Programs & Initiatives

Programs & Initiatives

The 125th Business Improvement District successfully delivers supplemental services including sanitation and maintenance, marketing, promotion and tourism, holiday lighting, security, and administration in the 125th Street commercial district.

Sanitation and Street Maintenance

125th Street Clean Team

“I commend the 125th Street BID for its creativity and extraordinary civic spirit in striving to make their vibrant community a cleaner and more beautiful place to live and work. Today, New York City is the cleanest it has been in over three decades.” – Commissioner John J. Doherty

Please see sidebar for additional information on the BID's Sanitation and Street Maintenance Team

Monitoring Illegal Dumping

The BID established a close relationship with the Department of Sanitation to address illegal dumping. Unfortunately, illegal dumping is a tenacious problem that has proven difficult to prevent. In June 2007, the BID initiated an Ambassador/Public Safety program. The Ambassadors serve as the “eyes and ears” of the street and report and identify illegal dumping.

Please telephone 311 to report any illegal dumping.

Recycling Program

Since 2007, the 125th Street BID has participated in a pilot recycling program with the Department of Sanitation. A blue recycling receptacle is located on the corner of West 125th Street and Lenox Avenue.

Advertising trash receptacles are strategically placed at high traffic locations. Partner bins are a proven means of effectively communicating someone’s message.

Sidewalk Scorecard

In 2010, the Clean Team picked up approximately 7,500 bags of trash per month, equalling approximately 2.7 million pounds of pedestrian trash collected annually. The diligent work of the Clean Team is evident as the BID rated 100% for both clean sidewalks and streets on the Mayor’s Operation Scorecard since 2005!

Click here for the full Sanitation Scorecard of all NYC BID ratings.

Ambassador/Public Safety


The primary focus of the 125th Street BID’s Ambassador/Public Safety program is the public safety of 125th Street’s properties, businesses, workers, customers, visitors, and residents.

The 125th Street BID’s Ambassador/Public Safety team acts as the eyes and ears of the BID-- working hard to preserve a safe and secure environment in the corridor. The Public Safety team wears a unique uniform with the BID colors and logo and patrol the street five days a week from 11:00 am until 7:00pm.

The Public Safety team works closely with 25th (212-860-6511), 26th (212-678-1311), and 28th (212-678-1611) police precincts.

Please see sidebar for additional information on the BID's Sanitation and Street Maintenance Team

Marketing and Promotion

The 125th Street Business Improvement District's marketing and promotion strategy is designed to attract more consumers, developers and residents to the district. These efforts are rooted in the desire to brand and promote the district as a premier cultural center of arts and entertainment. Marketing is a focused role – one that builds a consistent brand image of 125th Street and directly helps commercial businesses to build sales and/or locations in areas and help property owners tenant their spaces.

"BID on Culture" Black Music Month Events Calendar-- June, 2011

Consumer Shopping Guides

On any given day the 125th Street sidewalks are bustling with over 150,000 people. Savvy shoppers wind their way down the street from one store or another. Some stroll casually or window shop. Here and there groups of two or three gather for animated conversations. Cars, trucks and buses vie for any slight advantage on the busy street. 125th Street Ambassadors distribute the BID Map and Guide to visitors to the District. The guide lists places for people to shop, dine, visit a museum, listen to music, and to enjoy the sights and sound and all that is 125th Street.           

Group Advertising in the Local Media

The BID’s newsletter “The Street” is produced bi-annually. It is designed to allow the BID to provide information on its activities as well as provide a vehicle for members of the BID to tell their stories. The BID formed a partnership with the Positive Community magazine to design and publish our newsletter two times a year. The newsletter is a part of the magazine publication and 50,000 copies are distributed to churches and community organizations in New York, New Jersey, and Brooklyn. 5,000 copies of the magazine are disturbed by the BID’s through mail and ambassadors. Members of the BID can advertise through a group rate.


