Sarah Berman, Executive Director of the Avenue of the Americas Association & President of The Berman Group, answers a few questions about how our NYC neighborhood is thriving this holiday season.
Q: What programs has the Avenue of the Americas Association developed to foster community on the Avenue during such a challenging time for NYC and Midtown?
A: Despite COVID-19, the Association and its members have remained unified in support of New York, community organizations and tenants along the Avenue. We’ve just launched our 2020 “Dine Out December” program, offering discounts to neighborhood patrons who order their meals to go from participating locations, including Oceana, one of New York City’s top seafood restaurants, The Capital Grille, a classic Midtown steakhouse owned by Daren
Restaurants, Rue 57, an Asian-American-European fusion spot, and Aureole, a New American tasting menu restaurant.
Earlier this fall, the Avenue of the Americas Association hosted a “Sweet Treats” event featuring complimentary cappuccino from Zibetto Espresso Bar and cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery as a way to allow neighbors on the Avenue and their families embrace the season and to support local retailers.
Q: What are some of the most anticipated holiday season decorations expected on the Avenue this year?
A: Holiday traditions will come alive again this year despite social distancing and less pedestrian traffic. One of the most photographed holiday decorations on Sixth Avenue is the giant Christmas tree ornaments in front of 1251 Sixth Avenue, across from Radio City Music Hall. The 12-foot-tall nutcrackers in front of the pillars along the entry to 1185 Sixth Avenue are also a popular photo destination that’ll be making a return. You’re going to see a lot of the seasonal decorations people know and love along the Avenue.
Q: How is the Avenue of the Americas Association giving back to the community during the holidays?
A: Giving back to the community is important now more than ever. So many people are in need due to the pandemic and the resultant slowdown. The Avenue of the Americas Association hosts a community giving campaign each year, and this year we’ve partnered with Repertory Company High School, the St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters and Urban Pathways to give to those in need. The Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts is a small high school that offers a full academic program and comprehensive theatre arts classes. The St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters host a toy drive each year for homeless children in need during the holiday season. Urban Pathways ensures that homeless and at-risk New Yorkers have the housing, services and support they need to provide for themselves and their families. The Association has also installed street banners along Sixth Avenue to thank frontline workers for their ongoing and tireless efforts to support our communities.
Q: What is the Avenue of the Americas Association looking forward to in 2021?
A: We are really looking forward to bringing public art back to the Avenue. We’ve had some really amazing art installations over the years, from “Grown Up Flowers,” giant inflatable flowers that garnered a lot of media attention, to “Fantasy Landscapes,” which involved large murals showcasing natural landscapes from South America that were perfect for taking a snapshot in front of.
We’re also looking forward to outdoor events in the Spring. We typically run fitness classes, like Zumba or cycling. Our food festivals are always a treat, with many vendors on Sixth Avenue offering everything from Chinese and BBQ to classic American and Mexican. In 2021, the Avenue of the Americas Association will continue to bring people together to enjoy new experiences too like surfing classes and pop-up concerts.
Q: What has inspired you about Sixth Avenue over the last year?
A: Some of the world’s greatest companies call Sixth Avenue home and I’ve been inspired by the businesses large and small that, despite the challenges, are more resilient and creative than ever. A wide range of tenants call the Avenue home: Indeed, Perry Ellis, BBC, Take-Two Interactive Software, UBS Financial Services, Inc., GrubHub and Seamless, Campari USA, the MLB, AIG, Sandow Media, White & Case LLP and many, many others making a major impact on the world. From more emerging NYC industries like TAMI and creative to the stalwarts like publishing, law, accounting, media and finance–our corporate tenants as well as our retailers, restaurants and community organizations have come together to support each other and their neighbors. The Avenue of the Americas may be one of the world’s most prominent international business corridors, but there is tight-knit sense of community that helps us all to keep moving forward.