July 15, 2013Awards Honor Organizations and Individuals for Their Outstanding Impact on New York City's Neighborhoods
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, and New York City Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh presented the 2013 Neighborhood Achievement Awards today to recipients from all five boroughs for their outstanding impact on New York City’s neighborhoods. Established in 2002, the awards honor organizations, businesses and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in enhancing New York City neighborhoods by fostering economic opportunity. This year’s awards included a new category called the Helping Hand Award, to honor a business, organization, or individual that went above and beyond to help the people, businesses, and neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy. The awards were presented at Gracie Mansion.
“Small businesses are what keep our neighborhoods strong and moving forward,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York City is home to more than 200,000 small businesses that together account for more than half of all private sector jobs. Since Sandy hit, we’ve worked hard to help small businesses hurt by the storm to reopen their doors and come back stronger than ever.”
“Mayor’s Bloomberg’s focus on economic development in all five boroughs has helped to create a network of thriving neighborhoods commercial districts,” Deputy Mayor Steel said. “Even in the face of enormous challenges like Hurricane Sandy, small business owners continue to invest in rebuilding and growing in New York City. Their hard work and creativity creates the businesses that make New York City a great place to live, work and visit.”
“For the past 12 years the Neighborhood Achievement Awards have spotlighted the remarkable small businesses, individuals, and organizations helping to strengthen neighborhoods in all five boroughs, and this year we are also recognizing those that went above and beyond to help after Hurricane Sandy,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “I want to congratulate and thank tonight’s awardees for all they have done to help create jobs and strengthen our City.”
The Helping Hand Award was presented to The Action Center, Far Rockaway, Queens – The Action Center is a community-based organization in the Rockaways. When Hurricane Sandy devastated the area, the Center made it their mission to be at the front lines, providing residents with food, medical supplies, relocation, laundry, legal services, and more, to help Rockaway residents recover. The Action Center distributed 60,000 hot meals and over 450,000 food, water, and care packages. Their medical center continues to see an average of 250 residents a week. Over 90% of the staff lives in the Rockaways and were personally affected by Hurricane Sandy, yet they put the needs of their community first.
Honorable mentions in the Helping Hand Award were presented to two businesses:
The Small Business of the Year Awards were presented to five businesses.
The Entrepreneur Award was presented to Local Roots NYC, Brooklyn – After reading an article on the decrease of supermarkets in New York City and an increased dependency on purchasing food at bodegas, Wen-Jay Ying became involved in food justice. In 2011 she founded Local Roots NYC to strengthen the City's connection with local food by creating a culture of community, accessibility, and innovation. Through the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, Local Roots NYC provides more than 350 NYC residents with local, sustainably grown food and specialty items from small Brooklyn producers. It also works to improve the connection and communication between City residents and farmers.
The Norman Buchbinder Placemaking Award was presented to Hudson Square Connection,
Manhattan – The Hudson Square Connection is working on transforming one of Manhattan's last industrial districts into a major hub for advertising, design, media, communications and other creative businesses. The BID is using innovative public-private partnerships to recreate a place that was originally built for cars and trucks into a place built for people by ameliorating traffic congestion, beautifying and enlivening the streets, and re-enforcing a socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable community.
The Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Award was presented to the Pitkin Theater Center Project, Brownsville, Brooklyn – After 40 years of blight and neglect, the dilapidated former theater was an eyesore and a symbol of disinvestment in the neighborhood of Brownsville, Brooklyn. Since its restoration, it has become an emblem of the comeback of the neighborhood. Loew’s Pitkin Theater has been transformed into a charter school that educates approximately 1,100 low-income students, and provides space for national and local retailers while also creating jobs in construction, retail, and education.
The M/WBE of the Year Award was presented to American Fire Control, Harlem, Manhattan – Founders Londel Davis and Keith Pearson became friends while serving in the army and together started American Fire Control, which sells and inspects fire extinguishers in the tri-state area. The company began in a basement and sold extinguishers from a push cart. Today, they employ approximately 15 local residents and are committed to green technology and responsible practices. Londel Davis is an active community member and serves as an influential advocate for Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). He helped develop and pass new M/WBE legislation (recently signed by Mayor Bloomberg) to increase opportunities for M/WBE firms to do business with the City.
The Cultural Award was presented to Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, Livingston, Staten Island – Through its internationally acclaimed botanical gardens, architecturally significant buildings, and programming, Snug Harbor welcomes 500,000 visitors per year and has helped anchor Staten Island as a cultural, agriculturally sustainable, and economically active borough. Snug Harbor recently revitalized a visual arts program that has brought an untapped audience to the borough, and it has also spearheaded a shift in urban agriculture through its most recent endeavor, Heritage Farm, which has sold 14,000 pounds of pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, and donated the equivalent of 3,400 meals.
The BID Leadership Award was presented to three individuals.
Marc La Vorgna /Julie Wood
Merideth Weber (SBS)