Volume 19 Issue 52 | May 11 -17, 2007
A newspaper grows with a community
Twenty years ago, Battery Park City was big on plans and short on buildings, Tribeca was an unknown name to many and Wall St. was a place where the lights pretty much turned out at the end of the workday. The area was on the cusp of becoming the fastest growing part of the city and it remains so even today as the Downtown Express celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Please allow us to do a little navel gazing on our 20th birthday we know some of you have been Downtown for much longer than that. As we look back at our own history, we see that Lower Manhattan has grown remarkably right along with us and it has been an exciting time. When we say we, mind you, there is a little poetic license, since only one of us connected to the paper now was there at the beginning. Much like Downtown, this paper has had its downs and ups, changed directions and had several ownership changes, but were the better for it.
We are proud of our entire history, but 9/11 marked us profoundly. Our beat was always Downtown and our mission was to cover the news and lives of everything south of Canal (and somewhat above) with thoroughness and independence, but after the horrific attack we knew we had to search for answers to questions like, is the air safe to breathe, what do I do with toxic dust in my apartment, where will my kids school be tomorrow, can I get to my home or business, and on and on. There was an urgency to what we did and we still remember and appreciate all of the kind words of support you gave us as we struggled for information that you needed.
Expanding to a weekly after 9/11 was a difficult decision in many ways, but the one easy thing about it was the gratitude we received from you. Our unique advertising subsidy program with government support made it possible. Everyone came out a winner readers got more timely information, businesses were able to let customers know Downtown was still open at deeply discounted ad prices, the government could direct support quickly and accountably to small businesses, and this free newspaper was able to expand at a time when we believe the Downtown community needed us most.
Were proud of the community leadership awards we won from both the National Newspaper Association and the New York Press Association for our response to 9/11. We went from bi-weekly to weekly in recognition of one primary fact: people in a disaster zone desperately need information about their schools, their leaders, the environment, their businesses, their future.
The awards are great but you readers are by far the most important judges of what we do. We take our responsibility very seriously to ask the powerful the questions you want answered, to make sure your problems and concerns are on their minds when decisions get made behind closed doors, to give you information you want and need. Our plan is to stick around and keep growing right along with you for a lot more than the next 20 years. Thanks for making it possible.