Meatpacking Business Improvement District Plans Black Cultural Festival, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership to Double in Size

BIDDING ON THE FUTURE: Expansion plans are underway at two key Business Improvement Districts in New York City.

There are 76 BIDs that invest more than $170.5 million to serve 93,000 businesses and 152 public spaces. They are overseen by the city’s department of small business services. A BID is a nonprofit comprised of property owners and commercial tenants trying to promote economic development and improve a neighborhood’s quality of life.

To celebrate Black art, culture and commerce, the Meatpacking District and ArtNoir are joining forces to present “From A Place, Of A Place.”

This five-part festival will debut on August 12 and will continue to run through the end of October. There will be an assortment of events during that time.

A large sculpture entitled “Whenever/ Wherever We Can” by the artist Olalekan Jeyifous that will be curated by Oshun Layne is planned for Gansevoort Plaza.

There will be a gallery exhibition called “The Meeting Point” that is being curated by Danny Baez of ArtNoir and RegularNormal. That will feature the works of 20 emerging Black artists and two contemporary Black artists in residence.

A multisensory live performance series “Visions in Motion” directed by Dario Calmese is in the works. Storytellers, performers, musicians and artists will be featured. Another element will be a “Guide to the Meatpacking District” that will highlight Black voice and Black-owned businesses in the neighborhood.

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By spotlighting narratives about Black culture, commerce and community, the upcoming festival is meant to help envision the local BID’s future as a forum for uplifting diverse and impactful voices. The nonprofit ArtNoir is committed to celebrating the works of people of color, while promoting cultural equity across the arts and culture.

Another downtown BID has other plans to connect with a wider audience. The New York City Council recently voted to approve legislation that will nearly double the boundaries of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership BID as of Jan. 1. The expanded reach will include 20th Street, the Sixth Avenue gateway to the district and more of NoMad. That will add to the area’s sanitation and safety services, homeless outreach, public space management, marketing, business support and advocacy.

For the past 15 years, the Flatiron/23rd Street BID has focused on the heavily commercial Flatiron area and the southern part of NoMad. there are 1,384 properties including 344 commercial ones that are joining the local BID. That figure includes 20 existing or under-construction hotels, as well as retail, food, historic and cultural outposts.

Acknowledging how the work of the city’s BIDs is more important than ever “as we help businesses and neighborhoods recover from the pandemic and adapt to post-pandemic life,” James Metham, executive director of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, said his group is committed to ensuring that new and existing areas of the BID are “places that make people want to live, work, visit and play her in the heart of Manhattan.”

The design firm Pentagram will be part of the expanded BID next year. Having had three different offices in the Flatiron District over the past 40 years including its current location in the broader territory, Pentagram partner Michael Bierut said, “we are overjoyed to be part of the BID again….We are at a delicate moment in this great city. Moving ahead will demand energy, imagination and grit from all of us. Fortunately, those attributes are in great supply at the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership.”

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