This working group helped launch the BID’s first-ever Winter Wonderland, activating Marcy Plaza as a small business marketplace.
About Neighborhoods Now
A collaboration between the Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute, Neighborhoods Now connects New York City neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with design firms in our collective network. Launched in May 2020, Neighborhoods Now initially convened eight working groups led by community organizations in Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, Kingsbridge, the Lower East Side, and Washington Heights. What was intended to be a six-week sprint turned into long-term partnerships, and nearly all of these working groups continue to collaborate beyond their initial scope.
In February 2021, we expanded the initiative with new working groups based in Chinatown, the East Village and Lower East Side, and the South Bronx. With new coalitions of designers, engineers, and landscape architects, each working group aims to convert underutilized outdoor spaces as sites for community programming and cultural revitalization. The Forum and Van Alen have granted each new community partner $10,000 to implement these strategies, and will provide additional fundraising support as funds become available.
Who We’re Working With
Goals and Outcomes
Small Business Support
In December 2020, the team collaborated to host an outdoor, socially- distanced, pop-up winter marketplace to usher in the holiday season and provide much-need visibility for Bed-Stuy’s local businesses. Located at Marcy Plaza, the family-friendly Winter Wonderland also included socially-distanced Santa photos, gift-wrapping station, and surprise performances. The team also provided small businesses with tailored design assistance, including safe reopening layout and plexiglass designs for a local barbershop.
In March 2021, the team hosted a Tenant Landlord Mediation Clinic to support resolving leasing disputes brought on by COVID-19, led by Fried Frank and Alloy Development.
In response to a rat problem affecting the neighborhood’s hygiene and business operations, the team put together a comprehensive set of mitigation recommendations. These rang from best practices for business owners to large-scale cleanup and renovation efforts of several vacant lots.
Ideas for Fulton Street
In order to accommodate a Black Lives Matter memorial that would allow Fulton Street to remain open, the team worked with Moody Nolan to propose a more sustainable memorial. The proposal extends the graphic language across Fulton, linking Restoration Plaza with Marcy Plaza, while using vertical surfaces on either side to project graphics visible along Fulton Street.
The use of the information contained in this proposal document, “Bed-Stuy Now: Presentation of Concepts for the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID,” is at the sole risk of the user, and Van Alen Institute shall not be responsible for, or liable in any way for, the accuracy, completeness or any other matter with respect to the contents herein. The user hereby assumes all risks of the use of the information, and irrevocably and unconditionally waives, releases and discharges Van Alen Institute and its direct and indirect members, directors, officers, employees, agents, affiliates, volunteers and representatives, from any and all liability of any kind or nature whatsoever, in connection with the matters contained herein, and the use of the information contained herein.