Alliance Throws a Lifeline to Lower Manhattan Small Businesses
Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance: “There is not one storefront business in New York City that has been spared by COVID-19. Every one of them is struggling. We are stepping up to do what we can to help our stores keep their lights on.”
The Downtown Alliance is launching a new program to help storefront businesses in Lower Manhattan, via which it plans to give away $800,000 in grants.
The Small Business Rental Assistance Grant program aims to offer immediate help to shops currently providing vital services to residents and essential workers in Lower Manhattan during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and is funded with contributions from Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties and the Howard Hughes Corporation, as well as $250,000 from the Alliance itself.
“The Alliance has long worked to nurture the growth of local retail, and that focus will continue to drive our recovery efforts,” explains Alliance president Jessica Lappin. “There is not one storefront business in New York City that has been spared by COVID-19. Every one of them is struggling. We are stepping up to do what we can to help our stores keep their lights on. We know there are a number of landlords trying to work with tenants, and we hope all property owners will be as flexible and creative as they can be at this challenging time.”
The Grant Program will offer $10,000 each to small businesses as a single direct payment to be applied to April or May rent. Applicants must be:
• Currently open and providing an “essential” service as defined by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the PAUSE order of March 22
• Located on the ground floor within the boundaries of the Business Improvement District operated by the Alliance (roughly from City Hall to the Battery, between West Street and the East River)
• An independent business with five or fewer locations in New York City, and fewer than 20 employees as of March 1, 2020
• Have gross annual revenue below $1.5 million
• Have a lease at their current location through December 31, 2020
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 — distress compounded by higher fixed costs (such as rent) than in many other communities and the fact that many of the 1,000-plus shops and restaurants below Chambers Street are dependent on tourism and business travel for their livelihood. Both of these customer bases have largely disappeared for the foreseeable future.
Applications will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, through May 15 or until funding has been exhausted. Required documentation includes the business’s federal tax return (IRS form 941) for the fourth quarter of 2019, and relevant pages from the store’s lease.
“Brookfield is committed to Lower Manhattan and to doing what we can to help build bridges for its small businesses — such a big part of what makes Downtown a great place — to survive and recover,” says Ric Clark, chairman of the Brookfield Property Group, who also serves as chairman of the Downtown Alliance. Lower Manhattan has come back again and again from steep challenges. We know it will again.”
Larry Silverstein, whose firm operates the World Trade Center, along with numerous other iconic Downtown properties, says, “Lower Manhattan is one of the greatest neighborhoods in the world, thanks in large part to its dynamic mix of restaurants, shops, bars and other small businesses. Downtown’s businesses have been through a lot over the past two decades, but we are resilient, and will once again come back better and stronger than ever. Until that time, we need to stand together, which makes me grateful for this opportunity to directly support our most treasured local establishments.”
Saul Scherl, president of the New York tri-state region for the Howard Hughes Corporation, says, “our City’s vibrant neighborhood businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. The Howard Hughes Corporation is proud to support the Downtown Alliance’s grant program to help essential small businesses hard-hit by COVID-19. Lower Manhattan has been through the toughest of times, and has always found a way to rise again. These grants will ensure these important local businesses are ready and able to drive New York City’s post-pandemic economic recovery.”
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 a succession of cataclysms — from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, and the floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The Small Business Rental Assistance Grant is just one part of broader effort by the Alliance to support businesses that are adversely impacted by the health crisis, and economic slowdown it has triggered. The Alliance is also actively working to help Lower Manhattan’s business community weather the shut-down by educating local business owners about available funding opportunities, convening working groups, communicating to residents which businesses are open, and spotlighting essential workers who are making a difference. The Alliance plans to continue these efforts throughout the recovery phase, with dedicated marketing programs and initiatives to help turn the lights back on across the neighborhood.
The Grant Program reprises similar efforts that sought to help Downtown small businesses in years past. In 2012, the Alliance spearheaded the Lower Manhattan: Back to Business Small Business Grant Program, which offered cash support to local retailers, restaurants and service providers affected by Hurricane Sandy. Similar, earlier programs were launched by Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, to combat the local malaise that afflicted small firms in the following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and again during the economic downturn that began in 2008.
