2012 Neighborhood Achievement Awards

The Neighborhood Achievement Awards annually honor the individuals, businesses and groups who share SBS's commitment to building neighborhoods, creating jobs, and opening opportunities for New Yorkers.

The Business Improvement District Innovation Award
The Entrepreneur Award
Norman Buchbinder Neighborhood Beautification Award
The Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Award
The Cultural Award
The Leadership Award
The Small Business of the Year Award
The Partnership Award
The M/WBE Advocate of the Year Award
The Workforce Innovation Award


The Business Improvement District Innovation Award

The BID Innovation Award honors a Business Improvement District that goes above and beyond in delivering its core mission, and successfully revitalizes its community through partnerships that improve parks, schools, and the entire neighborhood.


The Alliance for Downtown New York

"We aim to promote Lower Manhattan as a premier global address for businesses, residents and visitors through programs, service and advocacy. Our goal is to make Lower Manhattan a wonderful place to live, work and play by creating a vibrant multi-use neighborhood. Our public safety officers are the eyes and ears of the district as they check in with local business owners, provide friendly directions, alert the NYPD and other agencies to emergencies, and survey the district to make sure our streetscape and wayfinding signage is in a state of good repair.   Our sanitation workers bag trash, remove graffiti, make signage repairs, and help keep streets and sidewalks clear in all kinds of weather."
-Joseph Timpone, Senior VP for Operations

The Alliance for Downtown New York

Established in 1995, the Alliance for Downtown New York manages the Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District, serving a one-square-mile area from City Hall to the Battery and from the East River to West Street. As part of its mission to make Lower Manhattan a world class destination for businesses, residents, and visitors, the Downtown Alliance undertook a streetscape improvement plan which included distinctive street name signs and wayfinding to area attractions and transit stations. As a result of this investment, the BID is responsible for maintaining over 500 new street signs, 170 wayfinding elements, and over 300 streetscape elements. Through the development of a Handheld Infrastructure Tracking System, the Downtown Alliance created an electronic survey method that is easy to analyze, produces maps, saves time, and yields easy-to-understand data.

 

The Entrepreneur Award

The Entrepreneur Award honors a start-up business or organization that successfully realized a creative idea and opened its doors in the past two years, providing an important product, service or community benefit.


The Bronx Brewery

"The Bronx Brewery’s traditionally-crafted ales use only premium and minimally-processed materials to create fresh, bold beer from a borough known for its own uniquely bold character. [Our] team is enthused to bring a rich brewing tradition back to the Bronx and craft a beer that the people of the Bronx and New York City can be proud to call their own."
-Christopher Gallant and Damian Brown

The Bronx Brewery

The Bronx Brewery is a craft brewery and distributor based in the South Bronx. It was launched in 2011 by a small team with two things in common: a maniacal focus on creating high-quality beer and a passion for the Bronx and New York City. Its traditionally-crafted ales use only premium and minimally-processed materials to create fresh, bold beer from a borough known for its own uniquely bold character. The team is enthused to bring a rich brewing tradition back to the Bronx and craft a beer that the people of the Bronx and New York City can be proud to call their own.

 

Norman Buchbinder Neighborhood Beautification Award

The Norman Buchbinder Neighborhood Beautification Award recognizes an individual, business or organization that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to highlighting and enhancing the look and feel of a neighborhood. The award is presented in memory of Norman Buchbinder, a co-founder of the Union Square Partnership, the city's first Business Improvement District (BID), and founder of the Village Alliance BID.


The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Fulton Mall Improvement Association

"Public spaces help enliven neighborhoods and draw communities together, and the revitalized Albee Square is one spot where we’re doing that in Downtown Brooklyn. With year-round programming like public performances and shopping events, free WiFi drawing students from neighboring academic institutions, and a food concession slated to open soon, Albee Square is helping to showcase Downtown Brooklyn as a dynamic 24/7 destination."
-Tucker Reed

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Fulton Mall Improvement Association

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) is a non-profit local development corporation that serves as the primary champion for Downtown Brooklyn. Working together with the Fulton Mall Improvement Association, which it manages, the Partnership oversaw the expansion of Albee Square from a 6,000-square-foot underutilized space into a vibrant 27,000-square-foot public plaza that has become a center of activity for Fulton Street and surrounding businesses. Expanding public programming and moving forward with plans to open a food concession and an artisanal market concept in the plaza will continue to advance the larger goal of transforming the area into an evening destination – all of which will highlight Downtown Brooklyn as the world-class business, educational, and cultural destination that it is.


The Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Award

The Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Award honors a business or organization that has transformed, preserved or restored an underutilized space into a vibrant re-adapted development, serving the diverse needs of the local community, delivering tangible benefits for the neighborhood or contributing to the overall identity of the neighborhood.


Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

"The Brooklyn Navy Yard is proud to have opened its doors to the public through BLDG 92, our new exhibition, visitors and employment center. Through BLDG 92, we celebrate the Navy Yard’s past, present, and future and promote the role the Yard and its tenants play as an engine for sustainable urban industrial growth and job creation. Through a comprehensive exhibit, public tours, educational programs, archival resources, and workforce development services, BLDG 92 reinforces its unique bonds with the community and inspires future generations to become industrial innovators and entrepreneurs."
-Andrew H. Kimball, President and CEO

Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation

Established in 1801, the Brooklyn Navy Yard served as one of America’s preeminent military facilities for more than 150 years, before it was closed in 1966. Under the management of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), this historic site has been transformed into a bustling 300-acre industrial park with 275 businesses employing more than 6,000 people in diverse industries such as film production and green energy manufacturing. BNYDC has transformed the external presence of the Yard, created job opportunities for surrounding communities, and restored the viability of 21st century manufacturing in the City. In November 2011, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, a dynamic new exhibition and visitors center, opened its doors to the public to celebrate the past, present and future of the Yard.

 

The Cultural Award

The Cultural Award recognizes a cultural institution that has made a major contribution to a neighborhood, generating economic activity and the growth of small business while employing local workers and adding to the artistic and educational fabric of New York City.


Queens Theatre

"Queens Theatre is dedicated to the presentation, production and creation of innovative performance work that reflects and speaks to the grand diversity of Queens, in a manner that is economically accessible to everyone. We draw from the creative energy of our community to celebrate the commonalities that unite us, bringing the dynamic spirit of Queens to the world, and the eyes of the world to Queens."
-Ray Cullom, Executive Director

Queens Theatre

Located in Philip Johnson's historic 1964 World's Fair Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens Theatre (QT) hosts more than 300 diverse performances annually and provides cultural services to 100,000 people each year. The theater’s mission is to provide quality and diverse performing arts activities that are geographically and economically accessible to the 2.2 million residents of Queens – the most ethnically diverse region in the nation. QT is committed to scheduling exciting programming which specifically targets diverse Queens residents, many of whom belong to hard-to-reach, non-traditional theatre-going populations.

 

The Leadership Award

The Leadership Award honors an individual or organization who has demonstrated outstanding leadership over the course of their career in advancing the development or overall economic welfare of a New York City neighborhood. Candidates may be from the business or civic community, and must demonstrate success at bringing together different stakeholders.


Martin G. Englisher
YM & YMHA of Washington Heights and Inwood

"Community building is more than just a buzzword: it is the daily practice and precious mission of the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood. Having led the Y for 32 years, I am committed to constant assessment of the needs of the community, and to providing creative, proactive responses. We offer innovative programs and vital services to a neighborhood of diverse cultures, languages, ages, and needs. We don't just serve meals and teach classes; we facilitate real connections among people, and to the neighborhood itself. I strive to make the Y a trusted destination for everyone in our community."
-Martin G. Englisher

Martin Englisher

Martin G. Englisher has been the Executive Vice President and CEO of the YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood since 1981. His visionary leadership had a significant impact on the neighborhood in 1989 when he secured funding from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department to construct a 100 unit Section 202 housing facility for low income seniors that is owned and managed by the Y. He has secured the resources for several renovation and construction projects at the Y that have both created jobs in the community and built program capacity – the Y now serves a wider and more diverse population with the highest program enrollment level in their history.


