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Rebuilding NYC

Rebuilding NYC

Transportation And Lower Manhattan: Where Do We Go From Here?


A conceptual view of how the MTA is planning for the new Fulton Street Transit Center at the corner of Broadway to look

Rush hour in New York, 2015: At the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, a commuter gets off the PATH train from Jersey City and walks two blocks to his office in the 1776-foot-tall tower on Fulton Street. At the nearby Fulton Street Transit Center -- airy, brightly lit, and easy to navigate -- a downtown resident takes the #2 subway train uptown to her job in Times Square. At the same time, a family from Japan gets off their flight at John F. Kennedy Airport and boards a train that goes directly to the 9/11 memorial on the former site of the old World Trade Center. And a Wall Street executive from Greenwich arrives on time to work via the Second Avenue subway, using an easy connection at Grand Central Terminal.

Those who currently live and work in lower Manhattan could easily see this scenario as science fiction.

Today, downtown subway stations are archaic and uninviting. The streets seem to be a perpetual construction zone. Added security and barriers, such as at the New York Stock Exchange on Broad Street, create a war zone atmosphere. West Street remains a barrier to the World Financial Center and Battery Park City. Connections among subway lines are confusing or non-existent.

The tragedy in lower Manhattan highlighted the inherent weaknesses in the transportation system serving it, particularly in contrast to Midtown. With no direct commuter rail access from New Jersey, Long Island or Westchester (Midtown has direct access from all three), lower Manhattan has been at a competitive disadvantage to attract businesses for several decades.

Rebuilding lower Manhattan after September 11 has meant not only restoring the transportation that was damaged during the attacks, but improving many parts of the transportation system downtown.

In October 2002, Governor George Pataki submitted a request for funding for lower Manhattan transportation projects to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Transit Administration. Early this year, they agreed to together provide $4.55 billion. The approved projects include a transit hub at the World Trade Center site, with underground connections to a new subway complex called the Fulton Street Transit Center. Pataki’s list also includes the rebuilding of the dysfunctional South Ferry 1/9 subway station and improvements to lower Manhattan streets and public places. In addition, the governor has called for tunneling part of West Street and a further study of how best to connect lower Manhattan to the airports.

World Trade Center Transportation Hub

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub involves the construction of a temporary and then a permanent PATH station, with pedestrian connections to the E train station, the existing N/R station, and entirely reconstructed 1/9 station. An underground walkway under Dey Street will link the hub to the Fulton Transit Center, which will incorporate four subway stations and nine subway lines. It will have another walkway under West Street that connects to Battery Park City. The cost of the project is estimated at between $1.7 and $2 billion, and it will be completed in phases by early 2009.

One controversial element about the hub, which has still not been resolved, is how much retail space will be built underground in the hub’s passageways. While retail developers are anxious to build as many stores underground as possible to attract business from commuters walking through the station each day, building too many stores underground would create a mall that could sap the life from the surrounding streets. To build a vibrant neighborhood in lower Manhattan, as much retail space as possible should be built at street level.

Another issue is the possibility of including a terminal under the World Trade Center site to house tourist buses. The city and local residents say the bus terminal would keep foul-smelling buses from lining up on crowded local streets, but many family members of those lost on 9/11 are offended by the thought of buses stored where their loved ones died. While some bus parking, especially for school buses, may be necessary, it can be kept to a minimum by encouraging tourists who visit the 9/11 memorial to use ferries and subways.

Fulton Street Transit Center


The MTA's design concept for the John Street and Broadway entrance to the Fulton Street Transit Center.

The Fulton Street Transit Center to the east is being planned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The station complex, which includes four stations and nine subway lines, the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, M, and Z, is a maze that challenges the savviest New Yorker. The MTA plans to open up the Lexington Avenue station entrance by razing some or possibly all of the properties on the east side of Broadway from Fulton to John Streets. The authority also plans to simplify the pathways and make it easier for people to see where to go when transferring from one line to the other. See the MTA website for more details. Many preservationists are very worried that historic buildings, most notably the Corbin Building on John Street, will be torn down or damaged to make way for the new station. This 1889 building, with its terra cotta façade, is one of the area’s first skyscrapers. The MTA should preserve the façade of the building and incorporate it into the design of the new station. The cost for the transit center is $750 million, and it is scheduled to be completed by 2007.

New South Ferry Subway Station

The new South Ferry subway station will overcome the many deficiencies of the existing station, such as platforms the length of just half a subway train, delays caused by slow trains forced to negotiate an almost impossibly tight curve, and a single overcrowded exit. The station, which serves as a gateway for tourists destined for Liberty and Ellis islands, is an embarrassment as it is now.

The original design for the replacement would have torn up part of Battery Park, cutting down dozens of trees on the east side of the park. After the Battery Conservancy and other groups complained, the MTA decided to rethink the design. A new plan has been devised by the MTA, and it is a big improvement. The station would now be located mostly outside and east of the park. Building it will do little damage to the park, and the new plan brings the station closer to others in lower Manhattan to make transferring easier. It will also be closer to the Staten Island ferry terminal than the first plan. The earlier design was to cost $400 million and be completed by 2007, but costs and timing of the new design are not yet available.

West Street

West Street presents a barrier for pedestrians who want to go to and from the World Financial Center and parts of Battery Park City. Prior to 9/11, two pedestrian overpasses helped walkers cross the 200-foot-plus-wide highway. The more heavily used overpass, which went directly into the Winter Garden, was destroyed and will likely be replaced.

Initially, there was much interest in burying West Street in a tunnel from the World Trade Center site all the way to the Battery, but cost estimates were so high that the New York State Department of Transportation is investigating less ambitious plans – either a short tunnel from Vesey to Liberty Streets, which the governor has recently called for, or a deck over West Street into the World Financial Center across the way. This deck or platform would bridge over the existing highway. Depressing the highway in a tunnel would almost certainly be more expensive, but it would improve access to the World Financial Center and the ferry services beyond on the Hudson River and would better protect the memorial site from the noise of traffic. Some downtown residents have opposed a tunnel, saying it isn’t necessary and will require a disruptive construction zone. The New York State Department of Transportation is currently making presentations about the tunneling and decking options, after which the public will be in a better position to judge which plan will work best. Costs have not been determined for either project.

Airport Connections

In the governor’s letter to the federal government, he indicated that local agencies would be working to provide direct access from lower Manhattan to Newark and Kennedy airports. Much of the PATH line to Newark is already in place, and the project’s viability will depend on its cost and whether it can operate without affecting existing PATH services. The Port Authority is examining this.

For Kennedy airport, the options are more varied. New subway connections with Brooklyn could bring trains into lower Manhattan from Jamaica to serve Long Island commuters and also provide for an easy transfer to the Kennedy Airport Airtrain, to open next year. But many worry that the new trains would interfere with existing subway service and do little to cut the travel time for Long Islanders going directly to lower Manhattan. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed creating a new tunnel under the East River, which would provide a one-seat ride to Kennedy Airport and could also provide a connection to the Long Island Rail Road.

The Regional Plan Association, where I am a senior fellow for transportation, strongly supports a new East River tunnel. However, the association’s plan is for the airport connection to be linked to the planned Second Avenue subway, which is designed to allow an extension into Brooklyn. Governor Pataki has asked the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, along with the MTA and the Port Authority, to sort through the alternatives and make a recommendation by next spring. Where the funding for any airport project will come from is not yet clear.

Second Avenue Subway

Incredibly, overlooked in all of the discussions about lower Manhattan transportation is the project that the MTA has already committed to, the Second Avenue subway. It would add two new subway services to lower Manhattan and unclog a third, the notorious Lexington Avenue express. The MTA supports placing the new subway line in lower Manhattan underneath Water Street on the east side. If this line is extended, it could connect with Brooklyn and the Long Island Rail Road as described above. (The portion of the line in Manhattan is the subject of MTA hearings scheduled for May 12 and 13.)

Fixing Downtown Streets

Lower Manhattan’s streets are barricaded for security reasons and overcrowded with pedestrians competing for limited space with many types of vehicles, all with a claim to the same space. Security needs to be provided without creating an “armed camp” atmosphere. A solution for overcrowding should allocate space according to the need to move people and goods, and recognize the important role of streets and sidewalks as part of the public realm. This can be done by creating a plan for lower Manhattan’s “public realm,” including closing some streets to traffic, and building park-like boulevards and small parks. The governor’s recent allocation of funds for streets and parks is a step in the right direction.

The transportation system must be made whole again. Otherwise, the willingness of commuters and others traveling to lower Manhattan on business or to shop, will slowly, but assuredly erode. So will the resolve of the area’s residents. People will be unwilling to stand the inconvenience and lost time, when other options, whether in Midtown, the rest of New York City and suburbs or worse, other areas outside the region, are available. To overcome this potentially mortal blow to the financial district, the transportation system must entice back those who have left, overcoming the system’s weaknesses that existed before 9-11.

Jeffrey M. Zupan is senior fellow for transportation at Regional Plan Association, the not-for-profit research, planning and advocacy organization in the tri-state region.

