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Manhattan Loft Guy

Mar. 12, 2010 - Quote For The Day, 2000 edition

the goods
Before I tell you how I found it, here's a long-time Tribeca resident talking about the change in Tribeca's population in the 20 years they lived there, way back in 2000:

You've never seen so many people under three feet high...

Well played, sir, well played.

it started with baby clothes
Curbed started me down a path this morning, by linking to a small Downtown Express item about the evolution of a clothing store that has changed its name as it is beginning to serve older children. The thrust of the Curbed piece is that the "baby boom [in Tribeca] is starting to age". Ummmm ... no. That's not right.

The baby boom isn't aging in Tribeca, but one store owner's kids are aging (if you can say "aging" to describe a 6 and 8 year old), as is pretty clear from the DT:

The six-year-old clothing and toy shop on Hudson St. has grown with Adams’ daughters, now ages 6 and 8, and Adams decided the name and mission ought to keep growing up as well: She’s keeping all her unique birth-to-age-7 offerings but is now expanding to serve tweens

What got me going down memory lane is that I remember this exact thing happening with a Tribeca clothing store 20+ years ago, because that proprietor's daughter was the same age as mine. As our girls got older, her merchandise adjusted. (Cool for us.) I can't remember the name of the store, but I well remember the stuff.

plus ca change...
Which got me thinking about periodic news coverage about Tribeca's population booms, recycled every five years or so. I wandered through the NY Times archives, which is always a dangerous thing for Manhattan Loft Guy to do, as I tend to get ... distracted. Very distracted.

I found a few articles that I will link to below, without offering commentary on them. The single best quote was quoted above, but there was another terrific quote in the same article from July 30, 2000, which highlights the impact of demographic changes on the mix of activities in Tribeca very well. 

Steven Wils also noticed the growing number of children in the neighborhood, but it made him anxious. He operated Harry Wils & Company on Duane Street, across from the park, with 18 trucks coming and going around the clock, laden with butter, eggs, cheese, olives, chocolate, spices and oils.

''If there were 50 kids, now there were 150,'' Mr. Wils said. ''It just wasn't safe anymore.'' Happily accustomed to living over the store, Mr. Wils reluctantly moved the business to Secaucus, N.J., in 1998.

I remember trucks like those, which used to sit at loading docks almost blocking Duane Street just east of Greenwich. Even with Duane Street being very wide there, it took a lot of maneuvering to get those trailers to back on to those loading docks. Especially in the days before beep-beeping to warn of trucks in reverse, a distracted pedestrian (with or without toddler or stroller) would be at risk.

some quotes, some links
(Some of these articles format very strangely; blame the Old Grey Lady, not me.)

  • May 15, 1983:  "The population in Community District 1 more than doubled between 1970 and 1980, rising to 16,322." 
  • May 14, 1989: "As the weather warms up, competition for benches and space grows fierce at the 2.5-acre Washington Market Park, on Greenwich Street between Chambers and Duane Streets, TriBeCa's one serious recreation area with tennis courts, a playground, a gazebo and immaculate flower beds." 
  • April 14, 1990:  "Now, however, a downtown migration and a baby boom have turned this warehouse district into a neighborhood. These days, Washington Market Park, built in 1983 at Chambers and Greenwich Streets, seems far too small.
    ''There's really no room for big kids, and it's really not big enough for the little kids either,'' Ms. Crafts said, cradling her 8-month-old daughter, Jemma Rose Brown, in her arms. ''On a warm day, you have stroller gridlock here. On a freezing day, it's about the right amount of people.''"
  • May 27, 1990: "the population of TriBeCa has gone from 382 in 1970 to 7,800 in 1990. [The Tribeca Task Force] projects that school enrollment this fall will be four times that of 1985."
  • August 11, 1991: "The population growth rate in TriBeCa is 88.9 percent," said [a member of Community Board 1]. "That is the highest rate of any residential neighborhood in Manhattan. It speaks strongly to the fact that people are moving to the area, spending money and supporting services." 
  • Sept 26, 1993:  "P.S. 234 had 180 students on opening day of its new building five years ago. Today, 650 youngsters pack the school, with its nontraditional program that eliminates tracking and features multi-age groupings until the sixth grade. The Early Childhood Center, in Independence Plaza, started in 1988 with 53 pupils; it, too, is now at capacity with 170 children. The k-2 center includes creative writing and individualized reading." 
  • July 25, 2003 "chairwoman of Community Board 1, is worried about overpopulation. In 1980, according to census figures, there were 15,918 people living in the community board district; by 2000, that had more than doubled to 32,116." 

Enjoy your wet weekend!


© Sandy Mattingly 2010



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Sandy Mattingly is Manhattan Loft Guy; now with The Corcoran Group (http://corcoran.com/ ; but see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page), he can be reached most easily at Sandy@ManhattanLoftGuy.com or 917.902.2491, and followed on Twitter @ManhattnLoftGuy (note "mis-spelling"). After 7+ years, the blog has moved. Links here on RealTown will work for the foreseeable future, but new posts (and all the old content) has migrated to ManhattanLoftGuy.com.

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