Glenn Greenidge: More Than Just a “Mayor”  

Glenn Greenidge: More Than Just a “Mayor”  
Glenn Greenidge Executive Director Sutphin Blvd BID. Picture credit: Twitter

By Robert Golomb 

“I don’t know if I have earned the unofficial title of Mayor of Sutphin Boulevard, but that is what some people call me”, Glenn Greenidge told me in a recent interview conducted in the South Jamaica Queens’ headquarters of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID), for which he has served as the Executive Director since December 2015.  

The “some people” to whom Greenidge was referring are the 134 business and 59 property owners whose establishments or homes are located within the BID borders, covering Jamaica’s Sutphin Boulevard Hillside to 94th Avenue. Protecting the interests of these entrepreneurs and home owners, Greenidge explained, is an essential part of his job.  

“One of the fundamental missions of BID is to safeguard the interests of the entrepreneurs and home owners in our community”, he stated. “Both groups share many of the same concerns, the most important of which, we have found, is maintaining safety. Through BID’s partnership with the 103rd Precinct {the local precinct}”, Greenidge added, “we have been able to be proactive in alerting police officials of any public safety concerns, expressed to us by residents- mostly concerning vandalism-, and business owners- mostly concerning vandalism and petty theft.  That relationship with the police, I believe, has helped keep our community be one of the safest in New York City.” 

In addition to promoting a positive relationship between the police and the Sutphin Blvd. community, Greenidge’s job engages him in projects which provide other forms of support specific to the business men and women in the area. As he explained to me, “We value and respect our business owners. And our goal is to support them in every way possible…. If you ask our store owners, they will, I believe, tell you how much the promotional material we provide, the supplemental sanitation services we oversee, and the many projects, such as the annual December holiday lighting event we initiate, help them succeed.” 

Still, there are approximately 260,000 other people who benefit from Greenidge’s work at BID. And yet, they, almost surely, neither know his name nor are aware of the work he does on their behalf.  Those 260,000 people are the daily commuters who use the Sutphin Blvd. at Jamaica Subway Station (JSS) as their hub to trains that will take them to their homes and jobs in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. There are also approximately 8,500 daily airline travelers who board at JSS the specially designed train (aka“Airtrain”) for a short 8 minute ride to their JFK Airport destination who benefit from Greenidge’s work but to whom he remains unknown.   

Much of that behind the scenes work which Greenidge performs on behalf of these thousands of JSS commuters, just as with Sulphin Blvd.’s business and home owners, Greenidge noted, involves helping provide for their safety. “It is essential to our community and for that matter for the entire city to make sure that the more than one quarter of a million commuters who cross the (JSS) station every day feel, and indeed, are safe”, he stated. “Since there are three police agencies- the NYPD, the Port Authority PD and the MTA PD- a major part of my job involves keeping all three departments alerted to any potential danger to public safety, such as threatening behavior emanating from aggressive panhandlers and people with obvious severe mental disorders.” 

While Greenidge, 63, told me that his salaried job at BID leaves him working in his office or walking the streets of Sutphin Blvd on average 60 hours a week, he still finds the time to work as a volunteer for two locally based community institutions.                                      

The first of the two volunteer jobs we discussed was Greenidge’s position as the Chairman of Economic Development of Community Board 12(CB12)- the second largest of the 14 Queens’ community boards, stretching from Downtown Jamaica (which encompasses the entire territory of BID) to the outskirts of JFK Airport. Noting that his job at CB12 (which began in December 2011 )includes promoting local businesses (paralleling his efforts at BID), overseeing the writing of federal grants geared to provide financial incentives for manufacturers to set-up shop within the boundaries of CB12 and writing evaluations analyzing the impact upon the community of any proposal concerning the private purchase of public property situated within the board’s boundaries, Greenidge stated, “ I feel privileged to hold a position that enables me to  help small businesses grow, bring manufacturing companies to our community- both of which create thousands of new jobs-  and make certain that the approval of {public to private} land sales is always conditioned on the best interests of the community’s  residents and business owners.”                  

In the second volunteer job he assumed Greenidge was afforded still another way to serve the public. Appointed in December 2017 as Secretary of the Board of Directors to head the Real Estate Committee of the Far Rockaway, Queens  located  Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Care Center( JPA)-  a  three floor, forty room facility whose physicians and other health care professionals provide a broad range of preventive and curative care to the hundreds of infants, children and adults they treat daily- Greenidge was charged with overseeing a major building  expansion project, which upon its expected completion in early 2020 will double the physical space of the Center.                   

Describing the importance of the expansion of JPA, which as a federally sanctioned provider accepts all privately and publicly insured patients as well as those who are uninsured, Greenidge stated, “This will give the Center, which has already earned the reputation throughout the medical and patient advocate community of providing the highest quality medical care to all people including the uninsured, the ability to double the number of patients its doctors and other health care providers can treat.”  

While Greenidge, I learned, rarely takes a vacation from these three jobs, he will in fact be leaving Southern Jamaica from July 31 to August 5th for a trip to Detroit. There, though, rather than enjoying a well- deserved vacation, Greenidge will serve as one of 15 facilitators at the 27th International Black Summit (IBS). 

 

 IBS, as Greenidge informed me, is a non- profit international organization which has held its annual events in 11 different cities throughout 4 continents and is attended by a worldwide membership of people of all ages of black African descent. These attendees, Greenidge noted, come to the event to learn from one another about how to best employ their knowledge and skills to achieve their greatest potential- both on a personal and professional level.      

Citing what he hopes will be achieved in August’s Summit, Greenidge, who has been involved with IBS since its birth in 1991, stated, “We, as in the past, will look introspectively at our lives to determine what works and what has not been working, using distinctions gleaned from the Summit to share ideas on how to further develop ourselves as people of black African ancestry throughout the world. Let me add that we want to share what we learned from one another at the Summit with the entire global community, because we hope to help all people of all   nations, races, religions and creeds to prosper and grow.”    

 Seems that Glenn Greenidge is more than just a “Mayor”.  

Robert Golomb is a nationally and internationally published columnist. Mail him at MrBob347@aol.com and follow him on Twitter@RobertGolomb