Rebuilding NYC April 2003

FEMA To Stay Downtown, For Now - Apr 30, 2003

With the Federal Emergency Management Agency set to close its lower Manhattan assistance center Thursday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and others took to the streets to protest .Except FEMA officials told a different story after Tuesday's event. The office won't close on May 1, but officials expect it to close in "the next few weeks." (Newsday)

Pataki Commits to Timeline, Downtown Reactions - Apr 30, 2003
Responding to criticisms that the Lower Manhattan rebuilding efforts are proceeding too slowly, Gov. George Pataki last week released an extensive timeline of short and long-term goals, such as a new Greenmarket, which will open across the street from the World Trade Center site this summer, and the last piece Ð a Downtown link to J.F.K. Airport and the Long Island Rail Road in 2013. (Downtown Express)

Chinatown Businesses Battle SARS Fears and Rumors - Apr 30, 2003
As rumor played tug-of-war with reality last week in Chinatown, community members voiced concern that an outbreak of the SARS virusÑactual or perceivedÑcould bring further economic damage to an area already struggling with fears of the illness. (Downtown Express)

In 9/11 Memorial Competition, Rules Are Set to Be Broken - Apr 29, 2003
Officials overseeing the competition to design a memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center promised yesterday that all entries would be considered, even those that stray from the official guidelines for the placement and content of the memorial. (New York Times)

WTC Memorial Design Contest Begins - Apr 28, 2003
Anyone anywhere in the world can register for the competition to select a World Trade Center memorial, starting Monday. While the guidelines require designers to be at least age 18, teens and children can participate, provided an adult registers for them and serves as designer of record -- no design, architecture expertise or experience needed. (Newsday)

Push for Second 9/11 Memorial - Apr 27, 2003
A disturbing photo of a firefighter walking to his death on Sept. 11, 2001, is being used in a public relations blitz by a group that wants special honors at the Ground Zero memorial for uniformed workers. Posters of the photo are going up around the city today, a day before officials launch the international competition for the permanent tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center attacks. (New York Daily News)

Preserving Fulton Street's Historic Structures - Apr 28, 2003
Considering its chaotic buildings, anarchic signs and gritty facades, Fulton Street is an unlikely candidate for architectural sanctity, let alone salvation. It is, however, dense with historic structures, and its westerly verge is destined to be the home of a new Fulton Street Transit Center on Broadway. Students of the city's past see the street, and its environs, as a cornucopia of neglected architectural treasures, even though anyone who walks it will be confronted by a hodgepodge of building facades, some of which are undeniably shabby. Nevertheless, a consortium of leading preservation groups is concerned that new development could result in the obliteration of many non-landmark structures. (New York Times)

Request For Documents Exposes Terror Panel Rift - Apr 26, 2003
One member's attempt to review confidential transcripts exposed a rift Friday within the independent commission examining the Sept. 11 attacks. Tim Roemer, a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, criticized the panel's leaders for not demanding immediate and total access to documents compiled during a congressional inquiry of the terror attacks. (Associated Press)

Pataki Sketches a Timetable for Rebuilding of Ground Zero - Apr 25, 2003
Gov. George E. Pataki, promising "a renewed sense of urgency" in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, laid out a plan yesterday to complete substantial portions of the work at the World Trade Center site by the fifth anniversary of the attack of Sept. 11, 2001. By that time, Mr. Pataki said, the permanent PATH commuter station at the site and the new Fulton Transit Center two blocks to the east will open, the substructure for the memorial to the victims of the attack will be completed, allowing construction of the memorial to proceed, and the erection of steel for the 1,776-foot tower, a signature piece of Daniel Libeskind's design for the site, will be finished. (New York Times)

Pataki Pledges Direct Kennedy-Manhattan-L.I. Rail - Apr 25, 2003
Promising direct rail service from lower Manhattan to Kennedy Airport and Long Island, Gov. George Pataki Thursday laid out an ambitious schedule for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, the surrounding neighborhood and its aging transportation system. While transportation officials take the next year to select a plan to create a lower Manhattan rail connection to Kennedy Airport and Long Island -- and the next decade to build it -- fast ferry service would begin to LaGuardia Airport in 2004 and Kennedy in 2005, under the governor's plan. (Newsday)

State Bill Would Prohibit Peddlers At Ground Zero - Apr 24, 2003
Backed by Mayor Bloomberg, state lawmakers are moving to ban peddlers at Ground Zero, The Post has learned. Proposed legislation submitted by the city to state lawmakers for passage seeks to stop all vendors from peddling goods and food at Ground Zero "in recognition of the sanctity of the site." (New York Post)

Report: WTC Collapse Was Two Events - Apr 24, 2003
The twin skyscrapers of the World Trade Center collapsed because their inner cores were weakened by fire, but the south tower's destruction had no direct bearing on the later fall of the north tower, an engineering firm's study says. The analysis, made public on Wednesday, was conducted by Weidlinger Associates, a company hired by trade center leaseholder Larry Silverstein. (Associated Press)

Angry 9/11 Families Seek Federal Role In Memorial Plan - Apr 24, 2003
A coalition of victims? families groups is pushing the federal government to take a larger role in the September 11 memorial, driven by anger and mistrust toward the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and a desire to create a national monument. The "federal outreach" has begun already and will climax with a mid-May trip to Washington. (New York Sun)

Ground Zero Search Dog In Running For Top Canine Hero - Apr 23, 2003
Jake the black lab searched for signs of life at Ground Zero, scaling heaps of jagged rubble night after night. Now he's up for an award honoring heroic dogs. (Associated Press)

Pataki Wants Downtown Rebuilt Fast - Apr 22, 2003
Gov. George E. Pataki is expected to tell a group of business and civic leaders this week that the 1,776-foot tower that is a central part of Daniel Libeskind's design for the World Trade Center site will be one of the first construction projects to get under way there, according to people close to the rebuilding process. In an address on Thursday to the Association for a Better New York, a civic group, Pataki will lay out an aggressive schedule for construction in the first phase of the rebuilding effort, including the tower, a transportation hub joining the PATH commuter rail line and Lower Manhattan subway lines, and the memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the trade center, the people involved said. (New York Times)

Transit Hub, Rail Links Cited as Top Needs for Downtown - Apr 22, 2003
A transit hub near Ground Zero and a rail link to Kennedy Airport and Long Island are the highest rebuilding priorities for lower Manhattan's largest employers, according to two surveys released yesterday. (New York Daily News)

'After': Surviving Sept. 11 - Apr 20, 2003
Steven Brill's ''After'' is a book of great ambition. It sets out to describe America's reaction to the terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001, an event so overpowering that given a year and a half of reflection and relentless commentary it can still seem utterly amorphous. How to define the American reaction to this horror story? One way is to examine the active response of some of the people whose roles in business and government require them to engage the attack without overinterpretation. Brill chooses about 20, mainly responsible officials, insurance lawyers, developers and politicians, but also a few ordinary folks whose lives came to be defined by 9/11 and its aftermath. (New York Times)

Ferry Operator Is the Target of U.S. Inquiry - Apr 18, 2003
Federal authorities are investigating allegations that the region's leading private ferry company defrauded the federal government of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack, according to investigators involved in the case. The investigators say they are looking into whether the ferry company, New York Waterway, which has come to dominate the burgeoning New York ferry market with a fleet of 53 boats, submitted inflated bills to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for ferry services it provided to replace the commuter rail link between New Jersey and Lower Manhattan that was destroyed by the terror attack. (New York Times)

Kids Can Submit WTC Memorial Plans - Apr 18, 2003
Children and teens with memorial designs for the World Trade Center can submit them, even though the competition requires would-be entrants to be 18 or older, redevelopment officials said. Anyone under 18 can enter, provided they work with an adult willing to register with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for the young person or group of people, and serve as the designer of record. (Newsday)

Garvin Departing after Clashes With Other Rebuilding Officials - Apr 17, 2003
The director of planning at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, who personally invited Daniel Libeskind to enter the design competition for the World Trade Center site, has resigned, officials said yesterday. Mr. Garvin had clashed sharply with other participants in the rebuilding effort, including officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and representatives of Gov. George E. Pataki on the development corporation's board and staff. (New York Times)

Alex Garvin Resigns from LMDC - Apr 16, 2003
The lead planner for the agency overseeing the rebuilding of Ground Zero abruptly quit this week, just as the group hammers out a contract with a key architect. Alexander Garvin, chief planner for the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., stepped down Monday. He had given notice only last week, sources said. (New York Daily News)

Libeskind Signals Flexibility in Memorial Process - Apr 16, 2003
Daniel Libeskind now seems willing to allow the kind of changes to his design for the World Trade Center site that he was unwilling to consider a few weeks ago. At a Community Board 1 meeting April 14, Libeskind said designers of the memorial for the victims of the Sept. 11 attack would be free to build pedestrian bridges over the 4.7-acre sunken memorial area he proposes in the design. "One competitor might envision 1,000 bridges," the architect said at the forum. (Downtown Express)

Relatives' Lawyers Ask Court to Rule Sept. 11 Fund Unfair - Apr 15, 2003
Lawyers representing the relatives of 10 World Trade Center victims asked a federal court yesterday to rule that the fund created to compensate families was unfair, arbitrary and tilted against those with high incomes, threatening to shortchange surviving families by hundreds of millions of dollars or more. After an all-day session of impassioned arguments by the families' lawyers, followed by rebuttal from a senior official with the Department of Justice, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court for the Southern District said he needed more time to weigh the evidence. But he promised to rule by early May. (New York Times)

Doctoroff: City, Not Port Authority Is Best for Ground Zero - Apr 15, 2003
In City Hall's latest push for control of Ground Zero, a top official said yesterday that the Port Authority's ownership of the disaster site could stunt the overall redevelopment of downtown. Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff said the bistate agency is driven by "economic considerations" that would require it to rebuild as much office and retail space on the 16-acre disaster site as the market demands. However, if the city takes control of Ground Zero through a complicated land-swap deal with the Port Authority, Doctoroff said, city officials "would not care" if that commercial space is placed on the disaster site or spread elsewhere in lower Manhattan. (New York Daily News)

September 11 Compensation: The Impossibility of Making Whole - Apr 14, 2003
In the desperate days after the collapse of the World Trade Centre and the attack on the Pentagon, America's Congress enacted an emergency compensation plan. This would not only recompense victims of the attacks but also spare America's airlines litigation costs, likely far to exceed their insurance cover. The price tag is not yet known, but it will certainly run to billions of dollars. However, the plan has already raised many questions about how to compensate victims of such attacks. On April 14th it will be challenged in a federal court in lower Manhattan, not far from where the twin towers stood. (Economist)

Craftspeople Recreating Art Deco Verizon Building - Apr 14, 2003
Stone carvers and metalworkers are healing the gaping wounds in the Verizon building, at 140 West Street. The building was battered by not one, but three, of its neighbors at ground zero: the north and south towers of the World Trade Center and 7 World Trade Center, which collapsed next door. (New York Times)

Port Authority Sued For $20M - Apr 13, 2003
Michael Kenny, the city commissioner who oversaw cleanup at the World Trade Center site, filed a $20 million federal lawsuit Friday, charging that Port Authority Police officers beat him up when he tried to prevent them from making an unauthorized visit there. (Newsday)

Development Corporation Announces Memorial Jury, Calls for Victims to Be Honored Equally - Apr 11, 2003
Officials overseeing the creation of a memorial to victims of the World Trade Center attack rebuffed a request yesterday from a group of New York City firefighters for separate recognition of uniformed rescue workers on the memorial. The development corporation also announced the selection yesterday of a 13-member jury to judge the competition. The jury, which includes prominent artists, architects, scholars, a woman whose husband was killed and a downtown resident and business owner, will choose a design in late October or early November, officials said. (New York Times)

The 9/11 Killer; The Public Hearings On 9/11; Moynihan On Government Secrecy

The 9/11 Killer

It was the kind of violent crime spree that many New Yorkers thought was a thing of the past: over seven weeks, in Brooklyn and Queens, four men were killed and another seriously wounded by a lone gunman.  All the murdered men had been hard-working shopkeepers, holding down tough jobs on the night shift -- one at a laundry, another at a deli, two at small grocery stores. All were family men and immigrants -- from Russia, Guyana, India, and Yemen.  Photos of grieving family members filled the newspapers, along with murky photos of the killer, wearing a baseball cap.  The fact that the killer took little or no money simply added senselessness to the brutality of the crimes.

