Our Little Secret

I’m walking down a dark street: filled with graffiti, drug dealers (and users), and smells that I will not describe to you, gentle reader.

And I’m scared.

I just retired from the NYPD after almost 30 years of service and – let me repeat – I’m scared. Fortunately, one of my retirement benefits is a pistol permit; I’m armed and I work for the Downtown Alliance. But I’m still frightened.

Where am I? Calcutta? Some iffy city in Mexico? No. Stone Street. I’m walking on Stone Street, the Restaurant Row of Lower Manhattan.

But don’t worry. The Stone Street I describe is from July of 1995, and that was a long time ago.

The Stone Street that most of you know and love now is the result of hard work by the Downtown Alliance (especially our Offices of Public Safety and Sanitation) with help from NYPD, NYC Department of Sanitation, and some very brave restaurateurs.

In 1995, the Downtown Alliance began the difficult task of cleaning up Stone Street. On a daily basis we fought with drug dealers and power washed sidewalks. We scrubbed the walls to remove graffiti and replaced the odors of destitution with the delicious aromas there today. We stationed Public Safety Officers on Stone Street to discourage criminal activity, made observations of drug activity and worked with NYPD Manhattan South Narcotics to arrest dealers.

Slowly, Stone Street became the vibrant, charming restaurant row that it is today. It boasts Ancora Ristorante, Nebraska Steakhouse, The Stone Street Tavern, and Asian Fusion. Not to mention the new Urban Lobster Shack and Pizza Italia. I’ve been to Restaurant Row in Midtown, but I live 35 miles from the City, and when I travel in with friends and family to dine in New York, we choose the restaurants on Stone Street.

Stone Street 1996

Stone Street 1996

Stone Street Today (2009)

Stone Street Today (2009)