After Over a Decade in the Job, Executive Director of Pitkin Avenue BID Moves On

After Over a Decade in the Job, Executive Director of Pitkin Avenue BID Moves On
Daniel Murphy, executive director of the Pitkin Avenue BID, at the Pitkin Avenue Halloween Parade in 2017. (Image provided by Murphy)

After more than ten years in the job, Daniel Murphy has left his role as the executive director of the Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District (BID).

Murphy’s departure from the organization, which serves stretches of Pitkin and Rockaway Avenues in Brownsville, was announced yesterday, in an email from the BID’s board of directors. Murphy notified the board of his plans to leave in November; his last day was January 30th.

Daniel Murphy, executive director of the Pitkin Avenue BID, on the left in 2016. Also pictured are late community activist Shirley Jones and Mark Tanis, general manager of Shoppers World Department Store. (Image: Murphy)

“For more than ten years, Mr. Murphy has led the charge of providing essential services to businesses and consumers within Brownsville,” the statement said. “He not only supported the building of community wide relationships, yet Mr. Murphy also hired a dynamic grant manager – stimulating the grant and funding process, engaged government stakeholders, and retained a steadfast commitment towards driving the vision of BID members and the Board.”

Murphy, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, came on as the BID’s executive director in January 2011; before that, he worked at the Gedney-Nine urban planning firm, and as a community coordinator at the Kings County District Attorney’s office.

In his years at Pitkin Avenue, Murphy oversaw a variety of economic development, streetscape and neighborhood improvement initiatives. Those projects included the ”Transform/Restore: Brownsville” series of murals created by young adults on probation, and the Storefront for Brownsville pop-up markets designed to support emerging local entrepreneurs.

He also pushed early on for amenities that had been taken for granted in other parts of the city, including bike lanes and sit-down restaurants.

The mural “The Women of Brownsville: Telling Our Story” at 1522 Pitkin Avenue. Murphy is on the right (Image: Pitkin Avenue BID)

The BID under Murphy also played a role in the recent $5.7 million expansion of Zion Triangle Plaza, which the BID manages as part of the city’s plaza program. The redesign enlarged the plaza to 22,940 square feet by closing parts of Legion Street and East New York Avenues to traffic, and added new greenery and amphitheater-style seating, among other amenities.

Beyond his projects in Brownsville’s public spaces, Murphy told Bklyner he was proud of his work to transform the BID itself, which operates on a comparatively small $225,000 annual assessment, plus approximately $200,000 in additional income from grant contracts. Before his tenure, Murphy said, the BID had quickly cycled through several executive directors and “didn’t have a clear identity.”

New benches, trees and plantings line the center of the plaza in front of the restored Zion Park War Memorial monument
New benches, trees and plantings line the center of the plaza in front of the restored Zion Park War Memorial monument. (Image: NYC Department of Design and Construction)

“It was my role to establish a clear identity and in my mind that was serving the small businesses and customers that had kept the street alive through bad times and good,” Murphy said. “Once that was achieved, we were able to get buy-ins from locals and outside grantors to create mural initiatives, start facade improvements, kickstart homegrown entrepreneurship and hold multiple place-making events.”

He said he plans to begin working as a consultant, a role he hopes will allow him to assist some of the city’s other 75 BIDs in accomplishing their goals.

“You can’t have a healthy community without a healthy downtown,” he said. “And it takes work to build and maintain that relationship. I’ll be taking what I learned in Brownsville and applying it on a different scale but always with the importance of local communities in mind.”

Meanwhile, the BID is now on the lookout for a new executive director who will pick up where Murphy left off.

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