UPDATED: 2:20 p.m., Aug. 6: Downtown revitalization champion Elizabeth Berger, who led efforts to help businesses in the area recover after Sept. 11 and Hurricane Sandy, passed away Monday at age 53, Crain’s reported.
Berger, who died from pancreatic cancer, led the Alliance for Downtown New York as an advocate of the neighborhood where she once lived. Many innovations in Lower Manhattan, such as the Re:Construction program that turned construction sites into canvases for public art, are credited to her.
“I and everyone at the Silverstein organization are deeply saddened by the passing of Liz Berger, a great friend and colleague, as well as a passionate civic leader and advocate for Downtown’s residents and businesses,” Larry Silverstein, World Trade Center developer, said in a statement. “We all will miss her and draw inspiration from her efforts as we work to fulfill our shared goal to make Downtown the most dynamic urban area in America.”
She also successfully advocated for funding a timely completion of the Fulton Street Transit Center and the reconstruction of Fiterman Hall after 9/11 and commercial leasing incentives after the attacks.
“Liz Berger loved our city with passion and gave her great intelligence and inventiveness to New York without reserve,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “She was more than an advocate for lower Manhattan, she was a partner in building its future. As new transit hubs, skyscrapers, full access to our waterfront and a fresh vitality emerge downtown, Liz’s influences are everywhere to be seen.”
Berger continued her work despite fighting cancer for years, attending a board meeting on transport options to Newark Airport two weeks before entering the hospital. She is survived by husband Frederick Kaufman and her two children. [Crain’s] — Julie Strickland