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Rebuilding NYC March 2003

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Feb 14, 2004
 

Wall Street Power Brokers Warn That Downtown Rebuilding Must Happen Soon - Mar 31, 2003
Top Wall Street power brokers have sounded an urgent alarm over snail's-pace redevelopment downtown and the area's abominable working conditions. Ken Chenault, Stan O'Neal and Tom Renyi - the CEOs respectively of American Express, Merrill Lynch and Bank of New York - warn in a confidential memo that downtown New York faces imminent catastrophe if its rejuvenation remains stalled by political paralysis. (New York Post)

Fire Department Group Seeks Special 9/11 Tribute - Mar 31, 2003
A group of retired firefighters still wants a Ground Zero memorial to honor uniformed rescuers separately from other victims - even though officials already nixed the idea. "Why in God's name would anyone not want to recognize what these brave, brave men did?" John Finucane, a retired FDNY lieutenant who's leading the charge, said. (New York Daily News)

Support Our Troops Rally Organized by 9/11 Families - Mar 31, 2003
Waving American flags and singing the national anthem, 200 people gathered at Ground Zero yesterday in a peaceful rally to support U.S. troops in Iraq. Among the demonstrators bearing yellow ribbons were 9/11 victims' loved ones, veterans and firefighters, who braved wind and rain at the site where many believe the war began. (New York Daily News)

Plans for Cultural Complex at Ground Zero Take Form - Mar 31, 2003
As plans begin to take shape for a cultural complex at ground zero, American Express has agreed to support a Museum of Freedom that may be built there. The museum would present exhibitions about the terrorist attacks as well as about issues like women's equality and civil rights. An American Express executive said that the company, based in lower Manhattan, decided to help sponsor the project because of its theme. (New York Times)

New World Trade Center Design is Being Eclipsed by its Architect, For Now - Mar 30, 2003
World Trade Center site designer Daniel Libeskind has fast become a pop culture icon. In six months, the man who will help bring life back to the destroyed trade center site has become a hot ticket in a town obsessed with celebrity. And he may contribute to an uptick in applications at his alma mater, Cooper Union, too. (Newsday)

Buildings Near Trade Center Still Closed - Mar 30, 2003
Eighteen months after the World Trade Center was destroyed, several surrounding office buildings are still closed and the future of the largest remains uncertain. The 40-story Deutsche Bank tower just south of the trade center site has been cleared of a mold that infested it for months after the attack, but its owners have not decided whether to raze or repair it. Other buildings, such as a major Post Office building just north of the site, are still being cleaned and overhauled. (Associated Press)

9/11 Comission May Recommend Criminal Charges - Mar 30, 2003
The commission charged with investigating if any failures led to the 9/11 terrorist attacks may refer its findings to criminal prosecutors, officials told The Post. The panel - headed by former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean - is holding its first public hearings in Manhattan tomorrow and Tuesday. (New York Post)

City, Port Authority Come Closer To Deal On Ground Zero-Airport Land Swap - Mar 28, 2003
City Hall and the Port Authority may be inching closer to a land-swap deal that would give the city complete control of Ground Zero, sources said yesterday. The Port Authority recently made what it considered a solid offer in which New York would acquire the 16-acre World Trade Center site and millions in cash in exchange for Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, which are leased by the authority, sources said. (New York Daily News)

Police Officers Who Sifted Through WTC Debris Sue City - Mar 28, 2003
A group of police officers has filed suit against the city, charging they suffered "serious and permanent injury" from sifting through World Trade Center debris at the Fresh Kills landfill. In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the seven officers and detectives say they were exposed to "dangerous levels of toxins, contaminants and teratogens and other harmful elements in the air" at the landfill as they examined debris. (New York Post)

Potential Conflicts Abound For 9/11 Investigation Panel - Mar 28, 2003
Members of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks have numerous professional ties to industries and organizations that could come under their scrutiny, financial disclosure reports show. The affiliations create possible conflicts that could pose challenges for the panel as it deals with a broad mandate, a tight schedule and limited funding. (Associated Press)

Battery Park City Says West St. Tunnel Likely - Mar 27, 2003
Pedestrians try to make their way across West St. at Vesey St., near where an underground tunnel may be built.State officials are likely to build a short tunnel under West St. and construction will be much less disruptive than some neighbors fear, Timothy Carey, president and C.E.O. of the Battery Park City Authority, said last week. "That's what I think will happen," Carey said of the proposed underground roadway, which would be adjacent to the World Trade Center site between Vesey and Liberty Sts. (Downtown Express)