Kathleen McGovern Kearns
The New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB)

"It’s a privilege for me to be involved as the volunteer chair with the NYC Workforce Investment Board which has helped advance the City’s workforce system over the past several years."
-Kathleen McGovern Kearns

Kathleen McGovern Kearns

Kathleen McGovern Kearns is the senior vice president for development and external affairs for the Continuum Health Partners hospital system in New York City.  In this role she leads the hospitals’ fundraising, marketing and public affairs initiatives and oversees its government and community affairs activities.  Prior to the formation of Continuum, she was the vice president for public affairs and marketing for one of its hospitals, Beth Israel Medical Center, and previously was the director of public affairs and marketing for the Hospital for Special Surgery.  Kathleen has served on the NYC Workforce Investment Board (WIB) since 2004 and was named chair three years ago. Under her leadership, the focused effort of the WIB and its workforce partners has transformed the City’s workforce programming into an effective system that connects qualified jobseekers with employers, and makes it easier for businesses to thrive in an increasingly competitive economy.

 

The Small Business of the Year Award

The Small Business of the Year Award honors an entrepreneur whose business has significantly improved its neighborhood or demonstrated outstanding commitment to the community through offering new or enhanced products and services, generating new activity on a commercial strip, attracting new businesses to the area, or providing exceptional employment opportunities.


Bronx Small Business of the Year

The Oak Point Property

Steve Smith

"The Oak Point Fresh Food Campus will address a vast and growing untapped demand for regional produce, furnish unprecedented access to wholesome foods for underserved communities, and capture economic value for the South Bronx, for NYS growers, and for NYC’s specialty food manufacturers and distributors."
-Steve Smith

The Oak Point Property

For more than a decade, Steve Smith has been in the process of bringing together community members, developers, and environmental remediation consultants to transform the notorious Oak Point Property in Hunts Point from the City’s largest illegal dumpsite into an economic engine and healthy food resource for the South Bronx – and the City as a whole. By the fall of 2011, Smith had nearly completed a $6 million clean-up of the site, paid over $3 million in taxes owed by previous owners, set aside land for a planned $7 million wildlife preserve at the water's edge, and developed the site's upland portions for a grocery wholesaler. He created over a hundred jobs in the process and began work on developing a long-sought regional food campus to bring local produce within reach of local storeowners and residents. Over the coming years, the planned Oak Point Fresh Food Campus and a new Restaurant Depot facility will provide an estimated 450 new jobs.


Brooklyn Small Business of the Year

Brooklyn Cupcake

Carmen Rodriguez

"Brooklyn Cupcake is a women-owned family business dedicated to providing a positive example of entrepreneurship to the Latino community.  We seek to inspire others to believe in hard work, commitment and having a dream.  When you believe, anything is possible; when you get others to believe nothing is impossible."
-Carmen Rodriguez

Brooklyn Cupcake

Brooklyn Cupcake was opened by two sisters, Candice Rodriguez and Gina Madera, in August of 2011, and quickly became a unique, gourmet cupcake destination in the Williamsburg neighborhood. The sisters renovated a 600 square-foot storefront that had been vacant for 20 years and had been an eyesore in the community. Brooklyn Cupcake has driven new customers into the area, that now patronize the other local eateries and retailers as well, created 8 local jobs, and supports interns looking to get culinary experience. Taking advantage of their mixed cultural background and Brooklyn upbringing, the Brooklyn Cupcake team created a unique menu of Puerto Rican and Italian inspired cupcakes. The sisters are also active in local fundraising for schools and charities, such as Saint Jude, Friends of Fire Fighters, Wounded Warriors, Toys for Tots, Pitch in for a Good Cause, and Road to Recovery.


Manhattan Small Business of the Year

Coogan’s Restaurant

Peter Walsh

"Coogans’ has been a New York tradition for nearly 28 years.  It’s the meeting place for the entire Northern Manhattan community.  We are involved in all facets of the arts, sports and the social needs of Washington Heights and Inwood.  Our cliental reflect the fabric and tapestry of an incredibly diverse neighborhood.  We believe that giving is receiving and we only succeed because of a dedicated staff that is our family."
-Peter Walsh

Coogan’s Restaurant

Coogan’s Restaurant on Broadway at 169th Street has been serving the diverse Washington Heights community since 1985. Over the past 27 years, Coogan’s has led the neighborhood through a renaissance, helping residents and visitors alike feel safe and welcome in a neighborhood once filled with drugs and crime. In 1999, owners Dave Hunt, Tess O’Connor, and Peter Walsh launched the first Coogan's Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K run. Proceeds from the race benefit the nearby Armory Foundation.


