BY JAMES FARRELL
The Flushing Business Improvement District (BID) held its second annual gala at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel on May 19, celebrating the progress that the organization has made in Downtown Flushing and the surrounding area.
The BID celebrated, among other things, a recent investment from the city’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to help address business needs in Downtown Flushing, especially during ongoing construction around Main Street. The grant was part of a program known as the Neighborhood 360˚ grant program, which invested a total of $9 million into business corridors around the city. SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop attended the gala to praise the Flushing BID’s work, such as its 15,000 hours of supplemental sanitation services that have been logged.
“We cannot do our work at SBS without our partners at the local level,” he said. “The BID is really making an impact in this area and, of course, it doesn’t go unnoticed.”
A number of current and former elected officials also came to praise the BID, including Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and former Flushing councilman and city Comptroller John Liu, all of whom played integral roles in the BID’s formation in 2003.
In Koo’s remarks, he talked about the hours that went into the beautification of Flushing and thanked the property owners within the BID who help fund the BID’s operations.
“We take things for granted,” Koo said. “We are helping each other and helping all the local people.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer was the keynote speaker for the event. He highlighted the business growth in Flushing. According to one of the comptroller’s office’s studies, the number of businesses has jumped 57 percent in Flushing between 2000 and 2015.
“This is a testament to the Flushing BID’s efforts,” he said. “The work of the BID in this community is really paying off.”
Stringer also praised Flushing’s immigrant community and criticized President Donald Trump’s rhetoric toward immigrants, explaining that immigrants in New York City make more than $100 billion in earned income.
“Why would you ever want to keep immigrants out of the United States?” he asked. “We actually need more and more.”
Stringer also advocated for cutting red tape “to let businesses come and thrive.”
The gala also featured performances, such as a drumming performance by the East Wind Percussion Music Academy and a dance by the Thousand Hands Buddha Dance Performance.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.