Residents ask Libeskind to Improve Access - Mar 27, 2003
Downtown residents last week pressed Daniel Libeskind to adjust his design for the World Trade Center site by making it easier to walk through the area at street level. Libeskind, who was selected to design the site at the end of February, presented his plan to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's advisory committees last Thursday. The committees are made up of relatives of the people killed in the Sept. 11 attack, representatives from civics and arts groups, and Lower Manhattan business people and residents. Just about all of the speakers praised Libeskind's design, but the consensus among the residents who spoke was that the plan needed to be improved by allowing people walking east or west to cross the site in more places. (Downtown Express)

Downtowners Debate Merits of Liberty Bonds - Mar 27, 2003
Nearly a year after Congress announced it would create $8 billion in Liberty Bond financing for Lower Manhattan development, about one-quarter of the bonds have been earmarked for use. The bonds represent a tax-exempt investment, not cash, and developers benefit from a lower financing rate over time. If all $8 billion were used, it would cost federal taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion over 10 years, and some have suggested that the unused money set aside to support the bonds would help Lower Manhattan more if it was invested in transportation improvements. (Downtown Express)

Insurer Considers Major Move to Downtown's Empty Office Spaces - Mar 27, 2003
The Health Insurance Plan of New York is negotiating to move its headquarters and 1,600 employees to Lower Manhattan from Midtown in one of the biggest office deals in the past two years. HIP's potential move to an office building on the East River, at 55 Water Street, would be a boost for the downtown economy, where thousands of layoffs in the financial industry and corporate relocations have left a lot of office space vacant. HIP's offices are now at 7 West 34th Street and 132 West 31st Street. (New York Times)

Bloomberg Trusts That Feds Will Pay For Operation Atlas - Mar 27, 2003
The Bush administration likely will pick up the city's entire $5 million weekly tab for wartime security, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. "It does look like our $5 million a week will be paid for by the federal government," Bloomberg said. "They haven't said so explicitly, but if you read what they have said so far, I believe, that [it] probably will be." (New York Daily News)

WTC Workers Compensation Board Has Settled Most Claims - Mar 26, 2003
The state Workers' Compensation Board has settled about 85% of death and injury claims from victims and families in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, officials said yesterday. The board has resolved 2,062 claims related to deaths, and 4,108 stemming from injuries, spokesman Jon Sullivan said. (New York Daily News)

Miller Pushes Terror Test for Buildings - Mar 26, 2003
Buildings taller than seven stories would have to undergo anti-terrorism inspections - paid for by property owners - under a proposal floated yesterday by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller. While Miller said the inspections are necessary to protect people who live and work in tall buildings, property owners attacked the plan as a tax in disguise. (New York Daily News)

Author Charges Silverstein Was Plotting To Cash In On Attacks Within Hours of 9/11 - Mar 25, 2003
Within hours of the collapse of the twin towers, leaseholder Larry Silverstein was plotting a strategy to nullify parts of his insurance policy and maximize his payout, a new book claims. Steven Brill's "After - How America Confronted the Sept. 12 Era" also contends that Silverstein has been daring the Port Authority to breach its lease with him so he can make "a fast $1 billion." (New York Daily News)

24-Hour Air Patrols Resume Over New York - Mar 25, 2003
The United States government has resumed 24-hour air patrols over New York City after law enforcement and intelligence agencies warned that the city was in special danger from terrorists during the war with Iraq, senior government officials said today. The 24-hour patrols will be the first over New York City since early last year, when the Defense Department suspended the continuous air patrols over New York and Washington that had begun in the hours after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. (New York Times)

New Report Challenges Account of Looting at Ground Zero - Mar 23, 2003
A new 50-page analysis challenges the account of an award-winning journalist that some firefighters stole pairs of jeans from a store at the World Trade Center while responding to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. In his report, based on satellite data, aerial photographs, maps and footnotes, author George Black seeks to refute the assertions of William Langewiesche, who reported the looting last year in a series of articles for The Atlantic Monthly. The articles were later turned into a critically acclaimed book, "American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center," that angered many firefighters. (Associated Press)

