Alliance Aims to Encourage Storefront Startups in Lower Manhattan
Photo above, Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance: “Opening a new storefront business in New York City is incredibly daunting. Unexpected challenges surface at every turn. That’s why we are committed to helping new retailers survive and thrive in Lower Manhattan.” Photo below right, a row on storefronts on Hanover Square is emblematic of the shifting ground in Lower Manhattan, where small businesses face ruin in the current economic slowdown. The Alliance hopes to give new shops an assist in facing this dilemma.
The Downtown Alliance is offering a package of free incentives and support services, valued at $10,000, to help new retailers and restaurants seeking to open in Lower Manhattan. The Jump Start program is designed to give small businesses a better chance at success in both the physical and online marketplace, by offering up to 20 eligible applicants a customized strategic launch plan, along with four interactive consultation sessions. Services will include advice on everything from driving foot traffic to creating a successful e-commerce platform.
“Opening a new storefront business in New York City is incredibly daunting,” acknowledges Alliance president Jessica Lappin. “Unexpected challenges surface at every turn. Just because you have the best recipe for pho or a keen eye for tech’s next hottest gadget, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to market it online or efficiently set up a payroll system. That’s why we are committed to helping new retailers survive and thrive in Lower Manhattan.”
To support new storefronts, the Alliance is partnering with Streetsense, a Tribeca-based global creative company that aims to solve business challenges with a strategic blend of design, marketing, and consulting. In addition to crafting a launch plan tailored to each business, the company will consult on physical operations, digital marketing, and public relations.
To be eligible applicants must have a signed lease or letter of intent (dated on or after July 1, 2021) for a storefront commercial space located within the Business Improvement District operated by the Alliance (bounded roughly by City Hall in the north and the Battery in the south, between the East River to West Street). This lease must continue for at least one year and the location cannot be open at the time of the application is filed. The storefront must an independent business, with no more than five locations in New York City, and cannot be a national chain or franchise.
This iconic array of small shops on Fulton Street evokes the changing retail landscape Downtown, where small businesses have been buffeted by rising rents and cut-throat competition from e-commerce giants, along with the recent economic downturn triggered by the pandemic coronavirus. The Alliance is providing consulting services to help new shopkeepers transform their retail environments to meet today’s unique needs.
This initiative is the latest in a series of efforts by the Alliance to support local small businesses. Last year, the Alliance awarded over $600,000 in rental assistance grants and, at the height of New York’s pandemic, partnered with Streetsense to provide 35 small businesses with one-on-one technical assistance to ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. (The Alliance also gave $3,000 grants to 27 of those businesses to implement the recommendations Streetsense formulated.) In 2020, the Alliance additionally donated $10,000 each to 11 local arts and cultural groups, to spearhead the recovery of Lower Manhattan from the pandemic coronavirus, and the economic downtown that it unleashed.
When it’s not aiding small business and cultural institutions during times of crisis, the mission of the Downtown Alliance is to enhance Lower Manhattan for businesses, residents and visitors. In furtherance of these goals, the Alliance not only operates the local Business Improvement District, but also provides local security and trash pickup. Among the services provided by the Alliance that Lower Manhattan residents especially prize is the Downtown Connection shuttle, which ferries passengers (free of charge) between more than 30 local stops that link residential areas with business and shopping districts, as part of a partnership with the Battery Park City Authority. The Alliance and its sister organization, the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, also produce research, information, and advocacy designed to brand Lower Manhattan as a global model of a 21st century central business district.
For more information, or to apply for the Alliance’s Jump Start program, go to
Exhibit at Museum of Jewish Heritage Showcases Work of Holocaust Survivor Inspired by Trauma
“I would have liked to make pretty pictures, but something always stopped me,” artist Boris Lurie once reflected on his work, a searing collection of which is now on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on Battery Place. The exhibit, “Nothing to Do But Try,” brings together Lurie’s “War Series,” which recalls his experiences in a succession of Nazi ghettoes and concentration camps. His self portrait is at right.
“Nothing to Do But Try” includes not only Lurie’s art, but also a trove of family photographs, correspondence, diary entries, and ephemera, which provide context and background that ground his work in the historical moment from which it springs. This combination is the first-ever such exhibition of Lurie’s work, and marks the first contemporary art show ever offered by the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
The “Nothing to Do But Try” exhibit is now open at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Place, near First Place) and will run through April 29. Tickets are priced at $18 for adults; $12 for seniors, students, veterans, and handicapped visitors; and admission is free to children under 12 years of age and New York City public school students. For more information, please call 646-437-4202, or browse mjhnyc.org/. To read more…
The annual Dine Around Downtown festival, presented by the Downtown Alliance and hosted by celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, continues its “Cooking At Home Edition,” broadcast via Zoom, which presents Lower Manhattan chefs as they demonstrate easy-to-replicate dishes from their restaurants, while also raising money for food-security charities. Upcoming episodes will feature Hegel Hei (founder Chinah), on October 28; and executive chef Amy Sur-Trevino (of Malibu Farm (on November 18). Participants can register to participate in free upcoming episodes at: downtownny.com/dinearound
Lower Manhattan residents have a new reason to gaze westward, after the Thursday opening and dedication of a new monumental public art piece in Jersey City. “Water’s Soul” is an 80-foot-tall white simulacrum of a woman’s head, with a hand raised to her face, and a single finger poised in front of her lips, as if beckoning the tableau before her to be silent. To read more…
To the Editor:
Good grief! That bizarre head of a woman looking out over our Hudson River is certainly the most grotesque example of a waste of money to be installed recently. It seems any space needed to plop down the latest turkey ends up on the river banks here. Thankfully I am well-enough downstream to not have it visible to me.
