Businesses see BIDs as Antidote to Hard Times

By Amanda Fung

Hudson Square in lower Manhattan has come a long way in recent years, as ad agencies, media firms and others have replaced the printers that once dominated the area.

But it wasn’t until last year, when local businesses banded together to form a business improvement district, that Hudson Square finally got noticed. The BID adorned the area with promotional banners and planted trees along its corridors.

“We helped put Hudson Square on the map,” says Ellen Baer, president of the Hudson Square Connection BID, which just last week tapped a team of seven leading urban designers to give area streets and squares a pedestrian-friendly makeover.

Today, business owners in two nearby neighborhoods, SoHo and Chinatown, are hoping to follow in Hudson Square’s footsteps by forming their own BIDs, as is another group along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. In addition to those three, four existing BIDs—NoHo and the Lower East Side in Manhattan, and two in Brooklyn—are hoping to expand. Others, like Myrtle Avenue in Queens, are just in the “thinking about it” stage.

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