From The Mayor's Desk ...
There's nothing like spending the Fourth of July in New York City and watching the dazzling fireworks displays over our harbor. And last week, as we commemorated the birth of our nation, we also celebrated the rebirth of Lower Manhattan with two exciting developments: the opening of the first section of the West Street Promenade and the launch of a national ad campaign for the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.
The opening of the southern portion of the West Street promenade represented a significant milestone in our effort to revitalize Lower Manhattan. Once a simple highway, the promenade - when fully completed - will be a space to rival the great boulevards of Europe. Lined with majestic oak trees, flowers, and benches, this stretch of West Street will function as a thoroughfare for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as a destination for visitors and an inviting green space for residents.
When the northern section of the promenade is completed in 2009, West Street will be a stunning gateway to Lower Manhattan, providing access to Battery Park City and the World Trade Center Memorial.
Just last week, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation renewed efforts to raise funds for a memorial that is worthy of the loss we faced on 9/11 with the launch of a new national ad campaign. The TV, print, and radio spots carry a simple, yet powerful message: It's time. And it is time, time for all New Yorkers and all Americans to step up and get involved, just as we've done for our nation's other great memorials.
This is an exciting era for our city and for Lower Manhattan. Back in early 2002, when the streets around the World Trade Center site were still closed to traffic, nobody could have imagined how quickly Lower Manhattan would come back to life. But at the end of that year, we outlined a bold new vision for the neighborhood - and committed ourselves not just to rebuilding, but to transforming Downtown into a vibrant community for the future.
And today, we're seeing signs of that transformation throughout the neighborhood. The area's residential population is increasing at a record rate, and major companies like Goldman Sachs and BearingPoint Inc. are moving their operations downtown. Work is moving forward on the new Fulton Transit Station, and just last year, we opened the new Whitehall Ferry Terminal.
Now, New Yorkers who want to track Lower Manhattan's progress can do so more easily thanks to a new campaign called "This is 2010. It's Happening Now." The campaign uses colorful street signs and banners to give status updates on construction projects throughout Lower Manhattan, and includes an animated virtual tour of how the neighborhood will look in 2010. The video, along with ongoing updates, is available at the redesigned, user-friendly Web site: www.lowermanhattan.info.
Just a few years from now, Lower Manhattan will be home to new office and apartment buildings and new schools and parks. The northern portion of the West Street Promenade will be complete. And, we'll have a memorial that truly articulates the absence 9/11 left in our hearts and city.
Until then, we must work together to continue transforming Lower Manhattan into a community that reflects our city's spirit, and our unshakable hope in its future.