‘I love Downtown’


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After retiring from the NYPD, Ron Wolfgang was ready for a new challenge at the Alliance for Downtown New York


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  • Photo: Anne Kristoff




Good luck trying to give Ron Wolfgang an award.

“It’s not about me,” he said, of his DOTTY award. “It’s about everybody I work with and the support I get from the boss and everybody else here. Every positive adjective you can think of — hardworking, brilliant, diligent — we have in Operations. It’s about the work that we do collectively.”

Wolfgang is the Senior Vice President of Operations for the Alliance for Downtown New York, an organization founded in 1995 that provides supplemental services (public safety, sanitation, economic development, and more) to businesses and residents in the Financial District.

Wolfgang joined the Downtown Alliance 11 years ago after retiring from the NYPD. The Staten Island native spent the first half of his career in the nearby First Precinct. After retiring, he was ready for a new challenge.

“I like the uniqueness of this position,” he said. “It’s not just security, sanitation, it’s a little bit of everything, so you’re constantly using your knowledge and skills. I like the wide spectrum of disciplines.”

He also loves the location.

“My father was a police officer in the First Precinct too and he always told me ‘Downtown’s great!,’” he recalled. “I love Downtown. I love the history. I like to hear the old stories of immigrants who came through and made it.”

One of the biggest changes to the area is also one of its biggest challenges: the sheer number of people that crowd into its old Colonial-era grid. “There are over 60,000 residents now, whereas before there were about 20,000. We’ve at least tripled with that,” he said. “And a lot of tourists. Last year, the number was 13 and a half million, just down here specifically.”

Which means space is at a premium and keeping those spaces clean and safe is one of the Alliance’s main functions. To that end, the Alliance has a veritable army of red suited workers who hit the street every day. Cleaners, public safety, and folks manning information kiosks and running the circulator bus.

“What I am most proud of is being here every day, caring about what we do,” Wolfgang said. “I would like people to say thank you to our folks on the street ... it’s our staff that really does all the work.”





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