In the News: Tribeca is for lovers

…or maybe I should quote another decades-old advertising campaign, “Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful.” The Times did a “Living In” column about Tribeca and the commenters were all sorts of worked up about what they see as missing from the Tribeca vibe.

“‘Downtown cool’ is over,” said a guy from … Philly. “Tribeca has basically become home to the same types of people who move to somewhere like Bronxville, but think they are ‘cool’ by staying in the city.”

They dissed our cobblestones, industrial buildings, strollers, wealth — just about all of it. Though there was the occasional booster. “I wouldn’t kick my bed out of Tribeca,” said Shaun from Passaic.

There was also this interesting clarification, which I had heard about ages ago but never fully absorbed: one commenter noted that the “triangle below Canal” originally referred to the single block directly below Canal between Broadway and Church and Lispenard, which tapers from about 100 feet on the Church Street side to about 25 feet on the Broadway side.

A story from the Times in 2001 quotes the local Soho historian Sean Sweeney explaining that the residents of an artist’s cooperative on the block filed legal documents with City Planning as the “TriBeCa Artist’s Co-op” in a 1973 zoning dispute. The Times, covering the zoning decision, then ran with the name to refer to the entire neighborhood. It stuck.



  1. Here is Sean Sweeney’s Soho nightmare:

    NY Times
    By Glenn Fowler
    June 12, 1976

    The Board of Estimate gave final approval yesterday to a zoning amendment legalizing the conversion of loft space to residential use in the Tribeca area—a triangle below Canal Street extending south to Park Place on the Lower West Side.

    Several hundred people are believed to be living in Tribeca lofts without the blessing of the Buildings Department. The area, has long been zoned for light manufacturing, but with the decline of the city’s industrial base, vacancies in Tribeca have been high.

    The zoning change approved yesterday creates a special “mixed‐use district’ running along the Hudson River east of the new Independence Towers housing on the waterfront.

    Within the district, loft conversions of two types are permitted. As in the SoHo district, to the northeast of Tribeca, artists will be able to occupy combined living and working quarters, provided they receive certification from the Department of Cultural Affairs. But unlike SoHo, Tribeca will also permit conversions by the general public of loft space into apartments.

  2. “We’re through being cool.” – Devo

    And I’m cool with that.

  3. I lived there before it was called that. I tried never to use that word. Just said that I lived below Canal or I lived on Duane ST.

  4. I’m still here…