By Wynter Carl
As a Coverdell Fellow, I have been granted the opportunity to intern for the Belmont Business Improvement District (BID). The Belmont District of the Bronx surrounds Fordham University, so most students are familiar with the businesses that are promoted by the BID. The mission of the BID is to promote, as well as aid in the economic well-being of the businesses in the community. There is a lot of culture and history in the “Little Italy of the Bronx” and the community prides itself on that strong ethnic heritage. There are many different cultures and backgrounds represented in Little Italy and the extensive list of great cuisine and specialty shops demonstrates that.
I began this internship in the midst of the pandemic, so my internship with the Belmont BID looks different than what it normally is. For example, this year, the famous Ferragosto festival was cancelled due to the health risk of drawing in thousands of people to enjoy Italian culture, tradition, music, and food. Despite the pandemic, the BID was still able to do a beautiful display of Christmas lights (see above picture) during the holiday season. The internship normally consists of more hands-on help with running events and going out more into the community, but my experience was slightly different as it has been remote.
My main tasks are updating the BID’s website with relevant articles, updating and adding local merchants to the site, and updating street permits. I have gained a lot of digital experience through using platforms I was not previously familiar with. Even though I have not been able to be as physically present in the community, I feel very connected to Little Italy and I routinely visit the delicious restaurants! This has been a great experience and the Belmont BID has done a great job bolstering morale in the community in such a difficult time.