Volume 20, Number 48 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 24 - 30, 2010
Downtown Photo by Aline Reynolds
Councilmember Margaret Chin, with New York Travel Bureau Chairman Clive Burrow (right) discussing the new “CanDo” map last week.
Branding a neighborhood to attract more tourists
BY Aline Reynolds
The New York Travel Advisory Bureau just released a map of Manhattan in its effort to brand Lower Manhattan as the “CanDo” (Canal Street Down) district. The map will include graphics and text about museums, theaters and other Downtown recreational spots.
Unlike its six other editions, the new map “has no advertising,” noted N.Y.T.A.B. Chairman Clive Burrow, who spoke about the Can Do initiative at the Lower Manhattan Marketing Association’s board meeting last Thursday morning.
“We want [Downtown] to be a primary destination, not a cast-off destination,” Burrow said. The map, he added, is a “clear, internationally graphic symbol of what we’re talking about.”
Burrows introduced the CanDo Map two weeks ago at the World Travel Market, an international networking event for travel businesses in London. N.Y. T.A.B. is doing a trial run of 150,000 CanDo Maps in the coming months, which will be distributed in Lower Manhattan hotels, museums and government buildings.
Downtown is anticipating an additional 10 million tourists over the next three years: the 9/11 Memorial is counting on five million visitors next year, the 9/11 Museum expects nearly three million visitors in 2012, and another two million tourists are anticipated at One World Trade Center in 2013, according to L.O.M.A. Board President Travis Noyes. L.O.M.A. is forming a new transportation subcommittee to devise tactics to ease the expected pedestrian traffic.
The new subcommittee will be comprised of L.O.M.A. board members along with representatives from ferry companies, taxi services and the city Department of Transportation. It will meet once a month and have a “very focused agenda,” according to Noyes. “One of the issues being, with all these people coming Downtown, how do we make sure these people understand how to get around,” he said. They’ll also have conversations with the American Bus Association about streamlined parking and drop-offs around the World Trade Center.
“Uncultivated” transportation, Burrow said, could cause a potential divide between residents and tourists. “We don’t want that problem,” he said. “We have to come up with solutions that benefit the residents.”
At the same time, Burrow defended the tourists as the economic backbone of Lower Manhattan. “There’s a good reason to like them because money will be coming into the community,” he said, crediting the out-of-towners for subsidizing the neighborhood’s theaters, museums, and other forms of entertainment. He praised Downtown’s 22 hotels for working together to come up with creative ways to draw clients. The latest addition is the Sheraton Tribeca, which opened last month on Canal Street.
Local elected officials fear that adding the tourist attractions in the neighborhood and the “CanDo” branding could lead to overcrowding without good planning. “If Lower Manhattan becomes overrun, if it becomes a place where you can’t get around… where the sidewalks are unsafe and uncomfortable — that will hurt all of us,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron at the L.O.M.A. meeting.
Squadron said that Lower Manhattan is gearing up for its second phase of revitalization, and that elected officials, companies and community leaders need to work together to handle the upcoming influx of tourists.
“We have the potential for it to become something that’s not good for the community, and it slowly hurts our image, makes it less attractive to come down here… We can solve that.”
City Councilmember Margaret Chin said that the best means of transportation Downtown is by foot.
“We gotta find a way to really [provide] direction in terms of signage, so people can really walk [around] our neighborhood,” she said at the meeting. “There’s so many great things that people can find and discover just by walking.”