Once teeming with young investment bankers and seasoned hedge fund managers working 60-plus hour weeks, the Financial District wasn’t exactly where New Yorkers laid down roots.
Now, with much of the financial sector working from home, relocated to Florida or rehomed in less traditional NYC neighborhoods, Fidi now has a distinctly non-finance feel.
“I used to think Fidi was going to be swarming with the typical finance bros wearing collared shirts and vests,” admitted 32-year-old Carrie Booze, who moved from a small apartment in Nolita to a sun-drenched space on the 14th floor of 200 Water St. a little over a year ago. Booze, who works in public relations, says her apartment is double the size of her last and that actually, the neighborhood’s residents are a lot more diverse than she expected.
As New Yorkers seeking a good value proposition flock to Fidi, where they can have both ample space and all the amenities of a luxury building at a fraction of the price in other parts of the city, such as neighboring Tribeca, the Fidi stereotype is waning.
Scott J. Avram, Limestone SVP of development at luxury high-rise 130 William, points to the area’s massive residential investment as paving the way for additional retail and infrastructure, which have helped draw residents from all over the city. “
You’re starting to see a lot of the top chefs and top restaurateurs moving down,” Avram said. “We’re kind of a new center, so to speak.”
Stan Ponte, of Sotheby’s International Realty, co-sales director of the Woolworth Tower Residences, agrees Fidi is no longer just catering to the 9-to-5 set and is experiencing a major renaissance.
No doubt, the slew of restaurants helmed by big names like Danny Meyer and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a buzzing South Street Seaport, pretty parks and charming cobblestone streets, good schools and excellent subway access, are all contributing factors in Fidi’s emergence as a place New Yorkers are eager to live.
Angelo and Sam Franco-DeWitt, a couple in their 30s who’ve lived in the city a combined total of about 15 years, moved from Inwood to a luxury rental located at 63 Wall St. in August after taking a somewhat unconventional approach to the decision-making process. Angelo read up on reviews of hotels around the area to get a sense of how tourists saw the neighborhood. “One of the things that was mentioned in several reviews was how bustling the neighborhood was in the daylight hours, but how very quiet it got in the evenings — which sounded perfect to us,” Sam said.
Booze is enjoying the restaurants, bars, fitness classes, dog meetups and farmers markets along the water and said, “You can’t beat the accessibility.”
Developers and brokers with a stake in the area agree Fidi’s accessibility holds major appeal. “Transportation-wise, Fidi is the best in the city. You have both the FDR and the West Side Highway, and you have every express subway ride,” said Platinum Properties CEO and co-founder Khashy Eyn, who noted that they’re seeing interest from all demographics — families, couples, and young professionals.
According to Ryan Serhant, head of sales and marketing at Jolie, a 42-story luxury residential building located at 77 Greenwich St., said the “Midtown exodus is real,” and noted that all of the Jolie inquiries in December came from families moving out of Midtown, an area of the city that has struggled to bounce back amid COVID. A new 450-seat public elementary school located at the base of Jolie will open in September — a bonus for the building’s residents and other locals with little ones.
Angelo and Sam appreciate their new neighborhood’s diversity. “I think the area is actually a lot more youthful than I imagined. It is way more common for us to see millennials walking their dogs than a Gen X-er,” Angelo said.
“Contrary to the old view of the Financial District, the area is not solely dominated by people who work in that industry,” Sam added.
Neither of the men work in finance.