Now the police have a suspect, a 30-year-old Brooklyn man, Larme Price, who walked into the 77th Precinct station house in Brooklyn on a Friday night, offering to help find the killer. The following day Detective Tony Viggiani, a seasoned hostage negotiator, called him on his cell phone, asking for help. According to the New York Times, Price broke down, saying "I'm the guy you're looking for." Detective Viggiani kept talking while he and another detective jumped in a car and drove to the apartment on Eastern Parkway where Price's parents lived.  Still on the phone, Price said that he had killed the four men in revenge for the World Trade Center attacks on September 11. He was looking for men of "Arabic descent." As it turns out, only one of the four was of Middle Eastern extraction.

This tragically nonsensical story seemed to deepen as his mother, Leatha Price, said her son had a history of drug abuse and mental health problems, exacerbated by September 11.  The family's ongoing attempts to get him treatment were rebuffed repeatedly. On March 9, 2003, he had been seen and released by Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center.  On March 10, say police, he killed Albert Kotlyar, who had asked him to leave the Laundry King Superstore in Bedford-Stuyvesant since he was not doing any wash. Price told police he had been disrespected.

Price had eight prior arrests going back to 1989 for burglary, robbery, and assault.  He has been charged with four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

The Daily News pointed out that this is simply the latest in a long series of cases to raise questions about whether hospitals are properly handling dangerous, mentally ill people. Andrew Goldstein, for example, was shuffled through at least six mental health facilities before he pushed Kendra Webdale to her death in front of a subway train in 1999, the News recalled.  Larry Hogue, the Wild Man of 96th Street, was finally institutionalized in 1997 after his one-man reign of terror on the Upper West Side.

When asked about Price, Roger Klingman, a spokesman for the state Office of Mental Health, said, "We are aware of the story, and we are looking into it."


New Yorkers are finally getting their hearings. Nearly 19 months after the bombing of the World Trade Center, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks began public hearings downtown on March 31.  As the New York Times had pointed out on the first anniversary of 9/11, the government's failure to investigate was unprecedented for a disaster of this magnitude.  A public inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic began the morning after the survivors arrived in New York City. "No inquiry remotely similar in scope, energy or transparency has examined the attacks of last Sept. 11," wrote the Times.  "One year later, the public knows less about the circumstances of 2,801 deaths at the foot of Manhattan in broad daylight than people in 1912 knew within weeks about the Titanic, which sank in the middle of the ocean in the dead of night."

Similarly, the Warren Commission felt compelled to report its findings by the first anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.  Serious investigations were conducted into the military failure at Pearl Harbor in 1941, the explosion that destroyed the Challenger space shuttle, and airline disasters, such as the 1996 downing of the TWA Flight 800.

The Bush administration successfully blocked congressional hearings on 9/11 for six months, and repelled calls for a special commission of inquiry. While congressional hearings were eventually held behind closed doors, the promised public hearings were postponed time and again.  Now they have begun at the Custom House, with public testimony that includes bitter but cogent censure of the government's ineptitude in the face of the many warnings it received that a violent attack was coming.

Mindy Kleinberg, for example, who lost her 39-year-old husband, asked, "Where was our government, its agencies, and institutions prior to and on the morning of September 11th?" She cited the cliché that intelligence agencies have to be right 100 percent of the time and the terrorists only have to get lucky once. But this is wrong on its face, she argued, because the 9/11 terrorists were not just lucky once: they were lucky over and over again. Her most startling accusation in her list of government blunders was that the Securities and Exchange Commission and American intelligence agencies failed to investigate the huge number of put options that were bought on American and United Airlines, the two airlines involved in the attacks, in the week before the attack. Speculators, who were gambling that in the short term the stock prices of both airlines would plummet, netted a profit of at least $5 million. The money remains unclaimed in the Chicago Exchange account. Why, she asks, were these aberrant trades not discovered prior to 9/11? Who placed these trades? Have they been investigated?

Mary Fetchet, another witness, lost her 24-year-old son Brad, who worked as an equity trader on the 89th floor of Tower 2.  He called his father after the attack on tower one, shaken, but said that the Port Authority had told them to stay put in their office, "that the building is safe and secure."  She notes that Rick Rescorla, Director of Security for Morgan Stanley told their employees to leave the building - to disregard the Port Authority's commands to evacuees to "return up to their offices." What were the failures, she asks, and who is accountable?

Brian Jenkins of the Rand Corporation argued that we have to "accept that we will live with some level of risk for years." Terrorists are planning further attacks, and the government cannot eliminate all sources of terrorist danger.  But because intelligence is the first line of defense against terrorism, the New York Police Department in particular should be rebuilding its institutional intelligence capabilities. He argues that the rules put in place in the mid-1970s to correct the abuses of the 1960s impaired collection of intelligence by the early 1980s.  By the 1990s, there was increased concern about terrorism, but police "collection capabilities remained low." Building more effective local intelligence-collection might be better than creating another federal entity since "local police know their territory" and local forces better reflect local populations.

Noting that New York had received only $11 million of the $556 million allocated for homeland security, Mayor Bloomberg urged that funds be distributed according to risk and threat analysis.  If we distributed money for the military in the same way domestic security money has been allocated, said the mayor, "our troops in Iraq would have bows and arrows."

The commission was surprised by the low turnout of 60 or so people, which was far smaller than the 250 or more anticipated.  But then the commission did not make it easy for people to come.  Audience members were told to arrive at least 60 minutes before the start of the hearings, and that seating would be on a first-come, first-served basis.  Members of the press, who were required to register three days in advance, were told to arrive at least 90 minutes early.


Even as public hearings on terrorism finally began, New York's most relentless opponent of government secrecy, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

In Secrecy: The American Experience, he wrote that "government secrecy in its essence" produced its own pathology: "Departments and agencies hoard information, and the government becomes a kind of market. Secrets become organizational assets, never to be shared save in exchange for another organization's assets. Sometimes the exchange is in kind: I exchange my secret for your secret. Sometimes the exchange resembles barter: I trade my willingness to share certain secrets for your help in accomplishing my purposes. But whatever the coinage, the system costs can be enormous. In the void created by absent or withheld information, decisions are either made poorly or not made at all."  This, of course, describes precisely the bureaucratic rivalries among the many agencies charged with protecting New York.

Julia Vitullo-Martin, a long-time editor and writer on urban affairs, is the former director of the Citizens Jury Project at the Vera Institute of Justice. She is now writing a book entitled The Conscience of the American Jury.

The Lessons To Be Learned

terror-afterThis has been a terrible week filled with horrific images. We have had to explain to our children things that are incomprehensible to us. The days ahead will continue to be filled with pain as we learn about the losses of friends, relatives and acquaintances. I am concerned about what follows then. It has been said on broadcast after broadcast that American life will never be the same again. Rather than waiting for the changes to happen to us, perhaps wehave an opportunity to choose the changes we would like to occur.

I am an educator, so I will talk about the schools. We have a moment in which we can choose the values we want our children to learn in their classes. Amid reports of Arab citizens or visitors being harassed, I would like my children taught about tolerance and the strength that diversity brings.

In a time when our television screens are filled with stories of heroic volunteerism, I would like my children to learn about altruism, and the responsibility of service. This is a good time for schools to add vitality to service requirements that have grown dusty and disconnected, to make service not simply an extracurricular activity but an active part of the curriculum.

In an age in which voting rates and participation in civic life has declined, I would like my daughters to learn about community. Never have there been more vivid demonstrations of the meaning of community than we are seeing on our television screens today. Schools have the opportunity to take that experience and translate into an education which helps students learn the ways and meanings of civic participation, the power of and the mechanisms for dissent, and the manner in which individuals and groups can constructively change our community.

In an era in which America is inextricably interconnected with the rest of the world, as September 11 painfully showed us, I would like my children to learn about the world in a manner we have never before accomplished. The canon of literature our children read should be expanded beyond western writings to include global works, not because this is politically correct, but because it is essential. For example, I can no longer imagine a great books curriculum that does not include the Koran. This is a work that has had a profound influence on our country; in fact, on every presidency since Jimmy Carter. It would be good to teach more about other nations, their languages, and the meaning of a global society. It would be practical to have our children spend time in other countries and to make a concerted effort to invite foreign students and teachers to this country -- even when there may be pressure to do exactly the opposite in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster.

In our schools and even more so in our homes, the real challenge will be not to match the values with our words, but with our deeds. If there is any inconsistency, our words teach children the ideal and our deeds teach them how much one can safely ignore the ideal.

Arthur Levine is president of Teachers College, in Columbia University.


Issues and Challenges


The events of this last week have forced government to focus on the urgent tasks of relief and the search for victims of September 11.

As things begin to get back to normal, however, government faces the new issues and challenges of planning for reconstruction. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has already asked displaced businesses what the city can do to help them rebuild and relocate in Manhattan. The Mayor and City Council Speaker announced plans to form a special commission responsible for rebuilding in lower Manhattan. The new commission could manage $40 billion in federal relief funds, and could have bonding authority that would allow it to finance reconstruction efforts, though this authority would have to be conferred by the state legislature.

The issues to be faced by the new mayor and city council are profound and have implications beyond lower Manhattan. They will affect the future of the city, the metropolitan region and cities throughout the country. Those charged with planning for reconstruction will have to balance concerns about public safety with the need to protect New York City's vibrant and open street life, great social diversity, mobility and access to public places.

  • Concentration or sprawl? New York City is one of the most densely populated cities in the country and Wall Street has a very dense daytime population. Federal policy for the last half century has favored low density, sprawled suburban development by subsidizing the interstate highway program and guaranteeing mortgage financing for single-family homes. The interstate highway program was originally named the Defense Highway system and one of its explicit purposes was to disperse the U.S. population and industry and make them less vulnerable to attack from abroad. In recent years over 15 states have passed "Smart Growth" legislation to encourage greater concentration, recognizing the economic, environmental and public health problems due to auto-dependency and suburban sprawl. Congress and the White House seemed to be moving towards greater support for such efforts. Will they now see an attempt by New York City to retain its higher density as foolish, unsafe, and unworthy of support? Will September 11 kick off a new anti-urban wave in Washington?

