A Bond Across the Pond

Murals in Harlem and BrixtonBrixton Business Improvement District (BID) has announced a first of its kind twinning as it partners with Harlem’s 125th Street BID New York City.

Yesterday, they announced their twinning, the first ever Twinning of two such organisations. Both BIDs are located in communities with a long and rich history of being the epicentres for a convergence of diversity, informed by a high percentage of its population being of African descent, representing various parts of the diaspora, living and working within the BID’s borders.

Both Brixton BID and 125th Street Business Improvement District were forged out of almost identical principles and values such as equality, togetherness, and social justice. Their missions reflects these values: to improve the quality of life for residents of their respective communities by improving the economic health and well-being of the community, and by creating programs that reflect the vibrancy and history of the people and the neighbourhood.

Both Harlem and Brixton have been permanently infused by the culture, food, and experience of its Black population.

Gianluca Rizzo, Managing Director of the Brixton BID says, “The twinning of our BIDs celebrates the defiant resilience of the communities we represent and celebrates their cultural roots, music, art, culinary soul, heritage, and much more. Brixton and Harlem are the beating hearts of our cities, sharing universal values and principles.  Whilst we are part of sharing global progress, the BIDs act locally to support business and the communities we represent. Together with Harlem we believe our friendship can help create great opportunities for all.”

The Harlem Community’s 125th Street district is described as one of the most significant and important landmark streets in the city and carries the double name – Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It is the home of the world-famous Apollo Theatre, the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, the renowned Hotel Theresa where Fidel Castro chose to stay in 1960, as did Malcolm X, poets extraordinaire Langston Hughes and Allen Ginsberg, and numerous other dignitaries and VIPs. Today it is a two-way mecca of business activities and tourism.

President of the 125th St. BID, Barbara Askins says, “Harlem and Brixton have similarly rich histories and are well positioned for important and positive change and growth. One of the main initiatives that we are both involved in is to begin framing a new streetscape for both business districts. We are repurposing non-traditional spaces in the community (freight doors in Harlem) and transforming them into canvases for community expression. We are very excited by the possibilities offered through this new friendship which we helped broker, and all of its promise.”