Is FiDi a True Neighborhood?

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An event at the Léman Preparatory School showcased local FiDi businesses to bolster the area's sense of community

Last week the FiDi Association brought several local businesses and community members together to the Léman Preparatory School ballroom to provide a flavor of the neighborhood and promote the Downtown Alliance's "Going Green" program, which aims to beautify the area's parks.

Brylee Maxfield, the communications manager at Léman, said one goal of the evening was to show community members they don't have to leave the Financial District to patronize certain businesses or experience a sense of community.

"The Financial District is the fastest growing neighborhood in the City," added Melissa Andreev, president of the FiDi Association and general manager of local business Maison du Chocolat, which had a prominent table at the event.

"It's a completely livable neighborhood," said Andreev.

This may come as a surprise to those who remember a neighborhood which used to darken and all but close down as soon as employees left their office buildings.

Jason Stahl, who works for "Downtown Magazine," said that simply is no longer true.

"The Financial District doesn't shut down at five anymore," he said. "You can see that from the development in the area."

"I would live down here if I could afford it," Stahl, a Hoboken resident, added.

Stahl said the founder of "Downtown Magazine" lives in Battery Park City herself and her love for the area comes across in the magazine.

The magazine, like many local businesses, was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, but Stahl said they have made a strong comeback, including putting out an issue on "resiliency."

Jessica Lai, who attended the event with friends as a Financial District resident, said there is definitely a sense of community and livability in the area.

"It feels homey, safe, comfortable," she said. "People recognize each other."

Real estate broker Santo Rosabianco, representing the company Rosabianco & Associates, called the neighborhood "an exceptional place to live."

Rosabianco pointed to the area's parks, subway lines, commercial growth and booming night life.

"There are more childbirths down here than in any other area," said Rosabianco, adding new school districts are coming about and strollers can be seen all around the neighborhood.

"It's not just tourists down here anymore," he said, indicating the nearly 70,000 people live in the area.

"Post-9/11, people didn't necessarily want to come down here," said Rosabianco. "Now we're growing mightily."

Still, as Stahl indicated, affordability is an issue for many.
Rosabianco offered his own take on the matter: "Look, it's full-service living down here," he said. "It's the best bet for your bargain."

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