    Within New York City, the question may well arise about the wisdom of rebuilding on the World Trade Center site. Should federal, state and city governments invest extremely large sums to restore the infrastructure and density at the southern tip of Manhattan when the limited resources could have a greater impact and satisfy greater needs elsewhere? Would this be the most efficient and equitable solution given the enormous deficits in public expenditures throughout the city? Would it not make more sense to create public open spaces and low density mixed-use buildings on the World Trade Center site? A greater mixture of commercial and residential uses could further diversify lower Manhattan, which is still primarily a ghost town after business hours. Could development rights and opportunities for displaced businesses be created elsewhere in the city where they can stimulate and reinforce growing business districts - in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens or Staten Island?

  • Auto access to downtown. Given the greater potential security problems that come with large numbers of private automobiles in Manhattan, city government has an excellent opportunity to promote alternative means of transportation. This makes sense for security purposes, but it will also ease Manhattan's chronic traffic mess, improve the environment, and keep people coming to the city. Measures that have been proposed by city planners for years but which now should be put back on the planning agenda include: 1) putting tolls on the East River bridges and using congestion pricing; 2) severely limiting on-street and off-street parking by revising parking requirements and increasing parking fees; 3) restricting times for daily deliveries by trucks; and 4) creating more auto-free zones. Limiting auto access would create opportunities to improve the infrastructure for mass transit, pedestrians and bicycles, which together move millions more people every day than do autos. Will the city work more closely with the MTA to expand bus service and create exclusive rights-of-way (and bus stops) for buses so they can operate on schedule? Will support grow for the Second Avenue subway line and extension of the #7 line to the west side of Manhattan? Will the city now widen more sidewalks, improve crosswalks, and slow vehicular traffic in areas with large pedestrian volumes? Will it make biking to work less risky for the tens of thousands who currently use this superb clean-air travel mode, and encourage more bike commuters by building safe bicycle ways and parking throughout the city?
  • Public places. New York City's streets are the backbone of its exciting network of public places. How can the vitality of its streets, parks and open spaces be preserved? Whereas limiting auto use can create a more secure environment, limiting access to public spaces by pedestrians can create dangerous and insecure places. No one likes an abandoned street or park. In the past, government's most important partners in making vibrant public places have been people who live and work in the city's neighborhoods. From block associations to business improvement districts, there is a vast network of civic and neighborhood groups concerned with issues of access, transportation and auto use. They know where the dangers are. Will the city work with these groups to improve public places? Or will the new security concerns lead to changes dictated by security-minded engineers that make public places desolate and uninviting, and ultimately more dangerous?

In facing these questions, there will be a strong draw toward technological fixes for the security problem: more sophisticated surveillance of public places by video cameras, more metal detectors, more barriers. By themselves, these do not make public places safer. One of the greatest assets of New York City, the advantage it enjoys over the sprawl and malls in the suburbs, is its rich, diverse and open environment. This is what has made it attractive to businesses, residents and tourists from all over the world. Ultimately it's the people, both in the business districts and the neighborhoods, that will guarantee a safe and livable environment. One would hope that the city's new commission and administration will work with all citizen groups as well as businesses to engage the public in an eminently public endeavor. Destruction of our great public life would be a second major blow to the open society.

Tom Angotti is a professor of urban affairs and planning at Hunter College and co-chair of Planners Network.

Spread The Wealth To The Boroughs

By Chris Owens

Embedded in this tragedy is an opportunity to "re-plan" New York City. I don't pretend to be an expert, but here are my thoughts:

1. We must disperse the "centers of intelligence" and "centers of business". While this may go against the trends of history, we must keep in mind that (a) terrorism is likely to occur again in New York City, (b) a natural disaster such as an earthquake is likely within the next 25 years, (c) modern technology allows distance to exist between "hubs" and should be exploited. In order to support this, our electrical power grid, our telephone grids and our transportation grids need to be reevaluated and potentially restructured so that damage to one part of New York City does not guarantee disaster for all. While some may say that this is the case now, I point to the fact that key businesses came to a halt, that the closure of bridges and tunnels and highways after this incident isolated many from their jobs (who were not in the Wall Street area), etc.

2. Other geographic areas of New York City warrant development. The "outer boroughs" have room for large businesses to expand - particularly upwards - and provide economic opportunities and a better quality of life for all. Accordingly, the transportation infrastructure should reflect this as well. It should be easy for Connecticut commuters to come to Queens and eastern areas of Brooklyn as well as the Bronx. It should be easy for NJ commuters to access Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Where we have built cities of public housing to warehouse the poor we can also build midsize buildings to provide jobs and spur educational excellence (which, unfortunately, would also increase rents and housing prices ...)

3. The current World Trade Center site should become an expanded ferryport, conference center and park with a fitting, large memorial museum. Americans need to have access to every horrible aspect of this event to remind us and future generations just as we support the Holocaust museums and memorials. It would be both shameful and dangerous to simply "rebuild the Trade Center".

Chris Owens is president of the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History

Urban Life Will Change

by Peter Marcuse

We are all of course trying to come to grips with what the events of Tuesday mean, and will mean. It has been a terrible disaster, and the immediate loss of life is incredible.

But I think it will have a major long-term impact on life here, morally, economically, politically, urban life --- all for the worse There will be major impacts on New York City in particular, and perhaps high-density big cities generally, in the direction of decentralization and further divisions and walls. I would guess a reduction in personal travel, more emphasis on electronic communication. Employment patterns will change; hyper-concentrations of jobs in service-center-oriented office buildings (and both the high and the low-paying jobs associated with them) will shrink. The benefits of the agglomeration economies that have accounted for the strength of select financial centers will be counter-balanced by new political considerations. I suspect the global status of at least New York City but perhaps other global cities will change, as multinational businesses change their spatial strategies in the search for security in more outlying areas. The focus will initially be within the same metropolitan regions (which is what American Express and Lehman Brothers have done), but over time will lead to wider dispersal to other regions or urban enclaves. The construction of glamorous ever-higher trophy skyscrapers will stop; the towers in Kuala Lumpur and Frankfurt have already felt the threat, closing and evacuating the day after the World Trade Center collapse, and workers in the Empire State building are afraid to go up to their offices.

The social consequence will be to exacerbate polarization, with those able to move where they live or work out of town doing so, those unable to do so remaining behind. The difference between the two groups will be both income and race related. The polarization will be both between city and suburb and within the city, with the focus of upper-income disproportionately white households concentrating in more tightly controlled citadels and others more and more excluded and segregated, with sharper dividing lines between and among groups.

And "security" will become the justification for measures that can threaten the core of social and political life, even though one conclusion that might be drawn from what has happened is that physical measures can never provide real security in the presence of deep social, including international, differences. Despite that, surveillance will increase and the uses of public space will be more tightly controlled (Mayor Guiliani has pioneered this with his restrictions on assemblies near City Hall, and attempts to limit the use of streets for parades, in the name of security). And we may expect the almost unlimited funding that the FBI and CIA are likely to receive to result in massive invasions of privacy; Senator Trent Lott has already called publicly for a reduction in the weight given civil liberties in the interests of security. "Public space" will become less public; free access and free use will be severely limited. By contrast, controlled spaces, such as malls, will increase their attraction.

It doesn't look good.

What Can Be done at the City Level for New York City?

1. Avoid the hunker-down, fortress mentality, with police, check-points, metal detectors, limited access everywhere. Risk management suggests that the costs, in terms of everyday life, business activities, democratic conduct, must be taken into account in plans to avoid the dangers of terrorism. The quality of urban life is what brings people to cities and makes living there worth while; don't kill it.

2. Focus on improving education and economic conditions for the city's lower-income residents, as the mainstay of its population. The choice is between further exclusion, or real and steady improvement and connection with the city's mainstream economic, social, and cultural life. Exclusion, walls, separation cannot provide security; acceptance and shared fortunes can.

3. Make it clear the city is a welcoming city for all peoples, that we do not confuse culture with cause, that we are and will remain an international city and a multicultural city; brag about it.

4. Economic development policy must continue to be concerned with the needs of major transnational corporations, but attention must increase to the needs of smaller-scale businesses (local as well as nationally and internationally-oriented) that draw on the unique skills and talents of the city's actual residents, including creativity, imagination, hard work, and social commitment. The weight of subsidies should go to such locally-based activities.

5. Cultural work - artistic, literary, inventive, scientific, media, research, educational - should be supported as the motor of the city's economic and social life.

6. The attack will cause a major shift in private market real estate prices in downtown Manhattan and in office clusters throughout the city. Watch developments closely, and if excess profits are being made, if speculation threatens stable business activities, consider forms of control, from commercial rent regulation to speculation taxes on real estate profits to planning policies channeling growth.

7. Maintain mixes of uses and occupancy and building types, avoiding homogeneous concentrations of activities either at the high or low end of the economic ladder; avoid both attempting to maintain citadels and permitting ghettos, and encourage contact across social and physical dividing lines in the city.

8. Invest heavily in mass transit. The inevitable move of businesses from within to outside the city, with the attendant pressure for easier commuting, should be resisted - balanced against - the facility of moving about the city itself free of congestion, making staying in the city more efficient as well as providing environmental and tax benefits.

9. Make security for travelers and visitors as hassle-free as possible. Consider decentralizing airport check-in and security clearance to convenient multiple central locations, with direct secure transportation to flights. Make access to airports simple and clear, including direct access by mass transit. Make international visitors feel welcome once they have cleared security.

10. Lobby for state and national legislation preventing fiscal competition among cities to attract businesses (a zero-sum game for cities, a transfer of wealth from public to private hands), akin perhaps to the European Union's anti-subsidy rules.

11. Rebuild the twin towers? Certainly not as it was (it couldn't be marketed anyway), or with even more beefed up security. What should be done at the site should not reflect the arrogance of power, but rather the sorrow of its history and the admission of human vulnerability, as well as the resilience of continued and vibrant life. Waiting and thought and public discussion are in any event necessary; recommendations for action after a great loss are always to let time go by and emotions settle. Planning for it should be a symbol of the very democratic processes that terrorism puts at risk.

Peter Marcuse is a professor of urban planning at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation


My Action Plan to Unite and Rebuild New York

Some 6,000 New Yorkers are missing or dead. The jobs of 100,000 New Yorkers are at risk. And our City has gone from a projected budget surplus to predictions of multi-billion dollar deficits.

In the aftermath of this human tragedy, we must protect New Yorkers against new attacks by terrorists and confront the economic and fiscal crisis that threatens our city. We must provide safety and security and rebuild our city and economy. If we succeed, our City will be stronger than ever and well prepared to take on the challenge of fixing our schools as well.

