The Explorer In Chief Dream Job Campaign

Lower Manhattan’s Explorer In Chief Contest: 
The Best Summer Job In The History Of Summer Jobs

In early 2020, the Downtown Alliance launched the Explorer in Chief contest, calling for one-minute video submissions for the ultimate summer dream job. 

For the Explorer In Chief, this would be a life-changing opportunity to work as a travel ambassador in one of the world’s high-profile tourism destinations. For the Downtown Alliance, it would be a game-changing way to showcase Lower Manhattan as an extraordinary place to visit and live. 

The Campaign Launched To Great Success

Coverage spanned across national and international TV broadcasts, magazines, newspapers and social media, including Travel and Leisure, ABC News, Time Out, Thrillist, Travel Noire, Afar, Gothamist and Politico. 

The Downtown Alliance received 700 application videos from 40 states and 30 countries across the globe. 

Selection Process

The Downtown Alliance team watched all 700 video submissions against a set of predetermined judging criteria. Fifteen semi-finalists were selected, and a panel of judges selected three finalists for a round of video interviews.

Amid The Selection Process, The Covid Pandemic Hit New York City

It became clear that our Explorer in Chief would need to balance reflective documentary skills with a traveler’s eye for wonder to capture this complex chapter of Lower Manhattan’s history.

Josh Katz was chosen for the role, to draw people back to Lower Manhattan and showcase the neighborhood’s recovery. A documentary photographer, filmmaker and author with over 500,000 followers on social media, Josh would be the perfect balance of skilled visual storytelling and engaging a wide audience with varied interests.

Campaign Launch

One year later, Josh began his residency downtown on May 1, 2021, living in a one-bedroom suite at Mint House at 70 Pine — voted #1 hotel in the United States by TripAdvisor. His mission: to document the recovery of a major urban neighborhood through the stories of Lower Manhattan’s people and businesses.

Explorer In Chief Dream Job Campaign Results

700+ submissions
40+ US states
30+ countries 
1 winner 

Resulted in:  
76 Instagram posts, nearly one per day. 
Viral Reels videos reaching north of 172,000 views.
50+ local stakeholders received feature pieces.

Explorer In Chief Dream Job Gallery