3 Brooklyn agencies, 1 small business receive awards

Two Brooklyn agencies and one small Brooklyn business were among the 17 finalists that received 2012 Neighborhood Achievement Awards in a ceremony on Tuesday.

Deputy Mayor Robert Steel and Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert Walsh presented the awards to Brooklyn Cupcake, the Fulton Mall Improvement Association and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp.

The awards honor organizations, businesses and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in enhancing neighborhoods by fostering economic opportunity.
Brooklyn Cupcake owners Gina Madera, left, and Carmen Rodriguez, winner of the Brooklyn Small Business of the Year Award.  Photo courtesy of Department of Small Business Services
“It’s the 300 vibrant neighborhoods that make New York City so unique, and each year the awards spotlight the remarkable small businesses, individuals and organizations helping to strengthen neighborhoods in all five boroughs,” said Walsh.

The Brooklyn awards are described by the SBS as follows:

• The Brooklyn Small Business of the Year Award went to Brooklyn Cupcake, a Williamsburg business opened by sisters Candice Rodriguez and Gina Madera in 2011, which quickly became a unique gourmet cupcake destination.
The pair renovated a 600-square-foot storefront that had been a vacant eyesore for 20 years, bringing new customers into the area that now patronize the other local eateries and retailers, created eight new local jobs and are now supporting interns looking to get culinary experience.

• The Norman Buchbinder Placemaking Award went to the Fulton Mall Improvement Association and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for the creation and management of the new Albee Square plaza, which was transformed in 2011 from an underutilized 6,000-square-foot barren public space to a functional and dynamic 27,000-square-foot public plaza with benches, planting beds, unique pedestrian lighting, uplighting for the landmarked Dime Savings Bank, moveable tables and chairs, free WiFi, and utility connections for events as well as a future food and beverage subconcession. Albee Square has become the focal point of the Fulton Mall and a center of neighborhood activity.

• The Adaptive Preserva-tion Award went to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. (BNYDC), which has transformed the historic Navy Yard into a bustling 300-acre industrial park with 275 businesses employing more than 6,000 people in diverse industries such as film production and green energy manufacturing.

The BNYDC has transformed the external presence of the Yard, created job opportunities for its surrounding communities, and restored the viability of 21st century manufacturing.