“Small businesses are what make New York, well, New York,” reflects Ms. Lappin. “We are committed to supporting them, and larger businesses too, through this tough, unprecedented time. New Yorkers have always banded together, especially during tough times. We know that what impacts some of us impacts all of us. I am thankful to be part of such a strong community, one that knows we are all in this together.”
When it’s not aiding small businesses 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 operates the Business Improvement District that covers the area south of Chambers Street, and 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.
David Rocco reported a magnificent day on the waterfront in Bayonne, New Jersey on April 29 as the Blue Angels/Thunder Birds flyover delighted and uplifted crowds of social-distancers.
Free Lunch, and Much More
The City is providing free “Grab and Go” meals for anybody (not just students) who needs or wants them, at 435 public schools throughout the five boroughs.
Two facilities in Battery Park City—Stuyvesant High School (345 Chambers Street, near North End Avenue, and P.S./I.S. 276 (55 Battery Place, near First Place)—have been designated to serve Lower Manhattan as “Meal Hubs, each weekday, from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm.
Children and families are welcome from 7:30 to 11:30 am, and adults will be given food from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. All adults and children can pick up multiple meals at once. Parents and guardians may pick up meals for their children.
No registration, identification, or documentation is required. Vegetarian and halal are available at all locations. No one will be turned away at any time, but no dining space is available at these facilities, so meals must be eaten off premises.
Remembering a Fallen Healer
A Local Leader Recalls Tribeca’s Nisar Quraishi
Nisar A. Quraishi, MD (1947 – 2020)
Russ Schulman, a longtime resident of Tribeca and the associate executive director at Manhattan Youth, says of Dr. Nisar A. Quraishi, “he was my primary care physician for decades, and a trusted friend.”
Dr. Quraishi, who died from COVID-19 (the disease caused by the pandemic coronavirus) in April, at age 73, was a Tribeca pioneer, hanging out a shingle in 1976 at the then-new Independence Plaza, just a few years after earning a degree in medicine in his native Pakistan.
“I loved him from the first moment,” Mr. Schulman recalls. “He was always very thoughtful, very kind and reassuring. A great doctor, in every sense.”
More than 30 Lower Manhattan restaurants and bars have set up GoFundMe pages to raise money that will help them pay employees and otherwise remain viable during the economic downturn induced by the pandemic coronavirus.
Each of these campaigns is an opportunity not only to help your favorite eatery, but also to make less likely the very real prospect that—come the next recovery—our streetscape will be populated entirely by corporate chains and denuded of locally owned small businesses.
The Downtown Alliance has set up a page with links to each, click here.
To the editor:
I am finding it impossible to walk on the esplanade with all the speeding bicyclists and runners (most not wearing face masks).
After the bike path was built on West Street, I believe biking on the esplanade where elderly and children walk is far too dangerous – even pre-pandemic.
C.V. Stands for More Than Just Coronavirus
LMHQ, the collaborative workspace operated by the Downtown Alliance for companies in the technology, advertising, media, and information industries, will offer an online workshop, “Cultivating Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty,” on Tuesday, May 5, at 12 noon.
Hosted by Rose Chan Siow (founder and principal of SCOUT, a talent acquisition and recruitment firm that specialized in women and non-profits), this virtual session is free to attend.
Data Scientist Finds That Downtown Footpaths Impede Social Distancing
This online data visualization map shows the prevalence of streets in Lower Manhattan deemed too narrow for effective distancing from passersby.
Although Lower Manhattan is among the communities least affected by the pandemic coronavirus anywhere in the five boroughs, it faces one increased risk that most other neighborhoods do not. A new analysis shows that narrow sidewalk widths in the square mile below Chambers Street make it especially difficult to practice social distancing here.
Meli Harvey, a senior computational designer at Sidewalk Labs — an urban innovation organization owned by Google, which aims to improve civic infrastructure through technological solutions — has completed an inventory of sidewalk widths throughout the five boroughs.