Over the last three weeks, I've outlined my plans to improve safety and security in our city in the face of terrorist threats and rebuild our economy. Today, I am detailing my plans for seeking the type of federal assistance that is absolutely critical to this effort.

Taken together, this is a comprehensive plan to meet the crisis before us. In this time of peril, we need action not studies. We need to improve security, not just talk about it. And we need an approach to Washington that will redeem President Bush's promise to "rebuild New York City."

And we can't afford to wait until next February to start. Not when our safety is at stake. Not when with every day that passes more firms look to leave our city. Not when tens of thousands of New Yorkers employed three weeks ago face a future of uncertainty and despair.

Make no mistake. There is no precedent in the history of our city for the complex issues that we face today. But with leadership, we can overcome these challenges and turn this crisis into opportunity.

Here's my plan:

To Protect New Yorkers Against Terrorism

  • Increase police presence and electronic and human surveillance of public transportation. Strictly prohibit unauthorized personnel from schools. Require checks or random searches of large bags in museums, stadiums and theatres.
  • Improve security for electric grids, bridges and tunnels, the water supply, waterways and the harbor.
  • Increase personnel assigned to counter-terrorism and designate a coordinator of all anti-terrorism efforts in the NYPD.
  • Create a regional security working group to share intelligence.
  • Improve investigation and prosecution of money laundering.
  • Implement restrictions on trucks and automobiles in certain areas that could be the subject of terrorist threats.

To Rebuild Lower Manhattan

  • Create a City-State, private-public, business-labor authority to develop a comprehensive economic revitalization plan. This new super agency, the New York City Emergency Redevelopment Authority (NYC-ERA), would be accountable to the Mayor and Governor and empowered by the State Legislature to quickly, efficiently move the revitalization effort forward.
  • Immediately begin to provide temporary space for displaced firms and tax incentives and low cost financing for firms willing to stay and rebuild.
  • Work with Washington and Albany to designate Lower Manhattan a "new kind" of empowerment zone, providing as-of-right benefits to firms that remain or relocate to the area.

To Use Federal Aid to Rebuild the City Economy

  • Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment to fully assess not just the cost of recovery and clean up, but assistance for businesses and workers displaced, aid for victims and families, special assistance for firms and workers affected by tourism and air transportation job losses, repair costs, additional security costs and a comprehensive economic stimulus program.
  • Win additional emergency funding from the federal government and make New York's recovery a priority as federal agencies make discretionary grant decisions including:
    • Justice Department funding for crime control and Police Department anti-terrorism initiatives
    • Education Department funding for class size reduction and professional development
    • Transportation funding for economic stimulus projects like the Second Avenue Subway and the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel
    • Targeted Economic Development Administration funding for Lower Manhattan and other neighborhoods directly affected by the World Trade Center disaster
    • HUD funding for new housing initiatives
    • HHS funding create a seamless transition from federal welfare to State safety net programs
    • Labor Department funding for job training, workforce development and assistance to unemployed and dislocated workers


The number one goal of any mayor has always been public safety because without it not much else counts or works. That goal is now even more vital as the fact and threat of terrorism rises.

It's desirable and inevitable that officials review security measures in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack to better protect our City in the future. As one who both believes that safety and security must be our top priority and who's been a life-long civil libertarian, I know that our city can have both civil order and civil rights, that we can be more secure without sacrificing our liberties.

Terrorism is a crime. And the NYPD has clearly and unequivocally proven that the police can have a powerful impact on crime with the right strategies. In the last decade of the 20th century, New York City confronted a crime crisis that spread fear and despair throughout our neighborhoods. Many thought that violent street crime had become a permanent part of this City. Under the leadership of Mayor Giuliani and Commissioner Bratton, the NYPD proved those skeptics wrong and restored a sense of safety that this City had not enjoyed for over thirty years.

In the first decade of this century we face another crisis, a crisis that also fosters fear and, if unchecked, despair. But if we are willing to engage in the same bold thinking that led to the reduction of violent crime, we can check the forces that would deprive us of our security.

Due to the innovative leadership of the Mayor and Jerry Hauer -- as the City's first head of the Office of Emergency Management -- New York was already better prepared than any other city to deal with the crisis that we now confront. But we need to do more. While no one can have definitive answers yet, it is clear that there are a

series of areas that we need to consider as we begin the task of re-orienting our police and emergency services in light of the threat of increased terrorism.

The singular theme that ties together all of these efforts -- "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

Increasing Public Safety

Any plan to respond to terrorism must begin with efforts to increase the security of the public. We need to increase security at venues where the public has traditionally enjoyed unfettered access including subways and subway stations, railroads, major terminals, buses, stadiums, cultural institutions, schools, libraries and hospitals.

Increased security will require increased electronic and human surveillance of public transportation, more police presence, and the strict prohibition of unauthorized personnel from schools. Required checks or random searches of large bags in museums, stadiums and theatres, while inconvenient, may become necessary.

Additional security will also be necessary for electric grids, bridges and tunnels, the water supply, waterways and the harbor. Obviously, the FAA must reappraise and strengthen the lax system of airport screening.

The Police Commissioner must also consider and implement restrictions on trucks and automobiles in certain areas that could be the subject of terr orist threats.

Police Operations The NYPD will have to enhance its focus on counter-terrorism. Commissioner Kerik has already announced that more resources will be devoted to this effort. We need to build on this important and laudable first step. A new position should be created inside the NYPD to direct and coordinate anti-terrorism efforts. This position must have sufficient authority and resources to maximize the intelligence gathering capacity of the NYPD and the follow-up investigations that will be necessary. Additionally, the NYPD must make sure that information is shared with other relevant authorities and that all activities are conducted with a careful eye toward civil liberties.

One way to increase the amount of intelligence that we gather is to train all police officers to be sensitive to information that may be relevant to terrorist activity and make sure that the NYPD has a mechanism to centrally gather and review the information.

Because of the myriad of governmental policing bodies in the tri-state region, we should establish a regional security-working group to coordinate and share such important information.

Moreover, we need to attack cyber-terrorism and increase funding to investigate and prosecute money laundering. Terrorist activities require financial support. Disrupting the flow of funding would be an important tool in reducing the ability of terrorist to mount their operations.


CompStat -- with accurate and timely intelligence, rapid response, effective tactics and relentless assessment and follow up -- has been a very successful management tool for the NYPD's crime fighting efforts. A similar model can be used to combat terrorism.

The scope of the attack on the World Trade Center demonstrates the need to plan for attacks and disasters of any size. The City needs to identify and prepare for new threats. Repeated and large scale, multi-agency drills will have to become the norm. We can never be too prepared or over-anticipate the scope of a disaster.


New technology will be an important tool in the fight against terrorism. Beyond establishing secure, independent and protected telecommunication capacity for our police and emergency services, we must also take advantage of emerging technologies that permit equipment to "sniff" for the presence of bomb making materials or biological elements.

Guarding Against Bias Incidents

While reducing the risk of future terrorist attacks, let's also reach out and protect communities and individuals that might be the subject of retaliation. It is important that all New Yorkers focus on who the real enemy is and not subject followers of certain religions or individuals of certain ethnicities to harassment or worse.


September 11 changed our lives forever and will require new strategies and tactics in public security and policing. But we must also hold dear the rights that we have as Americans and guard against allowing the terrorist attack to succeed in restricting them. In much the same way that we can have reduced crime while respecting constitutional protections, we can take significant steps to reduce terrorism without trampling on the Constitution.

Just as the attack on the World Trade Center compels us to rebuild Downtown, it requires that we rethink security measures drafted in a more tranquil time. I know that New York and New Yorkers will again rise to the occasion and respond with the right mix of smart, innovative policies.


State-City "Emergency Redevelopment Authority"

The criminal attack on the World Trade Center has caused both a human and economic crisis for our city. This was an attack not just on the World Trade Center but on world trade itself - an attack apparently waged by people who reject the freedom and opportunities generated by the extraordinary marketplace of human creativity, energy and ingenuity known as New York.

Terrorists attacked New York City precisely because it represents the best of our nation and the free world. Therefore, our nation and allies must not allow these criminals to terrorize our City's ability to compete in and lead the global economy in the generation to come. For when New York City comes back, it will be a victory for America and the World.

Mayor Giuliani has done an extraordinary job in leading our city in these difficult times. He has embraced a city as it grieves and led a heroic effort to rescue the victims, comfort their families and begin to return our city to normalcy. He has earned the deep gratitude of every New Yorker.

Today, I want to outline my thoughts on what our city will have to do to return to normal . . . to rebuild Lower Manhattan, our economy and our confidence.

This unprecedented attack will require unprecedented emergency efforts to rebuild Downtown and preserve its strength as a center of commerce as a residential community for thousands of New Yorkers. In recent years, the extraordinary vitality of our city and regional economy has been fueled by the so-called FIRE sector - finance, insurance and real estate. And all three components of the FIRE sector have been directly assaulted by the terrorist attack. Beyond the immeasurable human suffering there is an economic crisis, one that threatens our city with significant potential job losses, corporate flight, and reductions in tax revenue that may jeopardize our city's fiscal balance and our ability to make essential investments.

Surviving and surmounting this criminal attack with our economic strength intact will be a challenge. But if the last ten days have proven anything, it is that our City can and will respond to even the greatest challenges. Since September 11th, I've met and spoken with leaders of business and labor and elected officials at the local, state and federal level about the steps we must take to reconstruct our local economy.

Step one is a comprehensive plan for economic revitalization and a City-State, private-public, business-labor authority to execute the plan. Serious crises require serious solutions, and the City of New York cannot effectively address this crisis without massive federal and state aid and the emergency redevelopment powers that only state action can provide.

That's why I am today calling for the creation of a new State/City entity with the extraordinary powers that will be required to respond effectively to this extraordinary crisis -- one single, superagency that can transcend turf battles and cut red tape to get this job done quickly, efficiently and comprehensively.

The Mayor and the Governor should create a New York City Emergency Reconstruction Authority (NYC-ERA), empowered by the State Legislature to get projects done on time and in budget. NYC-ERA should have the power of eminent domain and the ability to override time-consuming land use rules. It should be able to contract for the best quality work and negotiate with labor and business to do so at the lowest cost. And while it should be open to the advice and recommendations of all interested parties, it must be clearly accountable to the Mayor and the Governor.