Daniel Libeskind To Get Joint WTC Site Contract - Mar 21, 2003
Daniel Libeskind, the architect who created the winning design for rebuilding the World Trade Center site, will soon be offered contracts to oversee nearly all of the development projects at the site, rebuilding officials said yesterday. The contracts, to be offered within 30 days by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, are intended to ensure that Mr. Libeskind's plan will guide development at the site. (New York Times)

New York Steps Up Scrutiny and Traffic Slows to Crawl - Mar 20, 2003
Concerned that river crossings are among the likelier potential targets for terrorist attacks, the New York Police Department sharply increased its patrols at bridges and tunnels yesterday. The patrols, along with inspections of trucks in Manhattan, slowed traffic to a single-lane crawl on entrance ramps and avenues. (New York Times)

Surveillance Cameras Installed In Subway Tunnels - Mar 20, 2003
Surveillance cameras have been installed in "sensitive places" in the subway system - including tunnels that run under the East River - in a bid to foil a possible terror attack, The Post has learned. The cameras have been put in places that are off-limits to straphangers, such as facilities that house computers and areas where signal workers switch trains from track to track. (New York Post)

New Yorkers On Wartime Alert - Mar 20, 2003
The mayor went to Washington to ask for budget help. The Department of Education tightened security. Protesters continued to insist that war was not necessary, while police went to war-time status. Like it or not, the attack on Iraq loomed large in the city yesterday, and even the most self-involved citizens could hardly avoid noticing the changes all around, both subtle and obvious. (Newsday)

Bloomberg Seeks Federal Funds at White House - Mar 20, 2003
Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday outlined a $900 million request for federal funds to beef up New York's emergency preparedness, and said the Bush administration agreed that high-profile target cities like New York should get a larger proportion of aid. (Newsday)

Mold Has Been Removed From Deutsche Bank Building - Mar 20, 2003
The toxic mold that was considered a serious environmental threat in the damaged Deutsche Bank building has been removed, city officials said this week - potentially clearing the way for a decision on what will happen with the black-shrouded wreck that looms over Ground Zero. (New York Post)

WTC Architect May Work Primarily With Port Authority - Mar 20, 2003
Ground Zero architect Daniel Libeskind would work primarily for the Port Authority - not a state-city agency created to oversee rebuilding - under a pact being considered. PA Vice Chairman Charles Gargano said yesterday that the agency was "in negotiations right now" with Libeskind. (New York Daily News)

New Yorkers' Views on the Coming War - Mar 19, 2003
A slideshow, with excerpts from interviews. "I have two sons and IĂ•m very frightened - about the threat of reprisals and the threat to our future," said Debbie Galasso, 50. (BBC News)

Tough New Yorkers Feeling Threatened - Mar 19, 2003
New Yorkers who shrugged at the rainbow of terror alerts and smirked at the duct tape frenzy say the likelihood of war with Iraq makes terror attacks feel like a real threat. ``All those warnings before I never took seriously. But this is very different--there's an obvious threat,'' said Lynn Chen, 24, during a lunch break near the World Trade Center site, where nearly 2,800 people were killed in the terrorist attack 18 months ago. (Associated Press)

With Tighter Security, New Yorkers Tense Up for Life in Wartime - Mar 19, 2003
The day after President Bush declared that diplomacy had failed and that Saddam Hussein must leave Iraq or face attack, there was a sense of inevitability in a city that has come to see itself as a victim, a city that worries about being a target, a city that is still adjusting to a life of color-coded danger. (New York Times)

City Finally Gets $33M 9/11 Grant - Mar 19, 2003
More than a year and a half after the World Trade Center attack, the federal government Tuesday announced that it had finally released funds to pay for the mental health needs of city schoolchildren. A $33 million grant to the city was approved last week by the Federal Center for Mental Health Services, which works in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. (Newsday)

9/11 Small-Business Grants Exceed Approved Financing - Mar 19, 2003
The biggest 9/11 program aiding small businesses in Lower Manhattan has approved payments totaling $49 million more than the amount allotted to the program, and state officials are scrambling to come up with the extra money. (New York Times)

L.M.D.C. Looks to Plan the Rest of Downtown - Mar 18, 2003
The architect and the street plan for the World Trade Center site were selected three weeks ago, but officials are hoping to figure out in the next month who exactly will make future decisions at the site and who will pay the architect, Daniel Libeskind. Libeskind didn't seem worried this Monday when he rang the opening bell of the American Stock Exchange, smiling as he banged away with Kevin Rampe, the L.M.D.C.'s acting president. (Downtown Express)