“It started a few weeks ago, when I was walking around Boreum Hill, where I live,” Ms. Harvey recalls, “and noticed that it was tough to walk while avoiding people. The width of the sidewalks make it necessary to move into the street. And suddenly, I made the connection between sidewalk widths and social distancing. I have also worked in the Financial District, so I immediately thought of that area and its narrow sidewalks, too.” To read more…
An April Intervention
The Hunter and the Hunted, Along with a Haunted Onlooker
Isaiah Berlin famously observed that, “the fox knows many little things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” A Lower Manhattan resident thought of this on a Saturday afternoon in mid-April, when Downtown was locked down, but he ventured outside — desperate for fresh air, seeking signs of life — and was confronted by this tableaux in the Battery. The raptor perched on the park bench knew one big thing: that he was too large to get beneath the seat, where his lunch awaited. And the squirrel below knew one little thing: that he was safe as long as he stayed where he was.
Educational Coordinator National Lighthouse Museum
The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought life as we know it in New York City to a grinding halt with the onset of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order of March 22nd, 2020.
With schools and non-essential businesses closed, New Yorkers find themselves in a quasi-quarantine state, as they are encouraged by public officials to stay home, maintain social distance, avoid using public transportation, and venture outside only for short trips of absolute necessity.
If they are among the unfortunate who find themselves ill, they are subject to more stringent forms of quarantine, either self-isolation for periods of fourteen days or more in their homes, or in separate wards in our local hospitals where they are denied the comfort of visits from family and friends. A general threat to public health of this magnitude may not reside in the memories of New Yorkers during their own lifetimes, yet the threat of infectious disease, and strict quarantine measures are not new to this city’s history.
Here at the National Lighthouse Museum, New York’s historical implementation of quarantine to prevent the spread of infectious disease is part of the heritage of our site. The grounds of the General Depot of the United States Lighthouse Service occupy land that once housed the largest quarantine facility in the United States: The Maritime Hospital of New York, known simply as, the Quarantine.
Federal Hall, the site of George Washington’s inauguration
311 – Emperor Galerius legally recognizes Christians in the Roman Empire
1315 – Enguerrand de Marigny is hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon.
1789 – George Washington inaugurated as first US president
1803 – US doubles in size through Louisiana Purchase ($15 million)
1808 – First practical typewriter finished by Italian Pellegrini Turri
1859 – Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities is first published in literary periodical All the Year Round, continues in weekly installments until Nov 26
1864 – New York becomes first state to charge a hunting license fee
1904 – Ice cream cone makes its debut at the St Louis Exposition
1925 – Automaker Dodge Brothers, Inc is sold to Dillon, Read & Company for $146 million plus $50 million for charity.
1939 – New York World’s Fair opens
One of the first exhibits to receive attention was the Westinghouse Time Capsule, which was not to be opened for 5,000 years (the year 6939).
The time capsule was a tube containing writings by Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann, copies of Life Magazine, a Mickey Mouse watch, a Gillette Safety Razor, a kewpie doll, a dollar in change, a pack of Camel cigarettes, millions of pages of text on microfilm, and more. The capsule also contained seeds of foods in common use at the time: (wheat, corn, oats, tobacco, cotton, flax, rice, soy beans, alfalfa, sugar beets, carrots and barley, all sealed in glass tubes). The time capsule is located at 40°44′34.089″N 73°50′43.842″W, at a depth of 50 feet (15 m). A small stone plaque marks the position.
1961 – First shuttle flights begin between Washington DC, Boston and NYC
1975 – Last US helicopter leaves US embassy grounds, Saigon surrenders
1980 – Terrorists seize Iranian Embassy in London
1991 – In Bangladesh a cyclone kills over 131,000 and leaves 9 million homeless
2008 – Two skeletal remains found near Ekaterinburg, Russia, were confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia and one of his sisters.
2009 – Chrysler automobile company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
2009 – Failed attack on the Dutch Royal Family results in 7 deaths and 17 injured.