NYC-ERA must develop and implement a plan to retain those businesses that have been displaced or directly affected by the World Trade Center attack. We need to move quickly to provide interim temporary space to displaced firms, and then the City, State and Federal governments must provide tax incentives and low cost financing for public and private development for firms willing to stay and rebuild. And the City should also work with Washington and Albany to designate Lower Manhattan as a new kind of enterprise or empowerment zone, providing as-of-right benefits to firms that remain or relocate there.

The $20 billion in federal disaster relief assistance that Washington has already promised is only the beginning of what our City will need to recover from what the President has correctly called an act of war. Once the recovery and clean up is complete, we will redevelop and rebuild those blocks in and around the World Trade Center that were destroyed. We must complete on a fast track projects already in the pipeline that will generate growth for Lower Manhattan as well as pursue a series of housing, transportation and education projects that are vital to our City's economic competitiveness.

All of this will require the cooperation and assistance of many in and beyond our City, most notably the Governor and State Legislature, Congress and the President. We must transcend politics as usual. There is enough work for everyone.

Our City was targeted precisely because we are a symbol of Western freedom and prosperity, so the nation and the world look to us to rise from the ashes and prove that terrorism will fail. A City that built an Empire State Building in fourteen months during the Depression can and will renew and rebuild.


Terrorists attacked our nation on September 11th. They struck at our economic and cultural heart: New York City. They killed thousands of our most productive and creative citizens, law enforcement officials and rescue workers. They temporarily closed the City's theaters, schools, tunnels and bridges to the outside world. Terrorists attacked New York City precisely because we represent the best of our nation and the free world.

For our nation to heal, we must not only provide support and prayers for victims and their families, clean up and rebuild our financial district, our downtown neighborhoods, subway system and streets, but we also must restore New York City to its full glory as a vital international center for business, culture, humanities, science, medicine, and the arts.

But New York City cannot do this alone. The rescue and recovery operation at the World Trade Center, the rebuilding of vital transportation and other infrastructure, necessary assistance to victims and families, displaced businesses and displaced workers will total as much as $60 billion. But real recovery will require more. It will require unprecedented investment to rebuild stimulate our local economy.

New York needs federal funding to pursue the most aggressive building program since the Great Depression. Investment will create immediate jobs in construction. And it will create long term economic competitiveness.

Just two weeks ago, President Bush told the nation and the world, that "as a symbol of America's resolve" his Administration would "show the world that we will rebuild New York City." That pledge offers our City and all New Yorkers a unique opportunity for real partnership with Washington to remake our city as the world's capitol.

To be blunt, New York's recovery will depend on sustained and massive federal assistance.

Step 1: Conduct a Comprehensive Needs Assessment

As Mayor, I would continue the efforts of the City and State to develop a comprehensive needs assessment to use in our effort to win federal aid. We are beginning to understand some of the costs. Just cleaning up the estimated 1.2 million tons of rubble left by the destruction of the World Trade Center is expected to take up to a year and cost $7 billion.

But economic recovery will require more than just site clean up. There needs to be a bi-partisan, State-City effort to develop a plan and assess the cost of:

  • Assistance for businesses and workers displaced by the collapse of the World Trade Center;
  • Aid for victims and families;
  • Assistance for businesses and workers displaced as a result of significant downturns in tourism and air travel;
  • Infrastructure repair costs;
  • Additional security and emergency response system costs;
  • Counseling and other mental health related services;
  • Economic stimulus initiatives to retain and create new jobs.
  • Lost revenues for the City.

Step 2: Win Additional Emergency Funding from Congress

President Bush and the Congress have acted quickly to make emergency funding available to help New York handle this disaster. Using special emergency authority under the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, Congress quickly passed a law that provides $20 billion now, and promises $20 billion later to pay for disaster relief.

While New York City needs and will receive a sizeable share of this federal assistance, it will have to compete with many agencies in the federal government and many other local entities that also need emergency funds -- to strengthen our nation's intelligence and security, investigate the terrorist incidents, rebuild the Pentagon, and toughen the security at our nation's airports and ports. The $40 billion emergency funding provided by Congress is intended to support the full range of federal, state and local recovery, security and rebuilding efforts not only in New York, but also in Virginia, Pennsylvania and across the nation. Without a sustained effort, there is no guarantee that funds that should go to New York, will go to New York.

The comprehensive needs assessment will bolster the City's case for federal aid. So will a demonstration that the City and State intend to cooperate rather than squabble over the distribution of funds and that federal funds will be well spent. That's one reason that we need to create a City-State, private-public, business-labor authority New York City Emergency Redevelopment Authority (NYC-ERA), empowered by the State Legislature to get projects done on time and on budget and clearly accountable to the Mayor and Governor. All federal funding for economic revitalization in New York City should be coordinated through this new authority.

Step 3: Make New York's Recovery a Priority for Every Federal Agency

Every year, federal agencies provide billions of dollars in grants to state and local governments and to private institutions to support programs from community policing, new highways, and welfare reform measures, to arts and humanities, school construction and scientific research. Often, it is the agency head or another executive branch official, who can decide how to allocate a sizeable portion of these funds. Now more than ever, New York City must take full advantage of this funding -- especially where the federal agency has some discretion in setting its spending priorities.

As Mayor, I would seek a commitment from the White House that makes New York City a priority when it comes to the distribution of funding from federal agencies. This would not require new federal funds. It would instead require the White House to commit its full support to the City's economic recovery through the following existing grant programs:

Helping Victims and Keeping our Neighborhoods Safe: The Department of Justice has over $4 billion in grant programs to support community crime control efforts nationwide. As Mayor, I would work with the Department's Office of Victims of Crime to ensure that it continues to provide substantial assistance to victims of the World Trade Center disaster. In addition, we would ask the COPS Office to provide new levels of funding to support local anti-terrorism plans and assist the Police Department's continuing efforts at crime control in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Educating Kids: The US Department of Education moved quickly to provide $4 million to New York City to support grief and trauma counseling and other services for students and teachers in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. President Bush's proposed budget for next year includes $44.5 billion in discretionary programs at the Department of Education. These higher levels of federal funding for primary, secondary and higher education and for other educational programs will be essential for our City as New York faces its own budget shortfalls as a result of the tragedy.

Repairing Our Streets, Subways and Transportation Systems: The Department of Transportation Federal Highway Trust Fund provides over $6 billion in funding to improve transit systems and an approximately $30 billion investment in our nation's highways. Not only do we need to rebuild transit infrastructure directly affected by the attack, but we need new investments to improve the City's economic competitiveness. As Mayor, I will seek additional funding for the Second Avenue Subway and the Cross Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel.

Redeveloping the Financial District and other Affected Areas: The Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration is, according to a statement by its Director, committed to supporting New York City recovery efforts. I will ask this agency to direct a portion of its approximately $350 million grant program toward our efforts to plan and rebuild the financial district in New York, and to assist us city-wide, as communities face the economic consequences of the attack in terms of loss of business and loss of jobs.

Keeping New York Businesses in Business in New York: One of the first tasks for the New York City Economic Redevelopment Authority, which I have proposed, must be to develop and implement a plan to work with those businesses that have been displaced or directly affected by the World Trade Center attack. We do not want these businesses to move out of the City. But if they are going to stay, they will need very quickly temporary space, tax incentives, low cost financing for public and private development, and, in the case of small businesses, truly workable loans from the Small Business Administration. As Mayor, I would pledge to work with Washington and Albany to designate Lower Manhattan as a new kind of enterprise or empowerment zone, providing as-of-right benefits to firms that remain or relocate there -- and to seek the federal funding and incentive packages that are targeted to these areas.

Neighborhood Rebuilding: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Development Block Grants Program (CDBG) provides approximately $10 billion dollars in funding on an annual basis to support community development efforts nationwide. I will ask that a portion of these funds -- beyond those to which the City would ordinarily be entitled -- be directed to our neighborhood rebuilding efforts. We will also look to HUD for financial help as we work to incorporate affordable housing needs into our rebuilding plans.

Aid for New York's Families: The Department of Health and Human Services has responded quickly to the attack on our City by providing mental health and public health assistance, and a range of other help for the City and for our victims. As Mayor, I would continue to work closely with the US Department of Health and Human Services to secure all available grants for health services and family assistance. I will work especially hard -- together with HHS -- to ensure the smooth operation and full funding of New York's Safety Net program, a program that is particularly significant in light of the September 11th disaster and the ripple effects it will have on needy families throughout our City.

Getting New Yorkers Back to Work: I will seek funding from the approximately $7 billion Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration programs. These funds include a specific allocation to assist unemployed and dislocated workers -- and to get them retrained and re-employed as quickly as possible.

Supporting Arts, Science and Culture in the City: As Mayor. I'll also work to secure funding from the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities, and the National Institutes of Health for our City and for local artists, art organizations, musicians and writers because these cultural institutions have an important role to play in helping our City heal. We must also strengthen our academic institutions so that New York City continues to be a strong and important force for advancement in science, medicine, academia and the humanities. In addition, President Bush has proposed significant increases in funding for science and medical research in his FY 2002 budget proposal. New York should continue to be a hub for this scientific innovation.

Step 4: A Voice in Washington

This is a crucial time for our City. We are fortunate in New York to have exceptional representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate. They are forceful advocates for our City.

The City needs to makes its case loud and clear. Under a Green Administration, the Mayor will be the City's chief lobbyist in Congress. We'll work closely with the Congressional delegation, business and labor to mount a bipartisan and convincing campaign for federal assistance.


During the Great Depression, the partnership between Mayor LaGuardia and President Roosevelt lifted our city out of an economic crisis and built so much of the infrastructure that we see around us today.

In the 1970s, Congress's eventual willingness to provide loan guarantees to the City ultimately helped to stave off bankruptcy.

Our City again needs to again turn to Washington for help. The act of war against our nation was an act of war against our city. We already have the pledge of the President to rebuild our city. Under a Green Administration, we'll have a plan to get it done.

My Agenda to Rebuild New York

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center was a disaster of catastrophic proportions.

Although we cannot know at this time the true extent of the economic damage caused by the attack, preliminary estimates of $40 to $60 billion have been made, and they may well prove to be low.

The City provides employment for about 3.8 million people and is home to two of America's top three office districts. Wall Street is the hometown industry of lower Manhattan; the twin towers of the World Trade Center had been its crown jewels. Tuesday, September11th changed that.

Thirty-two brokerage firms had offices there. So, too, did major international banks. Thousands of productive people are gone. The loss of these lives will mark family, friends, co-workers, and indeed, all New Yorkers forever. The sudden loss of their talent, energy, productivity, and earnings has already affected our colleagues and businesses. The loss of entire fire engine, ladder and rescue teams and scores of police and emergency workers have left us all stricken.