NYPD Begins First Stage of Security Plan 'Operation Atlas' - Mar 18, 2003
As the nation moved closer to war with Iraq, the NYPD last night was poised to launch "Operation Atlas" by beefing up police patrols at the city's news organizations, The Post has learned. The first steps in the NYPD's plan to boost security were taken as the rest of the nation yesterday followed the city's lead by raising the terrorist threat level from Code Yellow to Code Orange. In the days ahead, the NYPD expects to implement other aspects of the $5 million-a-week Big Apple security package known as Atlas. (New York Post)

Federal Records Show EPA Made Mistake In Declaring WTC Air Safe - Mar 18, 2003
The Environmental Protection Agency failed to gather sufficient evidence before declaring the air around Ground Zero "safe to breathe" in the days after the collapse of the twin towers, federal documents reveal. The EPA inspector general's office found that the agency based its conclusion on a cancer risk level 100 times greater than the traditional standard used to determine acceptable public exposure to toxic contaminants. (New York Daily News)

Feds Give $92M For PATH Station at WTC Site - Mar 18, 2003
The Port Authority will receive an additional $92.4 million for construction of the temporary PATH station at the World Trade Center site, federal officials said yesterday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's grant will cover about half of the station's construction costs, with the rest coming from expected insurance proceeds, FEMA officials said. (Newsday)

City Is Planning Expanded Security in Event of War - Mar 16, 2003
To protect New York City if and when an American-led attack on Iraq begins, police officials have prepared a sweeping security plan that calls for expanding the patrols on the streets and asking the Defense Department to fly combat aircraft overhead, a senior police official said yesterday. The patrols on the streets -- at government buildings, hotels and houses of worship as well as at newly strengthened checkpoints at bridges and tunnels -- would address a concern of police officials, that attackers acting alone present a greater risk than a larger, carefully orchestrated assault on the city. (New York Times)

9/11 Claims by Firefighters Could Cost $12 Billion - Mar 15, 2003
Michael A. Cardozo, the city's corporation counsel, said yesterday that New York City could end up paying at least $12 billion to more than a thousand firefighters who have filed Sept. 11-related lawsuits. The bulk of the claims come from firefighters who, along with some police officers and sanitation workers, say their health was jeopardized during the recovery and cleanup effort at ground zero because they were required to work without proper respiratory equipment. (New York Times)

9/11 Memorial Will Pay Tribute to All Victims - Mar 14, 2003
A memorial to the victims of Sept. 11 will recognize all of those killed as a single group rather than as members of separate groups like firefighters, rescue workers or World Trade Center tenants, rebuilding officials said yesterday. Directors of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation agreed at a board meeting yesterday to adopt a resolution laying out the guidelines for the memorial's content, including the provision that all the victims receive comparable recognition. (New York Times)

Job Losses in New York City Since 9/11 Continue to Grow - Mar 14, 2003
The national recession and the attack on the World Trade Center cost New York City 47,000 more jobs than previously believed, bringing the city's total job losses to about 223,000 in the last two years, according to new data released yesterday. The State Department of Labor, which released the revised job loss figures, also reported that the unemployment rate in the city edged up in January, to 8.6 percent from 8.5 percent in December. (New York Times)

Mayor Sees City Taking Control At Ground Zero - Mar 13, 2003
The Bloomberg administration is pursuing a strategy to take over the World Trade Center site that will likely increase pressure on developer Larry Silverstein to abandon his interests in the rebuilding effort, according to a Port Authority source familiar with the cityÕs position. (New York Observer)

Supporters Rally To LMDC's Wils - Mar 13, 2003
Members of Manhattan's Community Board 1 rallied around their leader last night, calling criticism of her by some World Trade Center victims' families unwarranted. The remains of unidentifiable victims at the World Trade Center site has become a lightning rod for the board, whose members would prefer to see only a symbolic portion of the remains there. That led some families on Monday to call for the resignation of board chairwoman Madelyn Wils from her membership on the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (Newsday)