2012 – The unfinished One World Trade Center overtakes the Empire State building to become the tallest building in New York
A view taken from the side of one of the many lagoons at the New York World’s Fair
on July 7, 1939 ( AP Photo )
1877 – Alice B. Toklas, American companion of Gertrude Stein (d. 1967)
1829 – George Washington Adams, son of John Q Adams, dies on City Is NYC
1883 – Édouard Manet, French impressionist painter dies at 61
1900 – John Luther (Casey) Jones, dies in Cannonball Express train wreck
1945 – Adolf Hitler, commits suicide at 56
1983 – George Balanchine, Russian/US ballet composer/choreographer, dies from Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease at 79
1994 – Richard McClure Scarry, children’s book illustrator/writer, dies at 74
NEWS FROM PREVIOUS EDITIONS
OF THE BROADSHEETDAILY
The Curve Flattens
Rate of Increase for Confirmed Infections Among Downtown Residents Tapers Off
Lower Manhattan’s eight zip codes are the site of 585 confirmed cases of coronavirus, up from 529 cases on April 17, which represents an increase of approximately 10.5 percent in one week.
A total of 585 residents of Lower Manhattan (among 1,530 who have been tested) are confirmed to have been infected by the pandemic coronavirus, according to statistics released by the City’s Department of Health. According to the DOH data, the local infection rates (outlined out by zip code) break down as follows: To read more…
Downtown Hotel Business May Be an Enduring Casualty of Pandemic
The Conrad Hotel is being used to house healthcare workers battling the pandemic coronavirus.
As local travel and tourism have ground to a halt in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus, one Downtown business sector is undergoing what may be a permanent transformation. By any reasonable yardstick, the hotel business in Lower Manhattan has been drastically overbuilt — the result of nearly two decades of giddy speculation, by developers.
Today, there are 37 hotels operating in the square mile below Chambers Street, offering more than 7,900 rooms, according to the 2019 Lower Manhattan Real Estate Year in Review, a report from the Downtown Alliance.
how to care for your pet during the COVID-19 Pandemic
It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again
Facing Budget Deficit, City Hall Has Plans for BPCA Funds
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio will be drawing on nearly $10 million in funds from the Battery Park City Authority to help close the budget cap created by the economic slowdown that has arisen from the pandemic coronavirus.
Three weeks ago, we launched the Taste of Tribeca Community Fund.
Since then you have given us over $60,000 and with this we have purchased over 4,800 meals from 10 Taste of Tribeca restaurants for delivery to 11 New York City hospitals, plus FDNY Ladder 8, FDNY Engine 7, the NYPD 1st Precinct, and NYC Department of Sanitation Manhattan District 1.
You have helped to keep these restaurants in business, and in turn the restaurant teams have been doing some of the most important cooking and meal service of their careers, for the healthcare workers on the front lines against Covid-19.
The importance of your contribution cannot be emphasized enough. As another organization doing similar work has put it, we are not merely sending care packages as a thank you to the healthcare workers. We are providing them with basic nourishment, which they have no time to buy on their own, and in some areas no one even from whom to buy them.
And in our little corner of the city, we have restaurants willing and able to serve and for whom our large orders are essential to the continued operation of their business.
We are now down to our last few thousand dollars, which, at our current pace, will last us another few days to a week. We would love to keep going until at least May 15, so please consider donating again if you can, and share our mission with your families, friends and colleagues. Your continued generosity and support will directly benefit our restaurants, our neighborhood, and the healthcare heroes in our great city.
Thank you from all of us at Taste of Tribeca!
If you can help us, we would appreciate it.
Here is our most recent campaign update sent to donors, plus our GoFundMe and Instagram feed. Our current meal count is over 5,000.
Who remembers Iggy, the 40-foot iguana formerly of the Lone Star Cafe on Lower 5th Avenue and subsequently perched atop Pier 25 by Bob Wade and Bob Townley in the 1980s? For some years now, Iggy has resided at the Fort Worth Texas Zoo reptile exhibit. The charismatic iguana was recently seen practicing social distancing.
EYES TO THE SKY
April 20 – May 3, 2020
Not to be missed: International Dark Sky Week programs reach us at home.
