ridership trends. You can download the brochure of the Jamaica busway project in English, Spanish, and Bengali which cover FAQ’s and a map that shows the best ways for non-trucks and buses to reach particular blocks along the corridors. 

Since the City announced this project in the summer of 2020, our BID has actively worked to ensure that every business had a chance to hear about the City’s plans so that they could notify us, their elected officials, and the local community board with questions and feedback. We posted information about this in our newsletter, on our social media, through our text alert system JBID-Alerts! and via the LINK NYC terminals on the Avenue. We have also connected dozens of property owners and businesses with questions, comments, or concerns to senior leadership at the Queens DOT office. Now that the Pilot’s paint has been laid and traffic enforcement agents are introducing motorists to the new system, we will begin a longer-term process of observing and evaluating the effects of this Busway on our local business community. While our BID does not have oversight over the roadways or transportation projects, we are committed to ensuring that the concerns of business owners are heard as part of the implementation of large-scale projects such as this and the soon-to-occur conversion of Parsons Public Space into a permanent plaza.
Just Another Round of Keeping Things Clean: Before/After Edition

Our Clean Team has been hard at work in the past two weeks removing stickers, bills, and especially graffiti from storefronts. Our admin team also took a comprehensive walk through the neighborhood twice to log and request clean-ups of abandoned shopping carts, construction barriers, cones and barricades, tilting/decaying tree barricades, abandoned retail pallets, and more. We also continue to place 311 calls on a regular basis to report safety and quality of life infractions, ranging from backed up or clogged catch basins to problematic crossing signals. Check out some of these before/afters resulting from our work!
Business News Section
Jamaica Leader Named to Guide State's Economic Development

Our BID would like to congratulate Greater Jamaica Development Corporation's (GJDC) CEO Hope Knight who was just tapped by Governor Kathy Hochul to serve as the Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and the President and CEO of Empire State Development. Hope has done an amazing job at GJDC and we wish her nothing but the best in her new roles. You can read more here.
JBID-ALERTS! Shows its Value Again

Our BID’s own emergency text notification system JBID-Alerts! showed its value again the past few months. When Hurricane Ida struck, we were immediately able to text business support and emergency grant-related information to our 124 text subscribers and survey hurricane damage. With the exception of three businesses, Jamaica Avenue weathered the storm well. Become a resilient business—prepare NOW for an emergency:

  1. Enroll in JBID-Alerts! allowing us to communicate with you quickly on emergency business and property-related matters. We will never sell or share your info. Contact tjenkins@jamaicacenter.org to enroll.
  2. Visit the NYC Business webpage for preparedness, response, and recovery resources for businesses. Create an emergency business plan now to help you weather an emergency later. 
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: 
The New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Programwas 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.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): EIDL now includes pre-payments for commercial & credit card bills, as well as principal & interest payments on federal loans. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has also increased the cap amount for from $500K to $2M. You can learn more 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.
Upcoming Webinars and Resources for Small Businesses  

NYC Department of Small Business Services:
  • Applying for Loans & Grants for NYC Small Businesses on November 2. Register here.
  • Strategies for Commercial Lease Issues on November 3. Register here.

United States Small Business Administration and York College SBDC:
  • Grants Opportunities, Resources and Assistance for non-profit & for-profit organizations on November 4. Register here
  • PPP Forgiveness Application: New SBA platform for loans of $150,000 or less, Forms 3508 and 3508EZ for loans more than $150,000, Calculation and Documentation on November 18. Register here.

Queens Chamber of Commerce:
  • How To Get More Customers Using "Google My Business" on November 17. Register here
General Community News
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (JCAL) Cultural Events

On November 13, the Jamaica Performing Arts Center will be hosting the Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS), which is proud to be adding early music to the growing list of genres of classical music-making significant efforts to open their stages and venues to historically excluded communities of color. Their first program, “The Divine Feminine: Centering Women of Color in Early Music” will inaugurate our series with performances in Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan by an ensemble comprising women of color. Get tickets and learn more here

On November 16, JCAL is thrilled to present the return of JCAL Talks, a speaker series spotlighting Queens-based thought leaders in arts and culture, education and politics, and civic and community life. The series engages the diverse spectrum of thought leaders who live in, represent and originate from Queens. The first installment of this season is Dr. Berenecea Johnson Eanes, the current President of York College. RSVP here to check out this insightful discussion in person at JCAL!

On November 18 join JCAL for a night of Jazz with the award-winning pianist, composer, improviser, and electronics musician Kengchakaj Kengkarnka. RSVP and learn more here
Pop-Up Flu Shot, COVID-19 Vaccine & Booster Shot
 
Greater Jamaica Development Corporation will be hosting a flu, COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot pop-up inside the Harvest Room (90-40 160th Street) on Wednesday, November 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can sign up for a time slot here
Local Employment Opportunities

Jollibee (161-06 Jamaica Avenue) is opening soon on the Ave! You can apply for a job as a Store Crew or Restaurant Supervisor by visiting here.

Are you a local business seeking employers? Email us a job description and we will post it in this newsletter.
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.