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New Website Aims to Lure Residents to the Financial District

By Julie Shapiro | February 24, 2011 1:19pm

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Lak Vohra is on a mission to convince people to move to the Financial District.

Vohra, 45, a broker who has lived downtown for a year and a half, just launched FiDiDigs.com, a website dedicated to marketing the neighborhood as a fun, affordable place to live.

"A lot of people think this is a sleepy part of town, but that's not really true," Vohra said this week. "There is something to do every day and every night. It really is a hidden jewel in Manhattan."

Blog posts on FiDiDigs.com, which went live three weeks ago, spread the word about the neighborhood's entertaining possibilities, from late-night dance parties at Ulysses' on Pearl Street to the romantic restaurants that ring Peck Slip's cobblestoned blocks.

In the past decade, the Financial District has seen an explosion in residential growth. The population south of Murray and John streets has more than tripled from 8,200 in 2000 to about 26,500 this year, according to Community Board 1 estimates. Today, more people live in the Financial District than in TriBeCa, Battery Park City or the Seaport.

Vohra hopes to connect with this new community and is planning high-end social events for local residents and workers, including a gathering in a cigar shop.

To help prospective renters looking to move to the Financial District, Vohra is also offering a roommate matchmaking service that held its first meet-and-greet event last weekend at Hot Clay Oven on Maiden Lane.

One of the 50 people who attended Vohra's party last weekend was 24-year-old Robert Pierpont, who was looking for one more roommate to round out the three-bedroom he just leased on Gold Street.

Pierpont had looked at complexes in Gramercy and Murray Hill, but from the moment he laid eyes on the Financial District, he was sold.

"It's the best bang for your buck," said Pierpont, who works in pharmaceutical sales. "You get a lot more amenities here."

While the Financial District does get quieter once all the workers go home, Pierpont said he doesn't mind.

"I like the atmosphere better down here," he said. "It's more homey — it feels like a neighborhood."

Pierpont and others praised the bustling restaurant scene on Stone Street and the cheaper bars near Fulton Street. The South Street Seaport has frequent events, especially in the summer, and there are lots of museums with free public programs, locals said.

Another roommate seeker at last weekend's party was Jenny Jin, 26, who said she was initially wary of lower Manhattan because the tall buildings block so much of the sky.

"I used to live in England, and I've had enough of not having sun," Jin said.

But the Financial District is winning Jin over with its young professional vibe. Jin said she feels more comfortable in the canyons of Wall Street than on the stroller-packed Upper West Side, where she currently lives, and she hopes to move soon.

"Now, I am thinking FiDi," she said.