The economy, too, has taken a shock. The initial impact destroyed 15 million square feet of office space; with the collateral damage, the lost commercial space will be closer to 25-30 million square feet. It also destroyed two of the three electrical substations and substantial telecommunications switching equipment supplying downtown. The insurance costs of this disaster will be borne by firms headquartered a long way from Manhattan, including Munich Re, Swiss Re and Lloyds. Cleaning this up is estimated to cost about $1 billion.

In the immediate aftermath, some businesses are shuttered and thousands of jobs have been lost. How long this shock lasts and the ultimate costs on the strength of our private economy and our public revenues cannot be known now. Now, the question of confidence hangs over us. Will consumers keep spending and keep the economy out of recession? Will businesses return to lower Manhattan? Will visitors come?

Restoring the nation's confidence is being urgently addressed by all levels of government. Indeed, how well the City's economy will perform will depend on international, national, and industry-specific developments, of course. But it will also depend on the City's leadership. A Mayor must engender confidence that lower Manhattan will be rebuilt quickly, and that all steps will be taken to preserve the business and talent that existed in New York City on September 11.

The task before us is enormous, and attempting to put forth a detailed plan about exactly how we will rebuild New York at this time is both presumptuous and naˆñve because it fails to recognize that the government's initial role in this process is to provide a platform for experts to identify and resolve the many and varied issues presented by this challenge and because it assumes that a candidate for Mayor can, and should, resolve all those issues.

What a candidate for Mayor can do is articulate a vision, and present the framework and process by which we identify and resolve the issues needed to be resolved to attain our goals. That is what is done here.

Shortly after Election Day in November, I will convene a blue ribbon panel to devise the framework to address the recovery, rebuilding and economic implications of the disaster and guide the rebuilding process. I will propose creating a public benefit corporation, The New York Rebuilds Corporation, with extraordinary powers to deal with this unprecedented crisis. The New York Rebuilds Corporation will be a one-stop shopping source with significant financial resources, condemnation authority, and the power to resolve all land use issues and issue all necessary permits so construction can be commenced as soon as possible.

Our goal is to ensure that New York City retains the business and talent that flourished here on the morning of September 11. To do so, we will begin construction of lost office space immediately, and complete construction and rehabilitation of at least ten million square feet of office space within two years. The office space will include both back office space, which will be used in that function indefinitely, and prime office space, some of which will be converted to back office space as new prime space is built at the World Trade Center area. We must also address longer term objectives involving aspects of the City, including its transportation system, the need to decentralize office space, infrastructure, telecommunications, energy, and safety and security concerns.

Long Term Goals

From this tragedy, we have the opportunity to fundamentally shape the future of New York City. We must address key issues.

Transportation. A portion of the proceeds available from the state and federal government should be used to improve our mass transportation system, as well as our systems for transporting goods. Given the strains the attack put on the entire region that are being shouldered primarily by New York City, the time is appropriate to pursue regional payments, such as re-instituting the commuter tax and dedicating its revenue to the transportation needs of commuters in the City. Security concerns must cause us to rethink how trucking is conducted in New York City. To reduce the need for thousands of truck trips a day into and out of the City, we must rely on rail freight more as a way to transport goods. Therefore, designing, funding, and building a rail freight tunnel should be given a high priority. This was, after all, the founding mission of the Port Authority when it was created in 1921. Other large projects deserve our renewed attention and vigor, like the Second Avenue subway, east side access for LIRR trains, and extending the #7 subway line to the west side. Innovative suggestions like extending Metro-North trains south of Grand Central Terminal to downtown, and extending the LIRR line from Flatbush under the East River should be seriously evaluated. Policies should be implemented that will further facilitate the movement of buses in Manhattan. Reducing private car traffic in Manhattan has many positive aspects, from enviro! nmental to urban planning, in addition to security. Making permanent the recent ban on single occupant passenger cars from much of Manhattan should be considered. We should also return to the City's roots as a city on a harbor with extensive ferry service.

Decentralization. While lower Manhattan must be rebuilt to have a critical mass of finance and related industries, this is an opportunity to pursue much needed development opportunities in the City outside lower Manhattan, including the other four boroughs. Therefore, incentives in the form of direct subsidies or tax abatements should be put in place to build in areas outside lower Manhattan, including the boroughs outside Manhattan. The first priority should be to identify already existing buildings that simply need to be rehabilitated and modernized to provide prime office space almost immediately. The recent re-zoning of Long Island City provides an excellent opportunity to develop and decentralize. Downtown Brookly! n, the Hub in the Bronx, and Stapleton in Staten Island are other candidates. The "Commercial Development Strategy for New York City" developed by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer's Group of 35 provides one important development strategy to follow. This time also offers us a renewed opportunity to consider developing Governor's Island in a way that is environmentally sound.

Safety and Security. The panel will address safety and security needs of the City in light of the President's declared War on Terrorism. The panel will advise on the nature and location of command and control center(s) in the event of a disaster, natural or manmade. It will consider ways to increase everybody's personal sense of security without curtailing civil liberties. It will recommend ways to improve coordination among local, state, and federal authorities. It will advise on how the NYPD and FDNY can best contribute to the safety and security of the City given the new realities of the world. It will assess potential targets ! of terrorist attacks, our water system for example, and recommend how they can be strengthened, defended, and repaired in the event of a successful attack. It will evaluate the public health system's readiness to deal with the variety of issues that may be presented to it.

Telecommunications. The panel will assess our telecommunications infrastructure and advise how it can be defended, whether it needs to be further decentralized, and whether and how redundancies can be built into it so that an attack at one point will not disable vast swaths of the system.

Energy. Power plants must also be decentralized, in part to defend them from attack. However, we must find a way to decentralize our sources of power generation and transmission lines so that they will not eviscerate or place undue burdens on particular neighborhoods.

Planning Framework

a. A blue ribbon panel, chaired by the Mayor-elect, will convene shortly after Election Day to devise a blueprint for the real estate revitalization and economic recovery of New York City.

b. The panel will be comprised of leaders in the real estate, insurance, finance, and construction industries, as well as labor leaders. It will include representatives from all affected governmental units, including the City, state, and federal governments, and the Port Authority and MTA. It will also include leaders of the businesses that were housed in the World Trade Center, as well as institutional leaders in lower Manhattan (e.g. Downtown Alliance, the New York Federal Reserve, NYSE, NASDAQ, COMEX, etc.). We would expect that private industry would be prepared to make both immediate and generational commitments to New York City during th! is process.

c. The panel's mission is to report on what will be required to rebuild and revitalize the City by February 1, 2002.

d. The Panel will consider organize into task forces to assess and resolve all issues arising from the terrorist attack and the War on Terrorism, including:

  1. Identifying businesses and industries in need of assistance, and the best means to provide that assistance as quickly as possible.
  2. Assessing the economic impact, both direct and indirect, of the attack.
  3. Assess safety and security issues.
  4. The Panel will assess the City's use of its own office space and determine whether any of it can be leased to the private sector.
  5. Build prime and back office space immediately.
  6. Assess infrastructure needs, including transportation, telecommunications, and energy.
  7. Sources and uses of funding.
  8. What the public sector can do to speed the process, and whether there are existing agencies that can be used, whether their powers need to be augmented by legislation, or whether regulations need to be modified to expedite the reconstruction, or whether new governmental entities need to be created with sufficient powers to accomplish the task at hand.
  9. Whether building code, land use, permitting or environmental laws and regulations need amending.

Rebuilding Effort

The New York Rebuilds Corporation. The NYRC will plan, guide and be responsible for issuing all necessary permits for construction and resolving all zoning and other land use issues. It will be empowered to shorten the time for environmental review. It will have broad powers of condemnation and financing.

Short Term Goals

i. Construct or rehabilitate 10 million square feet of office space within two years.

ii. Provide "one stop shopping" to obtain financing, permitting, and all other needs to develop office space outside lower Manhattan.

iii. Assist the Port Authority and long-term lessee in rebuilding WTC site so that const ruction is completed within 4 years.

iv. Assess and address the collateral damage caused by the terrorist attack (e.g. Tourism, airport related industries, theater, restaurants, cultural institutions, etc.) and devise means to address the impact on affected businesses and industries.

Financing. While the total dollar amount of the damage remains unknown, what needs to be done is not. We need to (1) repair the direct damage from the attack, (2) construct millions of square feet of office space almost immediately, and (3) remodel the City to be configured for the 21st Century. New York City, even with the help of New York State, cannot do this alone. Because we suffered the first casualties in the War against America, America will help us. The federal government has agreed to pay the costs of clearing the World Trade Center site. We will also ask that it work with the Port Authority and provide substan! tial assistance to construct the rail freight tunnel. The commuter tax should be dedicated to funding the Second Avenue subway and decentralizing and improving the mass transportation system. The City and State will shoulder principal responsibility, in conjunction with the private sector, for funding costs to build the office space that is needed immediately. The Port Authority will bear primary responsibility for rebuilding its property at the World Trade Center.

Site Recovery Commission The parties involved will be those currently involved at the site: police, fire, construction and engineering trades, the Port Authority, and the MTA. Its mission is to remove debris, stabilize the site, and prepare for construction. It will also shore up infrastructure in the area. Work to be completed within one year.

The Memorial. We will build an appropriate memorial. Its ultimate design and scope should be the product of a civic discussion involving all interested parties, including survivors, victims' families and employers, residents, and the entire City. A competition should be established for the most appropriate design and location of the memorial.

I have shown this agenda for rebuilding New York City to some leaders in the usiness community, and their response has been very positive. Our goal is to restore confidence in New York City as a global marketplace and the world's destination.

Clearly, we have a monumental task on our hands. Until now, no Mayor has ever confronted a disaster of this size. And it will require us to rethink the financing of some of our investment priorities - the most obvious example being the re-working of our housing production plan, which in part relied upon funds from the sale of the World Trade Center.

But while our city is faced with the new, urgent priority of rebuilding our city, anyone who says that this would be their only priority fails to understand the full dimensions of the job.

While it's critical to rebuild our financial center, it's equally critical to rebuild our schools. While it's essential to house the businesses and residents displaced by the events of the past few weeks, it's equally important to house the working families of New York struggling to find an adequate and affordable place to live. While it is vital that we protect ourselves against the threats of terrorism, it's equally vital that we protect our children from the everyday threats on the streets of our city with more after-school programs. The towers of the World Trade Center have crumbled, but our commitments have not, and these will all be priorities for me as Mayor.