Memorials Proliferate in Crowded Downtown - Mar 13, 2003
Lower Manhattan's many memorials, including the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Irish Hunger Memorial, have prompted discussions among residents, urban planners and historians about the potential effect of so many monuments to death and loss on a living neighborhood, as well as concerns about the influx of roughly five million tourists once the memorial is built. Today the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is expected to release its mission statement for the World Trade Center memorial. (New York Times)

Study Calls for Adding Ferries to Link Suburbs to Downtown - Mar 13, 2003
Since shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center, an old idea -- extending the Long Island Rail Road to Lower Manhattan -- has received new attention and support from downtown business leaders. As part of his $10.6 billion rebuilding plan, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg advocated building a new tunnel beneath the East River to link downtown with the railroad. But a study to be released today contends that adding a commuter rail line from Long Island to downtown would do little to improve access to the area, and that a much bigger network of ferries would do the job better and for less money. (New York Times)

A Teenage Resident's View of the Bus Debate - Mar 12, 2003
Saruh Lacoff, a 15-year-old student whose bedroom window overlooks the World Trade Center site, began crying on and off for almost an hour after the mother of one of the victims said Downtown residents just wanted to clear the footprints for restaurants. "That's not what this is about," Lacoff called out, but few people heard her during a Community Board 1 meeting last week. (Downtown Express)

Families, Residents Fight Over W.T.C. 'Footprints' - Mar 12, 2003
Relatives of the victims of the World Trade Center attack clashed with Downtown residents and business people last week over the ongoing dispute about where to put the tour buses expected to visit a 9/11 memorial. The Port Authority, which owns the W.T.C. site, had proposed a 120-bus garage near the bathtub slurry wall and under the "footprints" of the Twin Towers, but after an outcry from some relatives, agency leaders downgraded the proposal to a suggestion and said they would consider alternatives. (Downtown Express)

Kelly Says Park Row Closing Will Continue - Mar 12, 2003
The city plans to install metal security grates around police headquarters, according to elected officials who met last Friday with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall to discuss easing traffic restrictions in the area. The news came as a blow to residents who had hoped that parts of Park Row, between Worth St. and City Hall, could be reopened after being closed for 18 months due to security concerns. (Downtown Express)

Photos, Flags and Other Mementos Stolen From a 9/11 Memorial - Mar 12, 2003
Thirty photographs, four flags and other mementos have been stolen from a sidewalk memorial to three officers at State Supreme Court in Manhattan who died in the attack on the World Trade Center, officials said yesterday. (New York Times)

New York's New Visionary - Daniel Libeskind - Mar 12, 2003
Daniel Libeskind, the elfin, bespectacled architect who last month won the right to design World Trade Center II, overnight became New York's chief public intellectual of urban space. Part event planner, part village explainer, part rock star, the former professor has essentially been appointed the city's master builder. He is ready for the role. (Newsday)

Families Seek to Oust LMDC Board Member - Mar 12, 2003
Several families of Sept. 11 victims have organized an online petition calling for Madelyn Wils, chair of Community Board 1 in lower Manhattan, to resign from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation board. They argue that that Wils is opposing a World Trade Center site tomb for unknown remains. The families don't expect Wils to actually resign, but they hope to draw more attention to their dispute. (Newsday)

Rebuilding Agency To Discuss Libeskind Contract - Mar 12, 2003
The first contract with Studio Daniel Libeskind for work at the World Trade Center site will be considered for approval this week by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. They will discuss a contract for Mr. Libeskind to be a consultant on the memorial's development, the officials said. Some civic groups that have followed the rebuilding process have warned that if Mr. Libeskind does not have a formal role, crucial elements of his design could be compromised by the political machinations that surround any large public works project. (New York Times)

Betts: I Won't Lead A Weak LMDC - Mar 11, 2003
An influential downtown rebuilding official said yesterday he would turn down a leadership role in the months ahead if the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. has its powers stripped. Corporation board member Roland Betts, a close friend of President Bush's, said he is waiting to see if negotiations between the state and city "clearly define" the LMDC as the lead agency in rebuilding Ground Zero. (New York Daily News)

Port Authority Reaffirms LMDC's Role - Mar 11, 2003
The Port Authority committed yesterday to working with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., denying reports that the rebuilding agency's role would be usurped by the city. Senior Port Authority officials plan to keep working with the agency, lauding the LMDC's role as "a great partner" in developing a public input process for the site's redevelopment. (Newsday)

