BERGER--Elizabeth, Elizabeth Berger was a great civic leader and champion of Lower Manhattan. As the President of the Alliance for Downtown New York and President of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association she helped shape the reimagining and rebuilding of Lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks and recently led an effort to assist Lower Manhattan businesses and residents recover from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. She died on August 5th at Bellevue Hospital Center. She turned 53 this past Saturday. Under Ms. Berger's leadership, the Alliance and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association successfully advocated for full funding and timely completion of the Fulton Street Transit Center, the reconstruction of Fiterman Hall and the enactment of post-9/11 commercial leasing incentives. Rather than focus on the district as the location of a terrible tragedy, Ms. Berger, renowned for her indefatigable energy and exacting intellect, was driven by a vision of Lower Manhattan as a place teeming with vitality and potential and a proving ground for municipal innovation. "Liz Berger's passion, sophistication and drive shaped Lower Manhattan as surely as any skyscraper or bulldozer," said Robert R. Douglass the Chairman of the Alliance for Downtown New York and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association. "Her strength as an advocate and strategist was only exceeded by her loyalty as a friend and her dedication as a mother and wife. She will be sorely missed." Elizabeth Harrie Berger was born on August 3, 1960 in New York City. Ms. Berger had decades of experience in government, community affairs and strategic planning. Prior to her time with the Alliance she established and built government relations practices at the law firms Lord Day & Lord Barrett Smith and LeBoeuf, Lamb Greene & MacRae and the Law Offices of Claudia Wagner. Ms. Berger is also credited with creating the Department of Government and External Affairs at Lincoln Center. She served as an Assistant Mayoral Representative to the New York City Council during the Koch administration. A graduate of Yale College where she created her own major, The Study of the City, Ms. Berger was also involved with a variety of civic organizations in New York City beyond her professional obligations. She was at various times a board director of The Municipal Art Society, Film Forum, Second Stage Theatre, American Museum of Natural History Planetarium Authority and the New York Building Congress. She was also a mayoral appointee to the board of the Trust for Governors Island. In a statement Mayor Michael Bloomberg said of Ms. Berger "Liz Berger loved our City with passion and gave her great intelligence and inventiveness to New York without reserve. She was more than an advocate for Lower Manhattan, she was a partner in building its future. As new transit hubs, skyscrapers, full access to our waterfront and a fresh vitality emerge downtown, Liz's influences are everywhere to be seen. We shared a vision of Lower Manhattan as a model 21st century business and residential district, and thanks to her tireless work, it's being realized before our eyes. The City mourns the loss of a great civic leader." She is survived by her husband Frederick Kaufman, daughter Phoebe, son Julian, her mother Anita, and brother Gideon. The family will hold a private gathering for immediate family and close friends and a public memorial will be planned for the early fall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Liz's memory to Film Forum or the Bowery Residents' Committee. For more information contact [email protected]
Published by New York Times on Aug. 7, 2013.