Downtown Alliance Celebrates 20 Years of Vision and Service
The Alliance for Downtown New York commemorates its twentieth anniversary this month, marking two decades of work to strengthen and support Lower Manhattan. To commemorate the occasion, the Alliance hosted a celebration at one of Lower Manhattan’s most iconic and historic locations, Cipriani at 25 Broadway, which brought together a host of citywide leaders to honor the organization’s remarkable history and success. The evening also included the presentation of the David Rockefeller Downtown Leadership Award to Robert R. Douglass, who has served as the organization’s chairman throughout its past twenty years.
“I have rediscovered this neighborhood in one magical moment after another,” said Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin.” What I discovered is that this is a place that is at once familiar and entirely new. It’s where our city and country were born, where George Washington took the oath of office as our first president and where countless immigrants have come through. Yet it has been reborn, in big and innovative ways.”
Lappin continued, “All of this required an unprecedented collaborative effort and the support of our elected officials and partners in government. The result of this collaboration has been a great urban success story. I’m looking forward to the next chapter, and I’m honored to lead this great organization.”
In his remarks, Chairman Douglass reflected on how far Lower Manhattan has come since the Alliance’s inception and early years, stating, “It’s exhilarating for me to see our vision being realized in ways that have exceeded our most ambitious expectations. And it has happened despite enormous obstacles, including one of our nation’s gravest tragedies. It’s hard to fathom everything that has changed.”
He also remarked on the district’s future: “Over the years, Lower Manhattan has been impacted by the presence of the Lanape Native American tribe, the Dutch, the English and millions of immigrants arriving on Ellis Island. Now, new forces are shaping this neighborhood as we embark on our next bold chapter. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.”
At the end of the evening’s program, the Alliance unveiled a new film highlighting the district’s and organization’s past twenty years. The film features interviews from influential New Yorkers, testifying to the significance, beauty and power of Lower Manhattan in their own words. Click here to view the video (credit: Milkbox NY).
Photos from the anniversary celebration can be accessed by clicking here (credit: @Michael Priest Photography).
Over the past twenty years, in addition to providing supplemental core services, which include providing more than a hundred public safety and sanitation officers, running a free bus service, managing streetscape improvements and doing outreach to the homeless, the Alliance has supplied authoritative research, marketed and promoted the area and undertaken a variety of economic development initiatives. These efforts have helped Lower Manhattan attract new businesses, boost tourism and hospitality, support commercial tenancy, encourage commercial diversification, stoke a retail revolution and keep the neighborhood safe, clean and welcoming for all.
The Alliance also released a report that examines the vast scope of work the organization has conducted over the past two decades, as well as its incredible success in transforming Lower Manhattan. According to the report:
· There has been a 343% growth in residential population, from 14,000 in 1995 to 62,000 today.
· The vacancy rate has been cut in half, from 20.7% in Q1 1996 to 9% in Q3 2014.
· Open space has increased by 76%, with the addition of nearly 40 acres of space.
· 16 million people have been assisted by Alliance public safety officers.
· The Alliance has collected more than 28,000 tons of garbage.
Click here to access the full report.
About The Alliance for Downtown New York
The mission of the Alliance for Downtown New York is to provide service, advocacy, research and information to advance Lower Manhattan as a global model of a 21st century Central Business District for businesses, residents and visitors. The Downtown Alliance manages the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District (BID), serving an area roughly from City Hall to the Battery, from the East River to West Street.