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VOLUME 26, NUMBER 9 SEPTEMBER 25-OCTOBER 8, 2013 Surreal new york P. 27 Tech industry connecting more and more Downtown By K a i tlyn Me a d e ith the pervasive image of the Financial District’s suit-and-tie traders, you might see a different industry flexing its cybernetic muscles. The tech sector in Lower Manhattan has sprung up in the wake of a decline in the finance industry’s Downtown presence, bringing an influx of technologically savvy twentyand thirty-somethings. The Downtown Alliance, in an effort to make Silicon Alley an attractive place to live and work, has started LaunchLM, an endeavor to connect some of the over 600 tech companies in Lower Manhattan. Part networking tool, part meet-up style events host, part business improvement webpage, the initiative has garnered attention for its focus on collaboration not just within companies, but between companies, from established giants like Conde Nast to one-person internet startups. The new website launch-lm. com features bars, cafes and parks in the area. It also showcases fun, community-oriented office spaces where budding ventures can set up shop. “It stems from the fact that there are so many tech companies down here,” said Daria Siegel, the director of LaunchLM. “We want it to be a place where you can go to see what’s going on in Lower Manhattan for our audience.” That audience was especially appreciative last Tuesday night, at Launch’s launch party. Faithful to its image, the gathering was more chic than geek, held in the lobby of the iconic Woolworth building at 233 Broadway. Once past the check-in table, W Continued on page 21 Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer The South Street Seaport Museum’s ship, Peking, ship recently reopened for a few Saturdays (see article, P. 12), but nearby residents are trying to get a better sense of what the development plans mean for museum and the rest of the Seaport. Seeking a view into the Seaport’s future B Y T E RESE L OEB KREUZER hat was your favorite movie? Y’all went and saw a movie, I’m sure. What was your favorite movie?” asked Christopher Curry, executive vice president of The Howard Hughes Corporation as he sat in front of a room packed with Community Board 1 Seaport Committee members and members of the public on Sept. 17. No one answered. “Nobody saw a movie?” Curry continued. “I went to a restaurant but I didn’t see a movie,” Seaport Committee chair John Fratta replied. W “OK. Well, what do you think was the favorite movie? Seven hundred or 800 people on the lawn? It’s been great,” Curry said affably. He had come to the Seaport Committee, the members hoped and believed, to shed some light on The Howard Hughes Corporation’s plans to develop those parts of the South Street Seaport where it holds leasing rights in addition to its rights on Pier 17. Demolition of the existing mall on Pier 17 is set to begin Oct. 1, with a new mall expected to open in 2015. But Hughes, a Dallas-based developer, also has a long-term leasehold on many other parts of the historic Seaport, and options on parts of the 5 15 canal st re et • NYC 10 013 • Copyrig ht © 2013 NYC Commu n ity Med ia , LLC uplands area not currently under lease. According to the terms of a letter of intent signed by Hughes and the New York City Economic Development Corporation in December 2011, Hughes had to submit its plans to the E.D.C. by Aug. 31, 2013 in order to exercise those options. Hughes met the deadline. Community board members wanted to know what was in those plans. Curry didn’t tell them and as of Sept. 23, no one had heard anything — not the Community Board and not City Councilmember Margaret Continued on page 6


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