During the 1960s and 1970s, East New York experienced rapid and severe deterioration in the form of housing abandonment, business closings, and a welter of ills that accompanied the flight of the area’s middle class to the suburbs. In 1979, owners of local businesses located in the area now known as the East Brooklyn Industrial Park founded an organization to address the circumstances that made it increasingly difficult to conduct business in the community. One of the earliest LDC programs consisted of a neighborhood security patrol that provided surveillance and protection for the businesses located in the industrial park. The patrol was organized in response to the high incidence of burglaries and other crimes that plagued the neighborhood’s industrial sector. Security guards patrolled the area and monitored burglar alarms and cameras. Other early LDC programs included a metalworking initiative, which trained local residents for employment in the area’s metalworking industry. As businesses closed or left the area, many industrial and commercial buildings remained vacant and became derelict. Many were demolished and large parcels of commercial and industrial land became available. Under contract with the City, the LDC marketed the available buildings and vacant parcels of land to other businesses seeking to locate in the area.
In 1989, the LDC initiated one of the first entrepreneurial training programs in the City. This program, which continues until today, provides training, counseling and technical assistance to local entrepreneurs seeking to start or expand their businesses. Over the years, the LDCENY has expanded its programs to include not only business issues, but also other aspects of the neighborhood, including the environment and health of local residents. In 2010, the LDCENY finished construction and rental of its first housing development project, consisting of 87 units of affordable housing and retail as an anchor project on one of the area’s commercial strips.
Today East New York is a safer, more desirable neighborhood to do business in than it was in the 1970’s. With an influx of new industrial companies and community revitalization programs, East New York has regained its footing in the economic fabric of New York City. The LDC continues to support and provide technical assistance to businesses within the community, as well as branching into other aspects of community life: safety, sanitation, financial literacy and overall health and wellness. We currently underway with a new revitalization project named “Avenue NYC,” bringing businesses back in the community on Pitkin Avenue.