Jessica Lappin is the President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. The organization manages New York City’s and the country’s largest Business Improvement District (BID) and works to ensure that Lower Manhattan is a thriving and dynamic community. A lifelong New Yorker, former elected official, and previous Crain’s “40 Under 40” honoree, Ms. Lappin has a distinguished record in civic life and public service.
Lappin took the helm of the Alliance in February 2014. She is responsible for providing core sanitation and public safety services that keep the area clean and safe, manages a free bus service, and has made outreach to the street homeless in the area a priority. She has also significantly expanded the free public WiFi network in Lower Manhattan, produced award winning ads and marketing videos, instituted a district-wide solar-powered recycling program, and helped secure nearly $100 million in resiliency funding for Lower Manhattan. On the economic development front, she led the organization’s efforts to create a first-of-its kind innovation hub and collaboration center called Lower Manhattan HQ.
Prior to her tenure at the Alliance, Lappin was elected to serve two terms in the New York City Council, representing the Upper East Side, East Midtown, and Roosevelt Island, and was praised by the New York Times for her “steely resolve, dedication, and energy.” She served as Chair of the Committee on Aging and fought successfully to keep 100 senior centers from closing and to secure funding for meals and other critical senior services. She also played a key role in bringing the Cornell Technion Applied Science and Engineering Campus to Roosevelt Island, oversaw the approval of over 20,000 new public school seats citywide, and spearheaded the successful development of four new waterfront parks. And, as Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus, she authored a nationally recognized, landmark bill to protect women’s health and reproductive rights.
The Aspen Institute, a renowned international think tank, selected her as a Rodel Fellow in 2011. The Rodel program is focused on transcending political partisanship and addressing overarching questions of leadership and effective governance. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY), the Executive Committee of NYC & Company and the boards of the International Downtown Association, FDR Memorial and Four Freedoms Park, Battery Conservancy, American Skin Association, and as an Ex-Officio member of New York City Center. Lappin loves to run and cook and lives in Manhattan with her husband and two sons. She graduated from Georgetown University, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, and from Stuyvesant High School.