'Flag Man' No Longer Allowed Into Ground Zero - Mar 11, 2003
For more than a year, Richard Wright of Glen Oaks has been setting flags to fly throughout Ground Zero and later retrieving them to donate to police and fire departments, Boy Scout troops and construction workers. Yesterday, Wright, 50, retrieved much of the last batch of his flags from the Port Authority, which recently told him he could no longer continue to set them at the site. (Newsday)

World Is Interested In How NYC Memorializes Attacks - Mar 10, 2003
Quite apart from the fact that people of many different nationalities died in those attacks, every nation has its own sad or traumatic events to remember and cannot help but be curious as to how others choose to translate loss or outrage or grief or even defiance into physical form. Fashions change in public memorials, as in all things. (Japan Times)

Picking Jury for 9/11 Memorial Is First Task - Mar 10, 2003
The first hurdle for planners responsible for creating a 9/11 memorial is to pick the jury that will choose the winning design -- and decide whether to include victims' relatives on the panel. Relatives of World Trade Center victims have called for family members to be on the jury. But some officials, including LMDC memorial head Anita Contini, have stressed the need for a panel made up of architects and other design professionals. (New York Post)

Libeskind's Past Projects Have Caused Budget Problems - Mar 10, 2003
Well-known projects designed by Daniel Libeskind, the artsy architect behind the controversial plan for Ground Zero, have been acclaimed by critics - but have caused headaches around the world because of budget problems. Still, his record indicates a willingness to retool his bold designs to accommodate financial and political realities. (New York Post)

Schumer Wants Relatives of 9/11 Victims to Have Voice at Terror Trials - Mar 9, 2003
The voices of Sept. 11 victimsÕ relatives should be heard at military tribunals where terrorists are on trial, Sen. Charles Schumer said today. Crime victims currently have the right to speak at the sentencing of convicted defendants in federal court, and that right should be extended to military tribunals, the lawmaker said. (Newsday)

Mayoral Appointees Miss Meetings on Ground Zero - Mar 8, 2003
For months, even as Mayor Michael Bloomberg has sought greater influence over the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, three of the eight mayoral appointees to the corporation's board have been absent from the debates over the future of downtown. One mayoral board seat has been empty since November, following the resignation of a director appointed by former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Two other mayoral appointees -- E. Stanley O'Neal, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch, and Richard A. Grasso, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange -- have missed two-thirds of the scheduled board meetings over the last year. (New York Times)

Port Authority Stalls Real Estate Project - Mar 8, 2003
With the World Trade Center site's future still unresolved, the economy has slammed the brakes on another huge Port Authority real estate project. For five years, the agency has planned to build a 39-story office tower atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal at W. 42nd St. and Eighth Ave. But yesterday, developer Vornado Realty signaled the project's chances are "nil," said an analyst. (New York Daily News)

City Is Seeking Bigger Role in Rebuilding - Mar 7, 2003
The Bloomberg administration has proposed a broad restructuring of the city-state agency overseeing the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, city and state officials said yesterday. The plan would give the city more authority over the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site and billions of dollars of federal recovery money, they said. The plan would transfer the development corporation's planning, design and development staff to a city agency and would give the city and the development corporation's board joint authority over the development of cultural programs at the trade center site. (New York Times)

Activists Oppose New Liberty Bonds for Downtown Market-Rate Apartments - Mar 7, 2003
Another $48 million in Liberty Bonds is likely to be approved for new market-rate apartments in downtown Manhattan, angering housing advocates who say the federal tax-exempt bonds should do more to help low- and moderate-income residents. Liberty Bond housing projects are required to set aside just 5 percent of the apartments for moderate-income residents. But housing advocates say that doesn't go far enough and is at odds with the HFA's mission. (Newsday)

Information Forum For 9/11 Victims' Families - Mar 7, 2003
Hundreds of Sept. 11 victims' relatives are expected to attend an information forum tomorrow, where they can get answers to questions on issues such as the Ground Zero memorial and the victims' compensation fund. The forum, organized by the St. Clare's World Trade Center Outreach Committee on Staten Island, will feature representatives from dozens of victims' advocacy groups as well as from City Hall, said Dennis McKeon, who helped organize the event. (New York Daily News)

