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Reimagining NYC’s Retail Corridors in an Age of Hybrid Work & E-Commerce

About this event

*If you have trouble accessing the replay of the event, please contact Stephanie at To view the replay of this forum, you can use the link in the same email you used to access the forum virtually, or request a new link to be sent above.

The storefront vacancies that were so common across New York City in 2020 and 2021 have diminished greatly over the past year. But even as a wave of new stores has breathed life into commercial corridors around the city, New York’s retail sector faces significant challenges. Several neighborhoods today struggle with an unhealthy number of empty storefronts, and the retail sector still has 47,000 fewer jobs than before the pandemic. Hybrid work is hampering sales for many retailers in office districts from Midtown to Downtown Brooklyn. E-commerce is continuing to wreak havoc on retailers selling clothing, accessories, and other merchandise, even as it leads to new jobs elsewhere in the city. And a range of other issues, from theft to an oversaturation of weed stores, has created new challenges for many retail districts.

This policy forum discussed what New York can do to strengthen New York’s retail corridors at a time when hybrid work, e-commerce, and other challenges are creating new uncertainties. A forward-looking conversation, it focused on generating creative ideas and solutions for reimagining storefront retail and rethinking what’s critical to creating thriving commercial districts.

Speakers included:

  • Barbara Askins, President & CEO, 125th Street Business Improvement District
  • Jarrod Grim, Vice President of Real Estate & Economic Development, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
  • Larisa Ortiz, Managing Director, Public Nonprofit Solutions, Streetsense
  • Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, NYC Hospitality Alliance
  • Steven Soutendijk, Executive Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield
  • Alberto Valentin, Executive Director, Graham Avenue BID

This symposium was made possible through generous support from Matt Fassler and Mandy Greenfield. We are also grateful for general support from The Clark Foundation, the Altman Foundation, and ongoing support from a number of other philanthropic funders.

Center for an Urban Future

Center for an Urban Future is a catalyst for smart and sustainable policies that reduce inequality, increase economic mobility, and grow the economy in NYC.