Marble Hill Houses resident Brenda Gibbs has been on the job hunt for about six months. She said she misses the stability of a paycheck from her grocery store job, which helped her provide for herself while her grown sons transition to taking care of their own families.
“I loved to get a paycheck every week,” Ms. Gibbs said. “It was doing me well. I was able to pay my rent.”
The 53-year-old was among nearly 700 people who came to a job fair at the Kingsbridge Library on May 9. People stood in a line snaking around the library for hours in the rain to get a chance at dozens of positions at Broadway Plaza, the mall opening at Broadway and West 231st Street later this year.
Community Board (CB) 8, which worked for years to bring a mall to the Broadway site, organized the job fair. Board officials said the idea was to make sure locals fill openings there.
As helpers let job seekers into the library in small groups last Friday, CB 8 Vice Chairwoman Maria Khury shook hands with individuals and wished them luck.
Candidates then went from table to table in the middle of the library, where representatives of four stores coming to the new mall took applications and gave out information.
Brandishing her resume as she made the rounds, Ms. Gibbs took applications for positions at Aldi, Party City and T.J. Maxx, but decided not to apply at Sports Authority, whose representatives directed job seekers to a website.
Ms. Gibbs joined dozens of other aspirants at the library’s tables and chairs to fill out forms and drop them off before leaving.
“It’s a lot they want to know,” she remarked. “That’s why it’s taking me so long.”
Ms. Khuri said CB 8 officials counted 697 people enter the library’s doors during the fair, with about 70 others still in line at closing time allowed to drop off resumes.
Job seekers brought a wide range of circumstances to the fair. Many, like Ms. Gibbs, reported being out of work for extended periods of time. Others were simply seeking better circumstances than their current jobs provided for.