By Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — The population of lower Manhattan has surged in the past 10 years, according to new census data released Thursday.
The preliminary data shows that the Financial District and Battery Park City saw an increase of 19,611 people since 2000 — an uptick of 97.6 percent.
"People counted us down and out after 9/11," said Community Board 1 chairwoman Julie Menin. "There were military tanks on our streets, and our apartments were covered in World Trade Center dust. They said nobody would want to stay downtown. We proved them wrong. We're resilient. We're survivors."
She said the new census data is not surprising — it shows what residents have known for years from watching all the new residential towers rise.
But downtown has also been a victim of its own success. While residents came in droves, neighborhood services were slower to follow, and the city scrambled to build new schools to contain the burgeoning population of young children.
"[The census] underscores the critical need for the residential infrastructure every other neighborhood takes for granted," said Ro Sheffe, chairman of CB1's Financial District Committee. "[We need] open space, parks, schools, libraries, community centers and retail mom-and-pop shops."
Menin said the neighborhood also needs affordable housing, so that those who have committed to lower Manhattan will be able to stay as they get older.
More specific neighborhood-by-neighborhood census numbers will be available soon.