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Lower Manhattan

Tourism Up by 800,000

According to the Downtown Alliance's 2011 Year in Review, 9.8 million tourists flocked to Lower Manhattan's major museums, events and attractions last year-800,000 people more than in 2010.

"Tourism is thriving in Lower Manhattan like never before," said Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance. "While business travelers remain a significant market element, the growth of leisure visitors and special events has had a significant impact on the industry.

"The secret is out: Lower Manhattan is a destination of choice in the region, nationally and around the world, for leisure and business travelers alike."

The growth?an 8 percent increase over 2010?reflects growing interest in all that Lower Manhattan has to offer and comes in a citywide tourism boost. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYC and Company, the city's official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, recently announced that New York City ended 2011 with a new record 50.5 million visitors, with visitor spending reaching an estimated $32 billion.

"This past May, we launched the Get More NYC: Lower Manhattan campaign to highlight the Downtown neighborhoods to visitors from around the world," said NYC and Company CEO George Fertitta.

"As a result of our efforts to attract visitors to New York City, we not only reached a record 50.5 million visitors in 2011 but helped create a significant, positive impact for Lower Manhattan," he continued. "This area has seen an incredible resurgence in the last decade and will, no doubt, continue to be a focal point for visitors from around the world. We look forward to continuing to work with all our partners to ensure that visitors and New Yorkers take advantage of all Lower Manhattan has to offer."

The National September 11 Memorial Plaza, which opened in September 2011, has been a significant draw to the district, attracting 1 million visitors in its first three and a half months alone.

"More than 1 million visitors have traveled to the National September 11 Memorial since its opening on the 10-year anniversary, honoring and remembering those we lost in the 9/11 attacks," said 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels. "The Memorial is already an important part of this historic neighborhood and its visitors are helping make Lower Manhattan thrive."

Other museums and attractions in Lower Manhattan include the River to River Festival, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the South Street Seaport Museum, among many other cultural institutions.

According to Downtown Alliance research, the number of tourists visiting below Chambers Street was 7 million in 2008, grew to almost 8 million in 2009 and reached 9 million in 2010.


Military Fams and Art Institute Provide Scholarships

This week, aspiring artists received another glimmer of hope when The Arts Institute, which has a location on Beach Street, forged a partnership with Military Families United to offer spouses of Armed Forces members a $25,000 scholarship to study at any one of the Arts Institutes schools.

Up to four scholarships will be given each year, and the spouses of those on active duty, active National Guard and reserves, as well as the spouses of those killed on duty post-9/11, are eligible. The deadline for applications is March 15.


Investigating NYPD Accident Response

On Feb. 15, Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, spoke at length to a City Council hearing focused on the NYPD's accident response and enforcement of traffic rules relating to cars, bikes and trucks.

White spoke of the dangers that motorists and cyclists pose to pedestrians and to themselves, as well as the potential for the NYPD to crack down on reckless driving. He called for the formation of a special task force within the department, stating, "Simple amendments to department policy won't solve [department deficiencies relating to traffic protocol]."

New York State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh have also proposed a bill to the State Legislature that would specifically authorize police officers to issue violations for accidents involving pedestrians and for careless driving, which is currently not department policy.

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