DISTRICT PROFILE: LAUREN DANZIGER
December 27, 2015
Name: Lauren B. Danziger
Company Affiliation + Job Title: Meatpacking BID, Executive Director
What do you do and how did you get here?
I run the Meatpacking BID. I am responsible for the organization’s overall strategy and management, fundraising and operations. How’d I get here? By way of the corporate ladder, craigslist and luck! I started my career in marketing and events, working globally. It was incredible getting to travel the world and execute meetings for my living for a time. When the market crashed in 2009, I lost my job – I worked in finance, so you do the math. I have a culinary degree and decided to try my hand gluten-free baking and catering and see where that went. Ultimately, it was not fulfilling in the way I’d hoped for, nor was it paying my bills.
At the same time, I applied to run a chamber of commerce in the Village and Chelsea – via a Craigslist ad! And I got it. Having never run an organization before, it was challenging, and I loved the work and the field. Losing my job had been an awesome chance to reevaluate my career path and after years of travel, and a short stint cooking, I knew I wanted to affect change hyper-locally. Working at the Chamber helped me realize that goal but after nearly two years, I’d decided I wanted to do more and on a larger scale. A friend who was working at The Whitney told me about a group of engaged property owners and businesses who were forming a non-profit organization for the Meatpacking to spearhead the creation and management of public spaces with the NYC Dept. of Transportation and the district’s overall economic development. So I clicked send on my resume and here I am, five years later.
What do you love about Meatpacking?
This neighborhood is incredibly dynamic. It’s so many things at once, and has such a storied history. I love that it’s ever evolving and that there is quality and diversity to the businesses that locate here. Because of the area’s M1-5 zoning, its a true zone of commerce – and what’s even more special is that it’s a true neighborhood. The businesses here work together to support each other and the greater district. There’s a palpable feeling of community that I really dig.
If you had 15 minutes, how will you spend it in the neighborhood?
I’d grab a teddy boy (iced espresso, cream and a splash of simple syrup) from Jack’s Stir Brew (on 13th Street, inside rag + bone) and sit in one of the public plazas for some solid people watching. Or if I was craving something sweet, I’d run over to Chelsea Market Baskets and snag some of their epic dark chocolate caramel sea salted popcorn.
If you had a few hours in the neighborhood, how would you ideally spend the day?
This is a tough one, because there are so many ways to spend a day here. But an ideal, day off work when the weather is just right…I’d grab breakfast at Santina. It’s such a treat to eat there early in the day, when you have the place to yourself. Grab a friend and split a frittata and the smoked salmon ceccina – trust me. Oh, and the iced coconut coffee is a MUST. Then I’d head to the Whitney for an hour or so and take in some art and views and on my way out I’d pop in to Untitled to pick up the best chocolate chip cookie on the planet (by the way, its gluten free)! I’d also pop into Milk Gallery and Ivy Brown Gallery, to OD on the art and culture intake. Both are small and easy to do when short on time, but full of incredible pieces. Then I’d make my way over to the Gansevoort Hotel and exhale spa for a massage (see Raul, he is the best)! After that, I’d do a little shopping – too many great spots to name (lists of local indie shops and boutiques with their only NYC outpost in Meatpacking). Then I’d grab a beer at the Brass Monkey roof before grabbing a bite at High Street on Hudson.
Where do you go to escape the crowds?
What’s your most memorable moment or experience in Meatpacking?
I have made so many memories and friends over the last five years here! A couple of highlights are definitely Soho House’s epic 10-year anniversary party and working with the city and our board of directors to get the public plazas designed and opened for everyone to use.
You’ve got a big job! When you’re out just doing you, what does that look like?
My staff gave me a gag gift recently that said “Unless you fell off the treadmill and smacked your face, no one wants to hear about your workout.” Fitness is an obsession and keeps me sane…and apparently annoys my team!