Queens Small Business of the Year

Brooklyn Grange Farm

Ben Flanner

"We love this town and are constantly striving to actualize our vision of a greener and more sustainable New York City.  By building and operating our rooftop farms, we can contribute to the overall health and quality of life of the community, bringing people together through green business and around good food."
-Ben Flanner

Brooklyn Grange Farm

Brooklyn Grange is currently the world’s largest rooftop farm, having sold over 35,000 pounds of vegetables, on its 40,000 square-foot flagship rooftop in Long Island City. This rooftop farm is a fiscally sustainable, serves the New York City community, creates jobs, educates the public, and provides unmatched environmental benefits. Brooklyn Grange connects and educates NYC residents, especially youth, with a food system from which they are increasingly alienated. Brooklyn Grange is expanding to more rooftops around the City, with the newest location opening in spring of 2012 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This new location was partially supported by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Infrastructure Grant Program. Since installing their flagship farm, Brooklyn Grange has expanded its business to include a second rooftop location at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, as well as egg-laying hens, a commercial apiary, and an educational non-profit arm: City Growers.


Staten Island Small Business of the Year

Beso and Bayou

Julian Gaxholli, Chef/Owner

"Our belief in supporting our neighborhoods has strongly anchored our business establishments into the fabric of the community we serve and live. Such achievements are directly correlated to the strong dedication and hard work of our staff. We are extremely proud to receive this award not only on behalf of our restaurants but on behalf of all our colleagues in the restaurant industry whose effort has made Staten Island a better place to live and raise our families."
-Julian Gaxholli

Beso and Bayou

Beso and Bayou are two thriving restaurants on the North Shore of Staten Island, created by Albanian chef and restaurateur Julian Gaxholl. Beso is a Spanish cuisine and tapas bar in St. George and Bayou is a French Quarter-themed bistro housed in an 80-year old brick building, formerly the Side Street Saloon, in Rosebank. Julian is a community-minded business owner, who participates in many charitable events and donates food for non-profits, including one that rebuilds homes in New Orleans.


The Partnership Award

The Partnership Award honors a joint endeavor between businesses, or civic, commercial, or development organizations, whose partnership has brought new benefit and services to the community. Examples include local hiring programs, business/education partnerships, cultural events, the rehabilitation of a park or public space, or a unique community outreach effort.


Wagner College
Dr. Richard Guarasci, President

"Wagner College fostered the development of the Port Richmond Partnership in an effort to bring together like-minded community partners to facilitate sustainable and substantial change within a struggling immigrant community rich with history and tradition. The Port Richmond Partnership works to empower, uplift, and break down barriers that often divide people."
-Dr. Richard Guarasci

Wagner College

Wagner College is a four-year private liberal arts college whose mission is to prepare students for life, as well as careers, by emphasizing scholarship, achievement, leadership, and citizenship. In 2008, Wagner College joined with 8 community organizations to form the Port Richmond Partnership. Since that time, the Partnership has grown to over 18 organizations, and has developed initiatives around economic development, education, immigration and health in Staten Island’s Port Richmond neighborhood. Wagner College, the collaborative coordinator of the Port Richmond Partnership, annually places over 25 courses in this community per year, engaging in projects that range from literacy acquisition programs, truancy prevention outreach, after-school tutoring, to nutritional campaigns, college and career readiness, neighborhood beautification and business improvement research.


Association of Chinese American Physicians
Dr. Zili He, President and Dr. Lisa Eng, Former President

"Our objectives are to promote quality healthcare through physician networking and professional development and to provide opportunities for physicians to participate in the governance and decision-making of healthcare policies that affect the communities they serve. We also aim to promote and develop a cooperative working relationship among physicians and provide opportunities for physician education and professional development."
-Dr. Zili He and Dr. Lisa Eng

Association of Chinese American Physicians

First organized in 1995, the Association of Chinese American Physicians (ACAP), a 501(c)(3) organization, now has nearly 600 physician members who are of ethnic Chinese decent or care for Chinese patients. The organization has become a tremendous advocate for healthcare for all in New York's three Chinatowns, organizing health fairs, conducting research, and attracting physicians to train in NYC and serve in underserved neighborhoods. ACAP physicians employ thousands of people in their practices and serve as role models of what can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.