Recalling Five Points
Epicenter of a Notorious Slum Memorialized
The City has decided to dignify a district that was once a source of shame and that it later sought to erase, both from memory and the Lower Manhattan streetscape. In 1831, the City government considered a petition that warned, “that the place known as ‘Five Points’ has long been notorious… as being the nursery where every species of vice is conceived and matured; that it is infested by a class of the most abandoned and desperate character.”
Exercise in disguise! Join in on the fun featuring easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography while working on your balance, coordination and range of motion. Come prepared for enthusiastic instruction, a little strength training, and a lot of fun. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: weights, water bottle, hand towel, etc. Masks required. Free.
Billionaire Holocaust survivor George Soros is one of the most influential and controversial figures of our time. Join the Museum for a virtual screening and discussion of Soros, a new film that follows Soros across the globe and pulls back the curtain on his personal history, private wealth, and public activism. This program will feature an exclusive panel discussion with the director Jesse Dylan and producer Priscilla Cohen. Attendees will also receive a private link to stream the film online from October 21 to October 27. $10.
With its amazing gardens and views of the Hudson River, Wagner Park is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Masks required. Free.
The chief endowment officers at foundations, family offices, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds are the leaders in the world of finance. They marshal trillions of dollars on behalf of their institutions and influence how capital flows throughout the world.How do they make investment decisions on everything from hiring managers to portfolio construction? Join us for an afternoon webinar with author Ted Seides as he discusses his new book, Capital Allocators, with Jonathan Brolin, founder and managing partner of Edenbrook Capital LLC, on this opaque corner of the investment landscape.
A. Approval of Budget for Fiscal Year Ending October 31, 2022.
B. Authorization to Amend Contract with Thornton Tomasseti (Physical Site Security Consulting Services)
C. Approval for Increase in Fiscal Year 2022 Spending Authority for On-Call General Contractors, Construction Managers and Engineers.
D. Authorization to Amend Contract with AKRF, Inc. (Historic Cultural Resources Preservation Consulting Services for South BPC Resiliency Project).
E. Approval to Enter into an Agreement with Iron Mountain (Off-site Records Storage).
F. Authorization to Amend Contract with PFM Financial Advisors, LLC (Financial Advisory Services and Independent Registered Municipal Advisor).
G. Authorization to Amend Contracts with Verizon Business Network Services, Inc. (Managed Security and Local Area Network Services).
VIII. MOTION TO CONDUCT EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS NEGOTIATIONS RELATED TO THE LEASE OF REAL PROPERTY, THE PUBLICITY OF WHICH COULD SUBSTANTIALLY AFFECT THE VALUE OF THE RELEVANT PROPERTIES, AND MATTERS LEADING TO THE APPOINTMENT, EMPLOYMENT, PROMOTION, DEMOTION, DISCIPLINE, SUSPENSION, DISMISSAL OR REMOVAL OF A PARTICULAR PERSON OR CORPORATION.
China Institute,”Join top architects and urban thinkers for a wide-ranging discussion on China’s cities of the future. For decades, China’s planners focused on tearing down the old, and building the new in order to fuel the nation’s rapid development. Glistening cities rose, while psychological and social costs took a back seat. Today, as China struts more confidently on the world stage, its architects are reaching back to Chinese tradition to reinvent urban planning—and redefine what it means to be modern. Free.
In recorded presentations by two renowned Mexican families, the museum showcases two traditions central to Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos): the art of making figures from sugar and papier-mâché. These two presentations will take place in Spanish. “The Sweet Story of Alfeñique” follows matriarch Margarita Mondragón as she creates skulls and animals, artworks made of sugar (alfeñique). “The Story of Cartonería Tradicional” (The Story of Papier-mâché) follows artisans Ana Miriam Castañeda Montes de Oca and Martín Ramírez as they make compelling figures known as calaveras (laughing skeletons), figures that humorously and poetically continue with their work in the afterlife. The art form dates to at least to the 17th century and were used to adorn religious spaces and represent various historical figures in processions. Evelyn Orantes and Joaquin Newman will demonstrate how to create paper marigolds. Free.
The Food for Thought series continues its pursuit of three goals – to restart, revive, and reconnect. October’s topic is romantic relationships: How do I find love (safely) in a post COVID-19 world? Join the discussion to learn more about online dating etiquette, long distance tips, and keeping romance steady within marriages. Free.
