The Dumbo Improvement District announced in December, the appointment of Alexandria Sica as its next Executive Director; she left her post at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to join the Improvement District, the third Executive Director of the Dumbo Improvement District, following Tucker Reed (2005-2008) and Kate Kerrigan (2008-2010). We sat down with Ms. Sica to discuss her initial impressions of Dumbo, what her focus will be, and challenges she anticipates.
It’s been a little over 4 months since you’ve started your post as the Executive Director, what are your initial thoughts about Dumbo as a community?
DUMBO is remarkable — every time I meet with someone new, I’m blown away by the talent and the energy that’s packed into this place. I want to bring that energy out into the street in a big way and I’m excited by the response that I’m getting. People here love DUMBO and get that it’s this unique village between two bridges. Here’s a great example: I met Jessi Arrington over at WORKSHOP (also a DUMBO resident) a few weeks ago– and ten minutes later we decided to pull together a spring cleaning sale at The Archway — the fabulous space below the Manhattan Bridge that the BID opened to the public. (www.holesale.org). Hide- you’re another great example- blogging about the neighborhood in your spare time! I want everyone here to think of DUMBO not only as a place to work or sleep, but as their community — a place that is as vibrant, creative and dynamic as the folks that work and sleep in it.
What attracted you about taking on the position?
I love this city and I’ve always been drawn to the intersection of public and private partnerships. A lot of good can be done for a local community at that intersection and I’m thrilled to be here. Almondine’s croissants didn’t hurt either.
What areas of focus will you have in the coming year?
This year is going to be about learning and moving the ball forward. Here’s a few of the things we’re working on:
- Learning about 2011 DUMBO – DUMBO has changed a lot since the BID was formed in 2006 and I want to make sure that our services are evolving as well. DUMBO’s census track grew by 218%. Brooklyn Bridge Park is opening up along the water. And DUMBO now has companies growing like crazy in the creative and digital sectors. The DUMBO Improvement District is going to try to reach out to each company to get to know them better and also introduce them to our services. We’re teaming up with folks like the New York Digital District, because the more we know about the community, the better we can serve it. And the more we know, the better we can tell the story of DUMBO to the outside world. If you don’t hear from my team soon, chances are that you’re going to hear from us this summer. But in the meantime – I really encourage anyone to give us a call or shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Advocating for 2011 DUMBO – Some things are clear from day 1 — like the sad state of our Belgian block streets. We’re going to keep pushing to get the Belgian blocks restored throughout the neighborhood. DUMBO is the first impression millions of visitors are going to have of Brooklyn — it should look welcoming and cared for! Just look at the before and after that is Water Street. We appreciate the City’s work there and on Washington – and I’m really hoping the community will come together to get the rest of the streets done as well.
- Bringing indoors out: As I said, I’m going to focus on ways to make the street life reflect life within our buildings – through support for public art, community programming like last year’s World Cup viewings under The Archway, support for energetic community members – from the DPO to local entrepreneurs, great arts venues and non-profits. If you have something in mind that we can create in this neighborhood, please bring it to me. We’re starting with a bunch of springtime events – including the Hole Sale, the return of the Lucky Rice Night Market – and a Royal Wedding view party in The Archway. This will be free and open — and there will be lots of fun UK-meets-BK type festivities, including a photo-booth with life-sized Will and Kate. Stop by for a hoot or just to hear some lovely British accents on April 29.
You’re last role was as Senior Advisor at the Port Authority. Do you see any common challenges that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has with Dumbo?
There is a joke about bridges and Jersey in here somewhere but I can’t quite sort it out. Actually – both the Port and DUMBO struggle with the realities of neglected infrastructure. Streets will always be a big factor in the vibrancy of a local economy. We in DUMBO need to keep telling our story so that public investment will eventually follow.
Thanks Alexandria and we’re looking forward to hearing from you periodically! Visit DUMBONYC.org to read more about the Dumbo Improvement District.