Senior Staff

Barbara Askins serves as President and CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District in Upper Manhattan (Harlem) in New York City. Her fields of specialization include Economic Development, Workforce Development and Community Building, Nonprofit and Grassroots Organizing, Urban Planning, Government, and Media Relations. She has done extensive work as a public involvement specialist throughout her career, spearheading countless improvement projects, including projects centered on transportation, environmental and facility planning, among others. Ms. Askins’ work has expanded across several cities that included reconstruction of highways and city streets, upgrading rail and bus systems, improving sewage-treatment facilities, and developing creative public spaces, sports and conventions centers.

Ms. Askins successfully created the first and only Business Improvement District in the Harlem community. She is guiding the development of result-oriented strategies involving retail plans, re-zoning for future growth, cultural sustainability, and evaluating the interplay between science, technology and businesses.  To forge a livable, safe, and inclusive community, she is working with Columbia University researching ways to use technologies built on advances in wireless communications that promote privacy and security while balancing community-defined benefits.


Her public involvement strategies have led to successes such as the annual Harlem Holiday Lights celebration, the first cultural bonus incentive in New York City to be used to shape the future of 125th Street as a cultural destination. Working closely with NYPD bringing together 12 other city agencies she is driving an interagency and community involvement approach that is addressing crime, homelessness, mental illness, sanitation, and streetscape improvements.


She has served as the Chair of the International Downtown Association (IDA), Vice Chair and Treasurer of New York City’s BID Manager’s Association, and Chair of Manhattan Community Board #10 in Central Harlem. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia University School of International Public Policy and serves as a member of CUNY School of Public Health Dean’s Advisory Council.  She has participated in a TEDTalk series, and served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Place Management and Development (United Kingdom) and Global Urban Development.


She is highly respected in the downtown management industry and her advice and sharing of best practices has been sought after in the establishment and operation of BIDs globally. Recently this has taken her to the House of Parliament in Sweden to prove the value of Business Improvement Districts. She has received many honors and awards.   

Her passion is art.




Anthony Baker
Director of Operations

Doslyn Moody
Executive Assistant

Darlene Gillard
Events Producer

Nicholas and Lence
Public Relations

Stephen Franiciosa
BID Accountant

Daniel Blumenstein
BID Attorney