Jessica Lappin Discusses Creating Vibrancy in Lower Manhattan
Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, to discuss creating jobs in Lower Manhattan, the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub and making the area a vibrant place to live, work and visit.
"Jessica Lappin, is president of the Alliance for Downtown New York. Good to see you, Jessica. Great to be here. You were just telling me, while we're at 66th and Broadway, in the heart of Lincoln Center, you were born and raised where? I was born and raised here in New York City. I was born in Brooklyn, but I grew up in Gramercy Park on 19th Street. Yeah. Yeah. Good stuff. And tell us about the Alliance for Downtown New York. What is it? And why is it so important? Well, it's a Business Improvement District. It's the largest one in New York. And what we do, and we've been doing it for over 20 years, is try to make the neighborhood a more vibrant place to live. To work. We've had some... some ups and downs. We were formed in the 90's, when people were leaving Wall Street in droves. When it was a ghost town, with graffiti on the sidewalks, and abandoned buildings. And we were just kind of hitting stride, when 9/11 happened. And have worked really hard, with our partners in government and the private sector, to come back to where we are today. Talk about the impact of 9/11 to the Downtown community. Well I think it's hard to overstate it. You know, it was a tragedy for the country, but clearly for the people who lived there, for the owners, for the businesses, it was devastating. And what's so remarkable to me, is that you know, if you looked at the headlines, from that time, that said people would never live there, that businesses would never come back. Never? Never. That not only are we back, we have far exceeded what you could ever have imagined, and that has been, to me, I think the best part of this success story. Who's there? Who's coming? Who is... who's deciding to be there? Well, what's changed, is you know, people think of it as "the financial district". Right. I don't even like to call it that anymore, because, you know, we went from being 55 percent financial services, companies, to now we're about 35 percent. That's...? It's...? That's it. The whole south side of Wall Street is now residential. It's residential? Residential. People live on almost the entire south side of Wall Street today. Which is remarkable. So who's come? Conde Nast, Time Inc., The Associated Press. We have major advertising companies like GroupM, which is one of the biggest in the world. So this influx of advertising media publishing has really changed the look and feel. It's people who work different hours, or wearing hoodies, fashionistas, you know. And some would argue, kind of the tastemakers for the country..."