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Exploring the Future of Downtown

Date: 10/21/2020

Time: 9:30am
Where: LMHQ, Virtual,

Watch Exploring the Future of Downtown
The COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown intended to curb the virus’s spread have impacted every aspect of urban life in New York City. From unprecedented challenges in the hospitality industry to the MTA’s dramatic ridership drop, it’s hard to see the path forward and what the future might bring. But this crisis does present us with an opportunity to not just rebuild, but improve our city. Join the Alliance for Downtown New York and LMHQ for a discussion about the future of Lower Manhattan. Representing industries such as real estate, public space, transportation, and technology, our experts weighed in on the key concerns and new initiatives they’re exploring in the hopes that the post-Covid city will eventually improve life for its citizens downtown and throughout the five boroughs.
Our Speakers:
  • Shaina Horowitz, Vice President of Product & Programs, Newlab
  • Jim O’Grady, WNYC (moderator)
  • Christine Quinn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Win
  • Samuel I. Schwartz, P.E., Chief Executive Officer + Founder, Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants
  • Josh Sirefman, Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, Sidewalk Labs
  • Jessica Walker, President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

Shaina Horowitz brings 10+ years of experience working at the intersection of cities, technology and innovation to her role at Newlab. Prior to joining Newlab, Shaina was a founding member of Bloomberg Associates, a first of its kind civic consultancy established by Michael R. Bloomberg to advise mayors in cities including London, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Athens, Los Angeles, and Oakland. Previously Shaina worked at the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment under Mayor Bloomberg where she was part of the team who appointed New York City’s first Chief Digital Officer, published New York City’s Digital Roadmap and created the ‘Made in NY’ campaign. Shaina holds an honors BA in Media Studies from Vassar College and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jim O'Grady is a reporter with New York Public Radio and host of the new podcast, Blindspot: The Road to 9/11, a co-production of WNYC Studios and The History Channel. His stories have been heard on National Public Radio, This American Life, and many other places. His work for broadcast has won two Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple prizes from the Associated Press, New York Press Club, The Deadline Club, and the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI) Contest. His piece on the mechanics of gentrification in New York City for the podcast There Goes the Neighborhood won the 2017 PRNDI Award for Best Podcast Episode. His episode on masculinity and Trump voters for The United States of Anxiety won the New York Press Club Award for Best Reporting about the U.S. Presidential Race.

Christine C. Quinn is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Win (formerly Women in Need), the largest provider of shelter, social services and supportive housing for homeless families in New York City. Under her leadership, Win is giving thousands of homeless women and children the support they need to break the cycle of homelessness. Win advocates at the city, state and federal level for support that benefits lower-income New Yorkers and those living in poverty; and effectively challenges prevailing public and media perception of homelessness to drive more effective policy. Quinn is also the Vice Chair of the New York State Democratic Party and serves on the Democratic National Committee. In addition, she is a regular, and occasionally fiery, commentator on CNN and MSNBC.

Samuel I. Schwartz is CEO of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants. He also writes a column on traffic for The New York Daily News. Previously Mr. Schwartz was New York City’s Traffic Commissioner. He started his transportation career in the late 1960’s as a NYC cabbie and joined the Traffic Department, as a junior engineer, in 1971. Mr. Schwartz’s most recent books, No One at the Wheel: Driverless Cars and the Road of the Future (2018) and Street Smart: The Rise of Cities and The Fall of Cars (2015) lay out a recipe for cities faced with rapid changes in modes, automation, demographic shifts and travelers’ preferences.

Joshua Sirefman co-founded and served as President of Sidewalk Labs, a leading urban innovation company, and key investment area for Alphabet, and remains active as Co-Founder and Senior Advisor for the company. Josh has helped build and guide the growth of a groundbreaking company bridging technology and urbanism to radically improve quality of life in cities, and also led the closely followed effort by Sidewalk Labs to transform Toronto’s waterfront into a new model for technology-enabled, sustainable and affordable development. Prior to Sidewalk Labs, Josh founded Sirefman Ventures, a development services firm focused on the management of transformative development strategies and projects, and played a leading role in numerous initiatives, including with Cornell University in the creation and development of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, the redevelopment of Hyde Park in Chicago with the University of Chicago, the redirection of the Central Library Plan with the New York Public Library, and the expansion of the High Line to Hudson Yards.

Jessica Walker is President and CEO of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, an organization that represents and supports the business community across the borough. She is a public policy expert who has advocated on behalf of New York City residents, neighborhoods and businesses for more than 15 years. Her work has made an indelible imprint on the city that she loves. In 2019 she was included on City & State's "Manhattan Power 100" list, which ranks the most influential community leaders in the borough. She was also included on their 2020 "Power of Diversity: Black 100" list, which ranks the most powerful Black men and women in New York State politics. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of United Neighborhood Houses and is an appointed member of Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council for New York City and Mayor de Blasio's Small Business Sector Advisory Council to help restart the local economy in the wake of Covid-19.

This event is the second in a series of collaborative events hosted by the Alliance for Downtown New York and LMHQ. Since 1995, the Alliance for Downtown New York has been working to enhance the quality of life in Lower Manhattan by providing workers, residents, and visitors with a clean, safe, and dynamic neighborhood.
That’s why in 2015 the Downtown Alliance opened LMHQ. At the center of inspiration and action, with 800+ creative companies flocking below Chambers Street, the oldest neighborhood is being completely redefined. Lower Manhattan is a natural location for LMHQ – serving as the central meeting place for this dynamic community to come together to collaborate, meet, brainstorm, and learn new skills.

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