Downtown Alliance Announces Explorer In Chief Winner

The Alliance for Downtown New York has selected Josh Katz — a savvy street photographer who has captured the attention of over a half-million followers since uploading his first video at age nine — as the winner of Lower Manhattan’s Explorer In Chief Contest.

The Explorer In Chief’s job still includes a stipend, top accommodations and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a multimedia storyteller, but in the wake of COVID-19, Katz will also be tasked with documenting the recovery of a major urban neighborhood. The Alliance will use the Explorer’s reporting efforts to help tell stories of people and businesses as Lower Manhattan stirs and recovers from its latest challenge.

While he originally submitted a video showstopper on his street photography, it was his most recent project that helped him stand out from his excellent fellow finalists during the interview process. From the safety of his rooftop, Katz documented the rooftop culture that has emerged during New York’s stay-at-home orders in his Brooklyn neighborhood.

With permission, he documented rooftop dinners and first dates, neighbors tending pigeon coops and new friends meeting for the first time. This intimate study during our changed circumstances is a testament to Katz’s curiosity and innovative creativity, which will help him tell the Lower Manhattan story in this new era.

To learn more about Josh Katz’s winning entry and view the top 15 submissions, visit