A new analysis from the Downtown Alliance about consumer preferences among Lower Manhattan residents points to several striking demographic indicators. The report, “A Growing Market: Lower Manhattan’s Young, Educated and Affluent Residents,” documents that among the 66,000 people who call the square mile below Chambers Street home, the median age is 35, with 62 percent of the local population aged between 25 and 54. That is almost double proportion of the same group in Manhattan as a whole (where 37 percent fall into this tranche) and for the entirety of New York City (31 percent).
The vast majority of these residents are either waiting to have children, or else have decided not to, the report appears to indicate, noting that only 21 percent of Lower Manhattan’s 33,650 households contain children. At the same time, 85 percent of residents have a four-year college degree of higher, while 40 percent have a post-graduate degree.
A majority of people who live Downtown eat at or order from local restaurants twice each week. Priorities among these food mavens include a desire for full-service, casual, non-chain restaurants (48 percent), more variety in cuisine (47 percent), more affordable prices (40 percent), restaurants with later hours (39 percent), and more outdoor dining options (28 percent).
Brick-and-mortar retailers will find scant comfort in data that shows 40 percent of residents “now grocery shop online all or most of the time,” while 33 percent “rarely or never shop online for groceries.”
The top non-grocery retail priorities for Lower Manhattan dwellers are home goods (51 percent), department stores (41 percent), apparel (39 percent), and home improvement (31 percent). Nightlife preferences include a desire for more performing arts options (49 percent), and the wish for more live music/DJ events (41 percent).
When it’s not gauging local consumer preferences, 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.