In American Hotel: The Waldorf-Astoria and the Making of a Century, historian David Freeland recounts the history of not just an American hotel, but, arguably, the American hotel. From the opening as the Waldorf at its first location at Fifth Avenue at 33rd Street in 1893, then more than doubling in size in 1897 into the Waldorf-Astoria, the hostelry rose to prominence on the local, national, and international stage. Opening for business on October 1, 1931, the new uptown Waldorf-Astoria struggled through the Depression, but rose to unparalleled prominence in the postwar years. Functioning like an American palace, the Waldorf served as a favored venue for United Nations diplomats and the hotel of choice for American Presidents until its shuttering in 2017. The Waldorf-Astoria’s story, Freeland writes, “is that of America in the twentieth century, and it would be difficult to imagine any hotel bearing the same degree of influence again. Free.
In this lecture, Jinny Berten will consider the relationship between George Washington and William Lee, the last three days of Washington’s life, Washington’s changing views on slavery and the concerns the Mount Vernon enslaved had with Washington’s last will and testament. Free.
The annual Dine Around Downtown festival, presented by the Downtown Alliance and hosted by celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, continues its “Cooking At Home Edition,” broadcast via Zoom, which presents Lower Manhattan chefs as they demonstrate easy-to-replicate dishes from their restaurants, while also raising money for food-security charities. Today’s episode will feature Hegel Hei (founder Chinah); Participants can register to participate in free upcoming episodes at: downtownny.com/dinearound
The tall ship Wavertree, the lightship Ambrose, and the tug W.O. Decker are open to the public. Explore Wavertree and Ambrose while they are docked; cruise New York Harbor on W.O. Decker. Wavertree and Ambrose visits are free; Decker prices vary. Check website for times, prices and other details.
Wigwam for Wee Ones
The Battery Park City Authority will present “Campfire Stories & Songs” on Saturday, October 30 (from 2:00pm to 4:00pm) in Teardrop Park. Kids and parents are invited to cozy up beside a campfire for stories and sing-alongs, while enjoying snacks and art projects.
This event is free to attend. No reservation required.
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Legendary Actors Studio Offers Free Plays in FiDi Now Through November
The highly regarded Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is currently exhibiting its annual repertory season of plays at the ASDS Repertory Theater in Lower Manhattan.
Starting Wednesday, October 20 and continuing for five weeks (through November 20), the school will present ten productions, ranging from re-stagings of legacy works, to new dramas and musicals. All shows will be staged by students graduating with MFA degrees in acting, directing, and playwriting. All of these performances are free to attend. To read more…
An Ill Wind Blows
World Trade Center Health Program Faces Funding Shortfall
The World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical treatment to people affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is facing an impending budget shortfall that, if left unaddressed, could cause it to scale back services starting in 2025. Activists, local leaders, and elected officials are working to head off this possibility with new legislation.
More than 58,000 people are currently grappling with health problems arising from exposure to environmental toxins on September 11, 2001, and its aftermath. More have died from these illnesses in the years since 2001 than perished on the day of the attacks. There are now 21,000 people suffering from cancers related to September 11.
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Samascott Orchard Orchard fruit, strawberries from Columbia County, New York
Francesa’s Bakery Breads and baked goods from Middlesex County, New Jersey
Meredith’s Bakery Baked goods from Ulster County, New York
Riverine Ranch Water Buffalo meat and cheeses from Warren County, New Jersey
1857 Spirits Handcrafted potato vodka from Schoharie County, New York
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted
TODAY IN HISTORY
An engraving of Erie Canal operations in 1839 at Lockport, NY, from a picture by W.H. Bartlett.
740 – An earthquake strikes Constantinople and the surrounding countryside, causing destruction to the city’s land walls and buildings.
1774 – The first Continental Congress adjourns in Philadelphia.
1775 – King George III of Great Britain goes before Parliament to declare the American colonies in rebellion, and authorizes a military response to quell the American Revolution.
1776 – Benjamin Franklin departs from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.
1825 – The Erie Canal opens: Passage from Albany, New York to Lake Erie.
1936 – The first electric generator at Hoover Dam goes into full operation.
1958 – Pan American Airways makes the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris, France.
1967 – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowns himself Emperor of Iran and then crowns his wife Farah Empress of Iran.
2001 – The United States passes the USA Patriot Act into law.
2002 – Moscow hostage crisis: Approximately 50 Chechen terrorists and 150 hostages die when Russian Spetsnaz storm a theater building in Moscow, which had been occupied by the terrorists during a musical performance three days before.
1609 – William Sprague, English-American settler, co-founded Charlestown, Massachusetts (d. 1675)
1854 – C. W. Post, American businessman, founded Post Foods (d. 1914)
1874 – Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, American philanthropist, founded the Museum of Modern Art (d. 1948)
1916 – François Mitterrand, French lawyer and politician, 21st President of France (d. 1996)
1916 – Boyd Wagner, American colonel and pilot (d. 1942)
1947 – Hillary Clinton, 67th United States Secretary of State and Democratic nominee of President
1951 – Julian Schnabel, American painter, director, and screenwriter