WELCOME Joanna Tallantire! Leading Post-Covid Recovery on 5th  

Park Slope 5th Avenue BID Executive Director, Joanna Tallantire (pictured at right) with Deputy Director, Melisa Coburn at the new 4th Street Plaza. Photo Credit:Ezra Goldstein

Joanna Tallantire, named executive director of the Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) in February, says that she loves her job, just as she loved the eight years she spent as second-in-command to the BID’s founding director, Mark Caserta. “That’s not to say that it’s easy and that there aren’t

constant challenges,” she adds. 

Chief among those challenges has been the lingering effects of Covid-19 on shopping and dining habits. “It’s still a recovery period,” says Tallantire. “Just when business started picking up Omicron came along and hit holiday sales hard. Many people still aren’t comfortable going into shops or restaurants.”

Another challenge is Open Streets, with its 25 part-time employees and $90,000 budget, only half of which comes from the city. 

Nevertheless, there’s plenty to crow about, including the popularity and business success of the same Open Streets. There’s much excitement about the new 4th Street pedestrian plaza on the cul-de-sac between MS51 and Washington Park. Most remarkable is the avenue’s healthy vacancy rate at less than 5%. “Things looked bleak when Covid first hit,” says Tallantire. “We lost around 35 businesses. But we gained 90. Covid made people reevaluate their lives and consider that maybe it was time to chase their dreams.”

Tallantire, who lives in Park Slope very close to 5th Avenue, came to the BID by a circuitous route. She grew up in England, where she earned a masters in environmental studies. She spent six years in Germany, where her two children were born, then came to the U.S. 17 years ago when her husband, who works in financial IT, was

offered a job here. For five years she was a stay-at-home mom who also ran a birthday party planning business called Cheeky Monkey. 

Cheeky Monkey, says Tallantire, “taught me lots about how much work goes into running a small business. I have great empathy for anyone who runs a shop or a restaurant or whatever. I want to do everything I can to support them. I like to think that’s one of the things that makes me well suited to this job.” 

~~ Ezra Goldstein, Treasurer

  • Posted on Oct 17, 2022 by Judy Antell
  • Posted in Civic News