'The Libeskinds' - Winning Architect Brings Wife Along - Mar 6, 2003
Call them Mr. and Mrs. Ground Zero: Daniel and Nina Libeskind, with their short gray hair, black ensembles, leather jackets and artsy glasses, are steeling themselves for what is perhaps New York's hottest political crucible of the moment-the rebuilding effort at the World Trade Center. In the decade or so since Daniel, the distinguished professor, and Nina, who shares a starring role in Studio Daniel Libeskind as the driving force of its business side, have been designing actual buildings rather than promoting architectural education, they have become a political force to be reckoned with. (New York Observer)

Libeskind's WTC Vision Was Born of Socialist Bronx - Mar 6, 2003
As a young man living in the Amalgamated Houses in the Bronx, Daniel Libeskind Ă‘ the architect selected this week to rebuild the World Trade Center site Ă‘ recalls being immersed in an environment in which progressive politics, Yiddish literary debates and a community spirit thrived. (Forward)

Cantor Fitzgerald's WTC Funds To Be Split Up - Mar 6, 2003
A $33 million pot of money set aside by Congress specifically to help Cantor Fitzgerald - the World Trade Center brokerage that lost 658 employees in the terror attack - will be partly carved up by several other WTC firms after months of intense negotiations over the funds, officials said yesterday. (New York Post)

Tensions Flare Over Proposed WTC Bus Garage - Mar 6, 2003
Tensions flared between relatives of Sept. 11 victims and people who live downtown last night over a proposal to put a bus garage beneath the memorial at Ground Zero. The heated exchange took place at a Community Board 1 hearing on the garage, which neighbors of the site largely support but many victims' families oppose. (New York Daily News)

Victims' Families Say 9/11 Images in Rudy Movie Are 'Exploitative' - Mar 5, 2003
Already bombarded by images of the twin towers' destruction, families of Sept. 11 victims assailed an unauthorized TV movie about former mayor Rudy Giuliani that's packed with graphic Ground Zero footage. "It's exploitative," Jack Lynch, whose son Firefighter Michael Lynch was killed in the attacks, said yesterday. "It's a horrible thing to do to the families. It's crass and insensitive." (New York Daily News)

Millions Raised for Al Qaeda in Brooklyn - Mar 5, 2003
A prominent Yemeni cleric apprehended in Germany on charges of financing terrorism used a Brooklyn mosque to help funnel millions of dollars to Al Qaeda, according to federal officials. The cleric, Sheik Muhammad Ali Hassan al-Mouyad, told an F.B.I. informant that he collected money for terrorist groups including Al Qaeda and Hamas at the Al Farooq mosque on Atlantic Avenue. (New York Times)

WTC Rebuild Agency Names Interim President - Mar 5, 2003
Kevin Rampe, general counsel to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., was named as interim president of the agency, corporation board chairman John Whitehead said. The agency's first president, Lou Tomson, stepped down Friday after Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg selected a Ground Zero plan by architect Daniel Libeskind. Rampe, a former state insurance department official, is Pataki's choice to lead the agency permanently. But City Hall has yet to sign off on it, and is still interested in searching for another candidate, sources said. (New York Daily News)

Pentagon's Memorial Design Unveiled - Mar 4, 2003
"The first thing to know about the Pentagon Memorial design unveiled yesterday is that it is in exactly the right place -- only 60 yards or so away from the point of impact and directly along the flight path taken by the murderous plane that struck the building on Sept. 11, 2001," writes Benjamin Forgey in the Washington Post. "The second thing to say is that the competition-winning design by two young New York architects does much to honor and intensify the meaning of this already significant location." (Washington Post)

Now Libeskind Must Fight For His Plan - Mar 4, 2003
Eighteen months after the Twin Towers collapsed, New York finally has a planÑor rather the beginning of a planÑfor rebuilding ground zero. The first rule in architecture is: Get the job. But the highly capable Libeskind has already conceded too much of his vision to get there. Still, he proved his mettle pulling his brilliant Jewish Museum in Berlin through a hellacious process, its design largely intact. Now we need him to summon those skills in the even tougher city of New York. (New York Magazine)

There's a Long Way to Go, and Plenty Left to Argue About - Mar 4, 2003
Libeskind's opulent vision won the favor of rebuilding officials last week, but the degree to which his plans will be adopted remains an open question; from here, the process is fraught with obstacles. The exact composition of a memorial must still be determined. Libeskind's design must also pass an environmental review, and opponents have the right to call for alternatives as part of that process. With Lower Manhattan mired in a deep recession, the 10 million square feet of office space envisioned in Libeskind's plan seems unrealistic. Civic groups are balking at both the proposed parking garage and the blueprint's 880,000 square feet of retail space--nearly twice the size of the first World Trade Center mall. Victims' families, meanwhile, are upset about the notion of housing tour buses on "sacred ground" underneath the memorial site. (U.S. News and World Report)

