Jennifer Falk steps down as Executive Director of Union Square Partnership

On Nov. 8, the Union Square Partnership (USP) announced that Executive Director Jennifer Falk will step down after holding the role for 16 years.

During her time at USP, Falk served as the chief executive of two non-profit organizations – the business improvement district and local development corporation – and as the neighborhood leader for Union Square Park. Falk’s last day with the organization will be Nov. 15, 2022.

“It is a great honor to be such an integral part of this incredible community for sixteen years, and to work hand-in-hand with our board of directors, elected officials, key neighborhood stakeholders, and my talented staff, including the extraordinary men and women of our Clean Team,” said Jennifer Falk, Executive Director, Union Square Partnership. “I’m blessed to have been driven by an unrelenting passion for serving this community, and supported in this work unconditionally by my family for the last sixteen years. Like many, the pandemic has given me reason to pause and reflect on what I want to do next. My plans are to recharge for a bit and in the new year, I’ll begin conversations to explore what I want to do next.”

“Since joining us in January 2007, Jennifer has overseen an enlivening period of revitalization, growth, and success for the Union Square Partnership,” said Lynne Brown and William Abramson, Co-Chairs of the Union Square Partnership Board of Directors. “Jennifer’s work has always gone far beyond her job descriptions – developing systems where they didn’t exist and expanding the Partnership’s network of partners and advocates. She has been a trusted advisor, a tenacious champion for the neighborhood and a forceful leader with a firm vision for the future. As a result of her tenure, the Partnership is well-positioned for success amidst a challenging landscape, and we are grateful for her hard work and dedication to our community. We applaud her accomplishments and wish her the best as she embarks on her next chapter.”

During her time at USP, Falk worked to grow the Union Square-14th Street district and oversaw a number of different projects to achieve that goal. Under Falk’s leadership, USP’s accomplishments included:

  • Elevating USP, Manhattan’s first business improvement district, to become a leading civic organization and fortified the BID’s financial standing and raised over $1.3M-$1.5M annually, on top of an assessment budget of $4.2M, funding the launch of new programs and the expansion and beautification of the park.
  • Completing USP’s largest capital project, the $20 million North End Project
  • Launching the Vision Plan process in 2018, driving in 2021 a community-led plan that serves as a blueprint for the Union Square neighborhood in the decades to come
  • Partnering with city entities to implement transformative street improvements for Union Square
  • Promoting continuous investment in the Union Square district to address safety and cleanliness, including the planting of 160+ trees throughout the park, median malls and corridors
  • Invigorating in-person programming
  • Rebranding USP in 2014-2015 with innovative, full-spectrum marketing, social media, and digital programs that continue to grow Union Square’s reach today. 
  • Leading the neighborhood through various crises, including the financial crisis in 2008, Hurricane Sandy and COVID-19.
  • Conceptualizing and launching #USQNext, USP’s plan for short and long term district recovery during COVID-19, and 
  • Protecting Union Square’s iconic history as a place for the expression of free speech by working with area partners to ensure that all members of the community feel welcome to express themselves in New York City’s town square

“I am so proud of this community of neighborhood champions and the public improvement projects we have implemented together – from the renovations of the north end of Union Square Park and our world-famous playground to the work we’ve done to ensure Union Square remains a place for discourse and debate to be freely expressed,” said Falk. “We have helped small businesses thrive and pivoted to crisis measures upon the emergence of the pandemic. I have unyielding faith in the Partnership’s future vision for Union Square, which was crafted with exhaustive community involvement, and I look forward to seeing this team’s great successes unfold on behalf of the Union Square-14th Street community.”

As of Nov. 15, 2022, USP Deputy Director Ed Janoff, who has been with USP since 2019, will step in as Acting Executive Director. Janoff has 20 years of experience serving at multiple BIDs, city agencies, and parks nonprofits including stints as Director of External Affairs for Madison Square Park Conservancy from 2015-2018 and Executive Director of North Brooklyn Parks Alliance from 2013-2015. The USP board of directors will be working with a search firm to be named to conduct their search for Falk’s successor.