Neighborhoods Now: Bed-Stuy Gateway BID
This work is part of Neighborhoods Now, an umbrella initiative; learn more about it here.
Building on Winter Wonderland, an open-air holiday market supporting local small businesses.
Launched in Spring 2020, Neighborhoods Now is a collaboration between the Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute to connect NYC neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with design firms in our collective network. Over three years, the initiative evolved from rapid, tactical responses to long-term recovery strategies on a wider scale. Led by community organizations, seven interdisciplinary teams have enlivened and programmed public space, provided technical support to small businesses, and strengthened cultural activities.
One of our two teams in Bed-Stuy, the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID team launched and expanded Winter Wonderland, an open-air holiday market which has supported local small businesses and dozens of vendors yearly since its debut in 2020. The team has collaborated to design market stalls and formal branding strategies, provide legal assistance, and produce storytelling videos for marketing. These new additions are growing the Bed-Stuy Gateway BID’s annual event into a premier holiday destination.
Pilot Event: 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-needed 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.
Expanding Winter Wonderland: In 2022, the team designed new market stalls, a new graphic identity, utilized NYC’s Open Streets program to extend Winter Wonderland onto Marcy Street, and added a trolley service to transport customers throughout the district.
Small Business Support: 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. The team also provided small businesses with tailored design assistance, including safe reopening layouts and plexiglass barriers.
Looking Forward… Winter Wonderland has a strong foundation to become an established annual holiday tradition. The Bed-Stuy Gateway BID will use these design interventions and marketing strategies for future events to increase partnerships for additional funding and expand their presence throughout the greater Brooklyn community.