A longtime civic leader and advocate for lower Manhattan has died. Elizabeth Berger was the president for the Alliance for Downtown New York, the largest business improvement district, or BID in the city.
During her tenure, Berger pushed for more public transportation in the neighborhood, broadened access to free, public wifi, and turned many 9/11 construction sites into public art displays.
"Her entire adult life was spent in lower Manhattan, and it was a love and passion and a vehicle for her expressing her citizenship and love of her city," said Andrew Breslau, Alliance for Downtown New York Vice President of Communications.
Berger had served the Alliance for Downtown New York for several years as a resident representative before she was made president in 2007. She also spent several years on Community Board One.
"I'm not sure we can ever find anybody else who is always talking about the wonderful things that lower Manhattan is doing and the potential for its future," said New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who had worked closely with Berger over the years. Chin described Berger as one of the first "pioneers" in lower Manhattan pushing for a better quality of life way before it became the densely populated residential area it is today.
Berger died Monday from pancreatic cancer. She was 53.