The special series "Making Census Of It" continues with a look at Manhattan this week, and NY1's Shazia Khan breaks down the changing demographics of the borough.
It was a neighborhood in limbo, reeling from devastation and loss in 2001. A decade later, Lower Manhattan has resurfaced as one of the fastest growing areas in the city.
“After 9/11, a lot of people counted this community down and out,” says Julie Menin, chairperson of Community Board 1. “They said people aren't going to want to live downtown, people aren't going to want to work downtown, they're not gonna want to visit downtown, and we proved them wrong.”
Census results show the population for Battery Park City and the Financial District almost doubled to 40,000 in just a decade. Community leaders estimate thousands more and say the numbers are not surprising.
“We've done residential surveys that show that it's the quality of life,” says Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance. “It's the biggest buildings on the smallest streets, it's the schools, it's the ability to walk to work — 30 percent of people who live in Lower Manhattan do.”
Berger also says that parks, views, and convenient access to all modes of transportation are luring folks to the tip of the island.
Juliet Burrows has been living in Battery Park City since 1998.
“It used to be no man’s land down here, and now it’s a very desirable place to live, and we're well aware of that,” says Burrows.
Tax incentives have fueled the conversion of office buildings into residential units since the 1990s, and Menin says that after 9/11, federal aid was secured to create stability within the neighborhood.
“There [was] a package of benefits for people to sign leases downtown or to remain in their apartment there,” says Menin. “We also got incentives for small businesses and mid to large-sized business.”
Single men and young families top the list of residents moving in.
Two new public schools have opened in recent years and plans for more are underway to accommodate a burgeoning population, one which community leaders project will double in the next five years.