Holiday Decorations


On Dec 7th, 2010 we all put our best efforts forward and gathered at the Adam Clayton Powell State Building to celebrate the lighting of 125th Street. The celebration was not only about the lighting of the street, but about three major sections of Harlem and its leaders coming together to do something positive for the community. The entire corridor was beautifully illuminated from river to river with bright streamers that hailed the holidays and provided a festive atmosphere for shoppers and visitors alike.

BID on Culture Banner Program:

2011 "BID on Culture" Winning Banners

BID ON CULTURE is a campaign to help to build a community-based vision of Harlem’s heritage, its role as a vibrant cultural center, and to help promote the continued revitalization of 125th Street as the commercial and artistic heart of Harlem. The 125th Street BID seeks to maximize the value of the 125th Street corridor by initiating efforts that solidify its identity as Harlem’s primary cultural district.

2010 "BID on Culture" Winning Banners


Networking Receptions

The networking receptions present the unique opportunity to bring the BID membership (local businesses, property owners and stakeholders) together in an informal setting to share their current and future developments projects on one of the most dynamic commercial districts in New York City.

Strategic Planning

The 125th Street Business Improvement District serves one of the most historical and dynamic business corridors in New York City. The recent surge of commercial revitalization has positioned the district for significant development. Growth has included the addition of several high profile tenants as well as the expansion of existing business. The BID is actively engaged in effectively bringing together residents, consumer, property owners, commercial, tenants and government entities to develop a common vision for community development.

The Future

The BID is looking to expand its community outreach and services by working with local groups such as the American Planning Association, attending conferences, providing seminars as well as speaking engagements at community events. The BID actively seeks to form partnerships with agencies and corporate entities to bolster our scope of work and resources.
The BID’s current draft strategic plan involves the following areas of focus: Organizational Development, Quality of Life, Streetscape, Zoning, Planning & Development, and Marketing.

To learn more about the American Planning Association please visit

Streetscape Improvements represent a major concern for both property owners and merchants. The need for streetscape improvements arose from a series of studies conducted by the 125th Street BID and a recognition by its Board of Directors that the streetscape of 125th Street has fallen into disrepair, and that the street lacked some of the critical aesthetic elements and amenities consistent with the BID's goal of providing a safe, walk able environment for residents and visitors alike.

As 125th Street, the “Heart of Harlem” continues to grow and change, ensuring it does so in a pedestrian-oriented and vibrant way while maintaining its unique character and charm is a high priority for the 125th Street Business Improvement District. The BID needs to highlight the elements essential in creating a pedestrian friendly environment where people can live, work, do business, and continue the co-creation through its cultural assets. A culturally collaborative streetscape plan should create a pedestrian friendly environment with the design of amenities such as wayfinding, enhanced paving, parking, sidewalks, street furniture, lighting improvements, street trees, and other green spaces; consider physical, economic and cultural conditions of Harlem; develop goals and objectives; identify opportunities for protection, and enhancement and further development of 125th Street’s streetscape project impact on the targeted area

There are many positive reasons for implementing a 125th Streetscape Improvement Plan.

  • Streetscape improvements bring a number of benefits to the local residents.
  • Strengthen neighborhood identity by preserving Harlem's history and culture. Streetscape elements can be used to capture these unique characteristics if the preparation of the conceptual level is not limited to sidewalks, curbing, trees, landscaping, etc. A streetscape improvement plan can identify other opportunities beyond signs, banners and lighting.
  • An opportunity to examine and preserve natural and open space on 125th Street.
  • Strategizing ongoing opportunities for both public and private to realize the vision with the Values of the Harlem signature.
  • Better define the cultural destination that the BID has fought for over the past 5 years which will defined and market 125th Street as the cultural destination for New York City, This will help to meet some of the needs of local residents by opening up doors in areas of entrepreneurship that has been fragmented or underdeveloped - such as an organized pedestrian traffic to support small businesses.
  • Improve safety and accessibility, and create a vibrant public space.
  • Instill civic pride with a street for all to enjoy
  • Increase sales of existing businesses, helping to attract new investment to the improved area.

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