Is Lower Manhattan a victim of its own success?

Population growth, tourism and new construction are straining locals

New York /
Dec.December 03, 2016 03:00 PM

Downtown is back, baby! Since 9/11, Lower Manhattan has recovered remarkably. But as ever-growing crowds congest neighborhood sidewalks, it may also be a victim of its own success.

One World Trade Center, Santiago Calatrava’s Occulus and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum attract millions of visitors a year. And massive new residential towers have families pouring in. Now, residents say the once sleepy area (after work hours anyway) is becoming a nightmare to navigate.

“I always say be careful what you wish for,” Sarah Elbatanouny, the chief talent officer for Group SJR, told the New York Times. “We always wished for more restaurants and bars, but what’s come with that is trash, noise and congestion. It’s one of those double-edged swords.”

But it’s not just tourists and trash that are giving Lower Manhattan residents a headache. It’s the noise.

Citywide, 2,465 permits were issued for new building projects in 2015, up from 1,517 in 2010, according to the Times.

“It’s a loud, banging noise — they stop, and you relax, and then it starts again,” Elbatanouny said. “It feels like the wild, wild West.” [NYT]Christopher Cameron


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