 

The Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Advocate of the Year Award

The M/WBE Advocate of the Year Award honors an individual, business, or organization whose leadership within the M/WBE community has encouraged entrepreneurship among other minorities and women and whose success has strengthened New York City's small business landscape.


La-Verna Fountain
Columbia University Construction Business Services and Communications

"My goal is to connect people who run the best businesses with the right opportunities within Columbia University.  In order to do my job, I don’t sugar coat what’s expected of anyone.  Columbia is a prestigious University known the world over for its leadership in academics and academic research.  My job is to help foster that same leadership in our business practices and we do that by creating a business environment that is welcoming to minority, women and local business owners."
-La-Verna Fountain

La-Verna Fountain

La-Verna Fountain currently serves as the Vice President for Construction Business Services and Communications at Columbia University. In this role, Ms. Fountain leads the university’s outreach and communications efforts regarding construction business opportunities and activities and manages the university’s overall effort on minority, women, and locally-owned (MWL) contracting. She was instrumental in the creation of the MWL Construction Trades Certificate Mentorship Program designed to help construction-trade business owners on bidding. This program has been adopted as a citywide model. 59 firms have graduated and received more than $60 million in contracts with New York City and Columbia University. Ms. Fountain also served as part of the University’s negotiation team on two of the University’s top construction initiatives - the planned Manhattanville campus and Bakerfield/Boathouse Marsh project at the University’s athletic field.


Cynthia Franklin
NYU Stern School of Business’ Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Strategic Steps for Growth

"I know first-hand the power of entrepreneurs to transform communities. Through their innovation, boldness and hard work, they create jobs, wealth and stability in neighborhoods--and they do so against tremendous odds. Those odds are even greater for women and minority-owned firms. I’m blessed to do what I do. There’s something so exciting and gratifying about helping someone achieve their full entrepreneurial promise."
-Cynthia Franklin

Cynthia Franklin

Cynthia Franklin is a Senior Associate Director at NYU Stern School of Business' Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, where she oversees the development and implementation of initiatives that nurture entrepreneurial talent and startups at NYU, including its $200K Entrepreneurs Challenge Venture Competitions, extensive venture mentor network, and startup assistance programs. As the Program Director for Strategic Steps for Growth, she guides M/WBEs on business growth by helping them develop a customized, actionable growth plan for the next 3 to 4 years. Since the start of the program in 2010, Cynthia has instructed three classes and 41 graduates who have been awarded $24 million in government contracts, secured over $1.6 million in financing through loans or lines of credit, and have hired 100 new full-time and 60 part-time employees.

 

The Workforce Innovation Award

The Workforce Innovation Award honors an organization or business that, through pioneering a creative and effective approach to workforce development (e.g. training programs, recruitment and hiring), has developed a model that has enhanced their community and provided a model for others to emulate.


Sustainable South Bronx

Michael Brotchner, Executive Director

"Sustainable South Bronx works with the South Bronx and other under-served urban communities as they transform themselves into great sustainable places to live. We address environmental, economic and social concerns through policy change, green job training, environmental education, and community greening programs."
-Michael Brotchner

Sustainable South Bronx

Since its founding 11 years ago, Sustainable South Bronx has advocated for a variety of green development and restoration projects along the Bronx River. In 2003, the organization launched what has become its flagship initiative – the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) program, one of the nation’s first urban green collar training and job placement systems. The BEST program recruits Bronx residents, mostly from the South Bronx, and trains them for green jobs – brownfield remediation, green roof installation and maintenance, living roof installation and maintenance, and horticultural jobs. Since May 2010, 142 people have graduated from the program’s training unit – BEST Academy.


Special Thanks To Our Generous Sponsors

Citi and Con Edison

And The 2012 Selection Committee

Jonathan Fanton
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Visiting Fellow
Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

Eileen Auld
New York State Community Relations Director
Citi

Sarah Krauss
Chief of Staff
NYC Department of Small Business Services

Frances Resheske
Senior Vice President of Public Affairs
Con Edison

Maria Torres
Chief of Staff
NYC Economic Development Corporation