Residents Oppose Tomb At WTC Site - Mar 4, 2003
A tomb holding the unidentified remains of Sept. 11 victims - the proposed soul of a Ground Zero memorial - is being vigorously opposed by downtown community leaders who fear it would turn their neighborhood into a cemetery. Manhattan's Community Board 1 is preparing a resolution opposing the return of all the unidentified victims' remains to the disaster site. (New York Daily News)

Rebuilding at Ground Zero - Mar 3, 2003
The competition to design the World Trade Center site is over. The winner is Daniel Libeskind. But how much of his powerful scheme will be built? Libeskind's plan calls for a 7acre area, 30 ft. deep, to be preserved as testimony to the attack and the resilience of New York City and America - in effect, a Wailing Wall for the 21st century, with an emotional power that grows from calamity but tells of endurance. (Time)

Daniel Libeskind Takes Home the Prize - Mar 3, 2003
Who would have thought a year ago that a world-class radical architect would be chosen to design the WTC site? The selection of someone of Libeskind's caliber for this historic project is a turning point for architecture and for the city, and it sends a clear signal that the public has an appetite for innovative design. It was public passion that forced the design competition from which Libeskind has emerged victorious. (Newsweek)

Political Considerations Lead To Current Vision For Ground Zero - Mar 3, 2003
The creation of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation set off what could have been any government operation -- a plodding, obtuse process run by bureaucrats with little public participation. Instead, it evolved into a grand public discussion about architecture, public space and the nature of memory. (New York Times)

Feds Say Mafia Violated Labor Laws At Ground Zero - Mar 2, 2003
Mafia bosses demanded cushy, high-paying jobs for their relatives and cronies at Ground Zero and may have stolen no-show pay during the eight-month cleanup of the site. Genovese and Colombo crime family bigs used their stranglehold of two powerful construction unions to override hiring lists and flout labor laws when jobs were handed out after 9/11, federal law enforcement sources say. (New York Post)

Buildings on Broadway To Make Way For New Transit Center - Mar 1, 2003
A tailoring shop a block from the World Trade Center survived 9/11, but it may not survive the rebuilding effort. New York State and New York City are planning a new Fulton Street Transit Center, a $750 million project on the east side of Broadway between Fulton and John Streets that will simplify connections between nine subway lines at the Fulton Street and Broadway-Nassau stations. But some buildings will be razed to make way for the transit center. (New York Times)

Victims' Families Oppose Bus Depot On WTC Site - Mar 1, 2003
Some victims' family members are calling a plan to build an undergound parking garage on the World Trade Center site disrespectful. The Coalition of 9/11 Families says the thought of buses parking on what they consider sacred ground is upsetting. They also say the plan is a security risk. (NY1)

Libeskind Choice Only First Of Many In WTC Process - Mar 1, 2003
The selection last week of architect Daniel Libeskind's design for the World Trade Center site capped an intensely public process, marked by large meetings, passionate debates by everyone from scholars to schoolchildren, and thousands of comments from ordinary New Yorkers. Despite that civic outpouring, many key decisions about the site's future are being made with little public input at the Port Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, critics say. (Newsday)

Governor Compared Opposing WTC Plan To "Death" - Mar 1, 2003
Moments before he would cement his decision to go with the Daniel Libeskind plan for Ground Zero, Gov. Pataki compared the runnerup scheme's towers to "death," sources said yesterday. Pataki said he believed the latticework towers of design team THINK were a ghostly reminder of the fallen World Trade Center. The towers "look like death to me," Pataki said, according to several sources. (New York Daily News)

New Yorkers Wary Of Federal Terror Alert - Mar 1, 2003
More than half of New York City voters do not find the government's color-coded terror alert system helpful and most are not taking added precautions against a possible new attack, according to a Quinnipiac poll released yesterday. Although 64 percent of those polled said they were "personally very concerned" about another attack, only 30 percent said they have stockpiled precautionary items. Sixty-nine percent said they have not stockpiled. (Associated Press)


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