Downtown Feels Different Without Our Neighbors

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Dara McQuillian Credit Joe Woolhead.jpg

Our neighbors, shoppers, visitors, and workers, but I love it all the same. Just like everywhere else in the country, many of my favorite cafes, restaurants, and shops have struggled to reopen, and their staffs are furloughed or unemployed, which is heartbreaking.

One of the things that makes downtown such a unique place is its many small businesses. They are a central part of the culture of lower Manhattan and have been from the time this island was first settled. They are the lifeblood for the tens of thousands of families living here, and for the hundreds of thousands of people who have grown accustomed to working here.

A few months ago, Silverstein Properties partnered with Brookfield, the Howard Hughes Corporation, and the Downtown Alliance to create a “Small Business Rental Assistance Grant” program, which offers immediate assistance to the local small businesses that continue to provide vital services to residents and essential workers in Lower Manhattan during the pandemic.

The program gives downtown’s small businesses, restaurants, bars, and cafes immediate access to $800,000 in grants, which we hope will help them weather this painful time. Grace and Downtown magazine have done a terrific job spotlighting essential workers and small businesses that are making a difference in our neighborhood.

Downtown’s businesses have been through a lot over the past two decades, but we are resilient, and I have no doubt that we will once again come back better and stronger than ever. Until that time, we need to stand together.

Like many of you, I was staggered and outraged when I saw the video of George Floyd being murdered by police officers in Minneapolis in May. This taking of an innocent man’s life was so horrible to witness, but I hope and pray it will lead to real and lasting change. What has happened in one form or another to members of the black community around this country is outrageous, and we can’t allow it to continue.

America must come to grips with the racial injustices that have existed here for over 400 years. It’s time to right the wrongs, heal the wounds, and come together as a nation. I believe we can and will change in ways that reflect the attitudes that many Americans have embraced and are now coming out in strength to express.

We must stand together and speak out on behalf of our families, friends, colleagues, and all those who have been the victims of murder, racism, and repression because of their skin color. We need to be supportive of each other and bring Americans together again because we’re a great nation that can accomplish incredible things when we commit to working together. It is time to unite as a country.

The opening photo of Dara McQuillan stands in front of “The Roots,” a 52-foot mural by Black-Latinx artist Cristina Martinez, located on the 79th floor of 3 World Trade Center. The mural is a tribute to the empowerment of Black and Brown women.

Summer 2020 Essentials