Now in progress, International Dark Sky Week:
The International Dark-Sky Association invites us — with a special nod to homebound families — to engage with dynamic authors, educators, artists, and scientists from around the world. The distinguished presenters are excited to share their passion for astronomy, our cultural connection to the stars, life in the dark, and how we can work together to protect the night.
Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order requiring all people in New York to wear masks or face coverings in public, including when taking public or private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles.
More information: coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home or call 1-888-364-3065.All non-essential workers must continue to work from home and schools will be closed through May 15th, and everyone is required to maintain a 6-foot distance from others in public photo courtesy: BPCA
‘As Sick as I’ve Ever Been in My Life’
One Survivor’s First-Person Account of Grappling with the Coronavirus
(Editor’s Note: This narrative was supplied to the Broadsheet by a Battery Park City resident who has asked to remain anonymous.)
When I first heard about this, back in late January or early February, I wasn’t sure how it was different from a more serious version of seasonal flu, because the narrative was familiar — starting in Asia, and coming from some kind of animal population. The one difference I remember noting was that this sounded much more contagious.
After that, I didn’t think much more about it for several weeks, other than to frame it as a kind of “second” flu season. But near the end of February, the beginning of March, my perception changed, along with everybody else’s. This was clearly different, because of how it had jumped to humans, and how aggressively it was spreading.
As business activity ground to a halt in March due to the pandemic coronavirus, the market for apartments in Lower Manhattan experienced something akin to a heart attack during the first quarter on this year, according to analyses from two real estate data firms.
A pair of reports from Platinum Properties, a brokerage firm headquartered in the Financial District, documents the carnage in Battery Park City and the Financial District. The first notes that the median price for condominiums sold in Battery Park City dropped from $1.515 million in the first quarter of 2019 to $1.005 million in the same period this year. That represents a 33.7 percent decline in 12 months, and a 14 percent decline just since the last quarter of 2019, when the median price was $1.168 million. To read more…
Doing Good, Even When Not Doing Well
A Local Business Struggles to Survive, By Helping Those Less Fortunate
In happier times: Karen Barwick (right) and her staff, at Tribeca’s Boomerang Toys
Karen Barwick, the proprietress of Boomerang Toys in Tribeca, which has been a fixture in the lives of generations of Lower Manhattan kids, is leading a push to bring a smile to the faces of homeless children, who are quarantined in shelters, while also helping small businesses.
“We have teamed up with several other neighborhood toy stores that are struggling, because of being locked down,” she explains, “and partnered with Homeless Services United” (HSU) — a coalition of nearly sixty non-profit agencies serving homeless families. By browsing www.BoomerangToys.com, and clicking on the Donate button, users can purchase a toy that will be delivered to a shelter by the HSU’S existing distribution network, which already parcels out clothing and food. To read more…
Facing Adversity, One Community Leader Tries to Lead By Example
In the days following September 11, 2001, Bob Townley called the community together at the basketball court at the intersection of Canal Street and Avenue of the Americas.
Bob Townley, the founder and executive director of Manhattan Youth, reflects, “I’ve been through this before — twice, actually.” He is referring to a pair of previous cataclysms that seemed to threaten the viability of the Lower Manhattan community he serves, as well as the organization he leads.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the inundation of Hurricane Sandy, 11 years later, both wrecked the neighborhood. And both raised questions about whether Manhattan Youth, which provides services to thousands of school children, families, and seniors, could remain viable. So the ongoing crisis related to the pandemic coronavirus is not without precedent for him.
New Amsterdam Market returns in virtual format, as a service to the growing community of purveyors, distributors, producers and other small businesses who are creating regional, sustainable, regenerative, healthful, and equitable food systems.
A pair of peregrin falcons are back in Lower Manhattan, high above 55 Water Street. Click to watch a live camera as they care for their clutch of eggs that are expected to hatch in the coming weeks.
Biking through traffic seven years ago at lunch hour in downtown Manhattan compared to the dearth of people and traffic after the Corona virus epidemic is a huge contrast. Footage is sped up, so although it may look a but scary, the ride was totally safe!