Game On! Programming for Water Street in Downtown New York

On behalf of the Alliance for Downtown New York, HR&A developed and implemented a programming and neighborhood branding plan that transformed Lower Manhattan’s Water Street Corridor into Lower Manhattan’s playground.

HR&A led the development of a distinctive programming and placemaking plan for the Water Street corridor, from June through Labor Day of 2014 on behalf of the Alliance for Downtown New York. In collaboration with Auster Agency and 3×3 Design, HR&A conducted and managed the planning and execution of an effort designed to shift perceptions about a once-staid area of the financial district, originally home to insurance company headquarters.

The resulting program series, called Game On!, activated public spaces on Water Street with pop-up installations including play-oriented programming, beer gardens, mini-golf, and a “beach” installation. These temporary public space uses encouraged local residents, workers, and visitors to utilize these areas in new, lively, and fun ways. Local businesses were also engaged by and benefited from the program, which provided coupons to local cafes and restaurants that incentivized visitors to patronize local businesses. Other components of the initiative, including program-specific branding and a website developed for the series, helped ensure its success:  Game On! attracted individuals between the ages of 25 and 33—37% of visitors—both on the weekends and in the evening in addition to people who work near Water Street, ensuring that Water Street remained active throughout the work day and into the evening.  ADNY found that the Game On! brand resonated with 60% of those surveyed, as a result of a strategic advertising strategy, and that


Game On! and other initiatives on Water Street, such as the Downtown Alliance’s WiFi program and HR&A’s work with Water Street POPS, sought to leverage underused public spaces throughout the corridor. These neighborhood programming efforts evince the Downtown Alliance’s commitment to the revitalization of the Water Street corridor into a vibrant center of downtown life.

Images Courtesy of: 3×3 Design

Game On Sidewalk