New Face On Beach 116th Street
Station Wine and Liquors and the Rockaway Artists Alliance at 264 Beach 116th Street in Rockaway Park, were the first to get new awnings, siding and storefronts under a program to bring new life to one of Rockaways’ prime business districts.
On May 1st, Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel, the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Citi Community Development and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City announced a storefront improvement initiative which would help repair storefronts and create a cohesive image for the Beach 116th Street commercial strip, which was severely hit by Hurricane Sandy. Citi Community Development provided $250,000 for the program, matched by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, totaling $500,000 in funds.
Many of the area’s small businesses, organizations, and shops, struggled greatly in the months that followed the storm, particularly with some missing out on the critical holiday season.
Some business owners and residents pointed out that the major transportation, commercial and beach tourist area was due for a boost well before the storm.
“It’s not like this area didn’t have its problems before,” one man said, “only now maybe they’ll get what they need, they’ll get the attention and the money they need to do it right.”
Planners decided on a theme of maroon awnings and white lettering to give the block a unified look.
Beyond the storefront improvements, SBS, the Department of Parks and Recreation, NYPD, Department of Transportation, Department of Buildings and Department of Sanitation announced plans to enhance the image of the area with new greenery, planters and benches, better lighting, art installations and cleaner and safer streets.
At the original announcement, Deputy Mayor Steel said, “The storefront improvement initiative is the latest sign of the City’s commitment to bringing the Rockaways back stronger than it was before the storm.”
Speaking about Rockaway business owners, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services Bob Walsh said, “This group has hit the ground running and has already achieved significant steps towards making the commercial corridor cleaner, safer, and brighter.”
More improvements are still in the works. Denise Diehm, owner of The Gift Is Love, mentioned that although she has finally been able to replace the plywood on her shop with beautiful new windows, the new look is not fully completed. More will be happening over the next few weeks.
Apparently, the best is yet to come.