Gotham Gazette

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Ten Examples of How Our Business Improvement District is Thriving

spring street park

Spring Street Park (photo: Hudson Square BID)

International marketing, advertising and public relations firms; a medical tech company; an incubator for artists and performers; a genomic research institution; a local pharmacy, the home of three of the nation’s leading public radio stations; a billion-dollar travel website.

While they serve different audiences and tackle different challenges, they share a certain spirit of ingenuity that tends to define great businesses and innovative thinkers.

They also share a neighborhood: the public parks, the local haunts, the happy hour spots, and the crosswalks of Hudson Square. The spaces where creative minds meet to debate the biggest questions facing their industries and their clients.

Hudson Square has always had some of that spirit. It’s an area where George Washington set up his headquarters in 1776, where free black men gathered to publish a newspaper in 1827, and where most of New York City’s top print shops flocked in the 1920s as they pushed at the creating edge of communication.

Sure, plenty’s changed since then – but when you look at what’s going on today in Hudson Square, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the spirit never left.

I know the feeling firsthand. Our team was proud – and slightly nervous – to help launch the Hudson Square Business Improvement District a decade ago, some time after the neighborhood had entered its latest chapter and begun drawing in great minds of the digital age.

By beautifying public spaces, creating more amenities for local workers, and building a real culture for the neighborhood, the BID has helped transform what was once known as Manhattan’s Printing District into a thriving creative hub. Hudson Square has now attracted approximately 1,000 diverse businesses that employ over 60,000 people. We’ve seen more of the world’s largest companies make moves into our slice of the city (Google and Disney among them), just as we’ve seen older champions of the area drive their foundations even deeper.

It fills us with pride, even as every step reminds us of just how much work it can take to keep these blocks teeming with the energy they demand.

Working collaboratively, the BID has helped arrange public-private partnerships and forward-thinking investments, positively transforming our streets and green spaces. Today’s workers of Hudson Square grab lunch in Spring Street Park with outdoor Wi-Fi that keeps them tuned into their daily inspiration; are greeted off the subway with world-class public art; and have access to unique after work programming that truly engages them to participate and share in the growth of the neighborhood.

This past year, as one of our gifts to the neighborhood, the BID commissioned Hudson Square Canvas, a public art initiative that features large-scale, original street art that range from sweeping, hand-painted murals to a dramatic, 90-foot-long multicolored sculpture. 

So as we take a breath to celebrate the BID’s 10th anniversary, it only made sense to recognize and honor 10 Hudson Square businesses that continue to embody that dynamic spirit and ensure that the creating edge is here to stay.

We call it, simply enough, our 10 in 10 – and although it names a fraction of the incredible companies that call Hudson Square home, we think it’s enough to provide everyone a taste of what we’re all about.

After all, while the loft spaces and the light never hurt, it’s the compelling human and entrepreneurial stories of our neighborhood that define it. When we take some time to hear those stories from just a few of the women and men who’ve been part of Hudson Square’s growth, we can all learn something about what makes real community-building so special – and so crucial.

Of course, it follows that every thought of a 10 in 10 inspires new dreams of what the 20 in 20 – and beyond – could look like. And on those days, it’s good to be in a place where such visions tend to be realized in stunning ways that perhaps no one had thought possible.

Ellen Baer is President and CEO of the Hudson Square BID. The full list of the BID’s 10 in 10 honorees can be seen here. On Twitter @HudsonSquareNYC.

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