Downtown Alliance Targets Street 'Mess' Around NY Stock Exchange

A New York Stock Exchange security fence runs along Wall Street from Broad to Broadway. The footprint of the security zone will not change with the implementation of future changes to the streetscape, according to the Downtown Alliance. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jan. 31, 2017

Tired of the eyesore that is the fortress-like security zone around the New York Stock Exchange at Wall and Broad streets, the Downtown Alliance is looking to bring a warmer welcome to the pedestrian-heavy streets that crisscross the area.

This month the business improvement district will begin sorting through proposals from consultants who want the job of improving that “mess,” as Alliance president Jessica Lappin calls the security-laden streets around the exchange.

Those improvements, she said, may be as simple as adding trees and better-looking benches and “getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t work and coming up with something that does, that looks more attractive.”

“What’s there now,” she added, “has been put together piecemeal, ad hoc over 15 years.”

Past efforts by the Alliance to make a bigger impact on the site, she said, have failed.

The security barriers and checkpoints were installed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. For two years, Lappin said, she has tried to convince police officials to scale back the pedestrian-constricting barriers. She said she even walked around the site with then NYPD Commissioner William Bratton but it was all for naught. The NYPD maintains that the building, as a symbol, is still one of the city’s top terrorist targets.

“They’re not willing to shrink the perimeter and the mayor is sort of standing by that,” Lappin said, speaking to a group of local reporters (photo below). We have hit a point in my view where we have to accept, for now, that that’s where we’re at.”

The Alliance is looking at a wider, 12-square-block area—bordered by Broadway, Pine, Beaver and William—for possible improvements, according to its request for proposals. The zone includes several major residential projects, among them a 1,100-foot-high tower at 45 Broad St.

Streets will be torn up during the construction, Lappin said, so “when they put them back together it would be nice to have a plan that people like.”

Along with beautifying the area, the Alliance has a wish list of other improvements, among them better garbage removal, the creation of flexible spaces for programming (cultural and otherwise) and enhancing the “accessibility and interpretive value” of the neighborhood’s historic features.

“I’ve spoken to City Hall, they know that we’re doing this,” Lappin said. “It’s a good first step.”