Working together - business and labor, civic leaders and academics, and representatives from the federal, state, and city governments - we WILL rebuild New York City - and build a brighter future for working families in every borough.

A Time to Untangle Red Tape

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center has shown us unthinkable horrors and unimaginable acts of courage and heroism. It has united New Yorkers in grief and in hope. Now, New York City must clear away the rubble and look to the future.

There is a clear need for the city, the state, and the federal governments to work together with the private sector to rebuild the devastated downtown. It is crucial that we do this quickly, to show the world that New York City is back in business. This is not a time for red tape or tangled bureaucracy. This city needs leaders who know the system well and who will be able to sidestep time-consuming hassles. Experience is now more vital than ever.

On September 11, we lost more than buildings, roads, and tunnels. We lost mothers and fathers, sons, and daughters, friends and heroes. The outpouring of support for the victims of the attack has been remarkable and is a testament to the greatness of this city and of this nation.

Millions have been donated to charitable funds, and the federal government has promised to provide tens of billions more. The people have made clear their desire to help. Now, we need to make sure that the victims are able to access the wide array of funds and programs that have been set up to aid them and that the help goes to the right place. For months, I have said that, as public advocate, I will help New Yorkers gain access to the benefits that are rightfully theirs. I can think of no better example of why this is so important.

The devastation of the September 11 attacks will have a lasting impact across the city. It has touched many of us personally and left deep and lasting physical and emotional scars. It has also left the city facing an unparalleled fiscal crisis. The city's economy, already suffering from the economic downturn, has been badly shaken by these tragic events. Today, the city faces a budget shortfall of $1 billion to $4 billion.

New York City has confronted other fiscal crises before and overcome them. In the 1970s, when the city was on the verge of bankruptcy, leaders of government, unions and the private sector came together to find solutions. I am proud of the role that my husband, Victor Gotbaum, played in resolving that crisis. I have learned from his experience, though, that we can only solve extraordinary problems with extraordinary measures.

We cannot simply tinker with programs and trim costs. We need to explore more innovative solutions and, once again, build an inclusive partnership to pull them off.

One of the great success stories of the past few years has been the transformation of the downtown area into a vibrant residential neighborhood. As we look to rebuild the commercial core, we should not neglect these displaced families. We must provide them with assurances that their apartments will be safe and livable and work to rebuild the infrastructure of retail stores, transportation and local institutions that made the neighborhood what it once was and will be again.

Over the next several years, as the mayor and other officials focus on these and other pressing issues, it will become more important than ever not to lose sight of the city's continuing needs. As public advocate, I will work hard to make sure that issues such as affordable housing, health care for our children and our families, and public education are not allowed to slip through the cracks. I will make certain that this tragedy doesn't make new victims.

Betsy Gotbaum is a former New York City parks commissioner and president of the New-York Historical Society and currently a candidate for public advocate. She will face Normal Siegel in a runoff election for the Democratic nomination on Oct. 11

A Mistake In The First Place

wtcWhat value is history after September 11? Very little if it is true, as we hear so often now, that nothing for us will ever be the same again. Of course, it is true that no New Yorker alive today will ever forget the bravery of those $30,000-a-year police officers and firefighters who never flinched or gave a thought to their own safety. These working people of New York City raced into the tower to save those who earned 10, 20, and 100 times what they earned. Some acts are sanctifying, forever transforming the Earth we stand on.

And yet, on the day after the tragedy, September 12, Donald Trump said he stood ready to build the world's tallest tower on that same ground, on the site of the World Trade Center. Some things, we can safely assume, will remain the same.

We also heard for a while that because of the crisis following September 11, the present occupant had to be allowed to continue in office. Until recently, the most cited poet of September 11 has been W.H. Auden. His "September 1st, 1939" seems to contain uncanny premonitions of our disaster: "The unmentionable odor of death/Offends the September night." Perhaps, though, it might be useful to recall his equally prescient contemporary Bertolt Brecht, who wrote, "Those who lead the country into the abyss call ruling too difficult for ordinary men."

If the tragedy of September 11 can be exploited politically, to promote a sense of total rupture with our history, it can also be abused by economic interests to stimulate the need for a false continuity with the past. The aim of the terrorists, we are told, was to destroy New York's position as the Global Capital. In this, naturally, they must not succeed. To defeat them, we must rebuild downtown in a way that is greater and better than ever before. Says the mayor, the new towers must be "very large." Globalization now more than ever.

But how are these authorities able to interpret exactly what the terrorists mean? How can they be so sure of their own interpretive powers?

Ultimately, what ought to determine our civic response is not what the terrorists mean, but what we mean; not their motivations and intentions but our common interests and needs. And our understanding of the origins of the World Trade Center may help us figure out what those are, and what to do now.


Again and again it is said that New York has become the "nerve center of global capitalism." Is this true? If so, how did we get there? Is downtown, and particularly the creation of the World Trade Center, a response in concrete and travertine to the city's increasing dependence on world trade?

The truth is, postwar downtown development has been hugely subsidized by the government, relying chiefly on state power and eminent domain in order to overcome market forces.

Prior to World War I, downtown had all three elements of a Central Business District: mass transit, so that employees could get to office buildings; an upper-class residential neighborhood to provide consumers for luxury shops; and private risk capital in office buildings. After World War II, it had none of them.

The location in midtown of two great railroad terminals isolated the downtown district and threatened its survival. In 1910, the Pennsylvania Railroad built a terminal at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue. Between 1903 and 1913, the New York Central developed Grand Central Station at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. After having made a trip to midtown, commuters did not feel like making another one downtown. When leases expired, corporations and financial institutions began to move uptown. Downtown construction stopped dead. No major towers would be built there for almost half a century.

The city's real estate establishment expressed its concern in the 1920s. Their dilemma was obvious: Land owners could not move their land uptown to where the buildings and tenants had gone. How could they staunch the flow northward and get people and investment moving back downtown?

As early as 1921, the New York Times suggested moving the port of New York to Newark. Why? The port and its traffic created a clutter that depressed real estate values. So did manufacturing linked to the port.

The port had to go. More people had to come. In the 1920s, the Second Avenue Subway was planned to get more of the right people downtown. But while the Depression brought an unprecedented volume of federal funds, none came down for a Second Avenue subway. In 1941, it looked as if New York State would come through. Legislation was passed to move the port to New Jersey, create a downtown World Trade Center and establish a World Trade Center corporation headed by Winthrop Aldrich of Chase Manhattan Bank. Executive action, however, was stymied by Pearl Harbor and then World War II. National defense priorities precluded moving the nation's most vital port in wartime.


It was not until the 1950s that the political movement ripened. This time, Aldrich's nephew, Nelson Rockefeller, was governor. From Albany, he controlled appointments to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which had jurisdiction over port location. Under Nelson, the Port Authority would remove the port and build the towers, becoming the city's largest landlord. Nelson's brother, David, was chairman of the Chase Manhattan Bank and chair of the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association.

Together, the two Rockefeller brothers led the downtown urban renewal effort. Neither gave even a fleeting thought to relying on market forces or private capital to shape this second downtown. More relevant was the power of eminent domain that cleared the old Radio Row, the retail electrical district of 30,000 workers and small business people.

Beside more publicly financed office towers to irrigate parched downtown portfolios, what was the ultimate point? It was clearly expressed by the city's 1969 plan which expressed the higher real estate consciousness: "In the long run, New York does not want to retain the low skill, low wage segment of its industrial mix. The displacement of manufacturing activity in the Central Business District is the complement to the expansion of office construction which results in more intensive land use, higher investment and more jobs than the manufacturing activities they replaced."

1969 marked the city's all-time jobs peak: 3.9 million. Between 1960 and the present, the city would lose nearly three quarters of a million manufacturing jobs. It would never gain enough relatively higher-end jobs to prevent New York City from leading in income inequality, urban poverty and the number of citizens without health insurance.

Meanwhile, public subsidies sustained private real estate enterprise downtown. Billions in subsidies for the PATH train that brought commuters; billion in subsidies for rich residents who lived in Battery Park City and consumed in Tribeca. Hundreds of millions to the New York Stock Exchange and the Comex which extorted tax benefits in exchange for not moving across the river to New Jersey. Of course the deficits exacted a cost: Despite the 1990s boom, the only U.S. cities now more indebted on a per capita basis than New York are Philadelphia, which just emerged from bankruptcy, and Detroit, where grass and tree grow on tops of tall buildings.


And yet, despite globalization, despite the growing debt and rising subsidies, as late as 1993, it still looked as if the renewal of downtown had failed. The Downtown Alliance, the successor to the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, seemed finally to recognize the futility of 40 years of state planning designed to return downtown to its pre World War I glory. The next new idea: a plan based on public subsidies to convert the office core to residential space.

But then came the great Wall Street technobubble. The old megalomania quickly returned. Far from being a second-rate artificial central business district, downtown touted itself as the nerve center of world capitalism. The capital of the global economy. Still, while Wall Street bonuses broke all records, employment in finance, insurance and real estate during the bubble years of the 1990s never even came close to reaching the peak of the Koch era boom in the 1980s.

The first years of the third millennium are turning into a decade of lost illusion. The image of American invulnerability, the End of History, the New Economy and of Wall Street as the cornucopia of wealth and security for all have been shattered.

Another illusion that we could well shed is the notion of Gotham as a natural adaptation to the global ecology. If we decide to rebuild New York's economic foundations directly on the faulty fault line created by financial speculation, at least let us not pretend that history tells us we have no alternative.

Robert Fitch is a journalist and the author of The Assassination of New York


Read Rosemary Scanlon's article - The Symbol and Reality of Finance

The Symbol and Reality of Finance

wtcNew York City seems to be a place where we make advertising slogans, news broadcast, operas and plays, great restaurant meals, bagels and packets of sugar. But what we really make in New York City is money. We make it, we trade it, we store it for a fee, we loan it, we invest it, and we create new instruments for it for which we can charge a fee.

Those earnings from money, be they profits, dividends, wages or bonuses, are what fills the treasuries of our state and local government and the national government. It is the money that hires the consultants and lawyers, architects and builders, and that buys the tickets for airlines, sports events and Broadway plays. When that money moves out into the city and into the metropolitan area as wages and bonuses, this is the money that we economists would say drives the income multiplier or the job multiplier. Well over one third of all the net growth in incomes, including earned incomes and bonuses, in New York City during the 1990s boom came from one industry. That was Wall Street.

The 1969 recession was financial led, the 1989 recession was financial led and the current recession is also financial led.

The early planners of the World Trade Center recognized the key role of finance in the city. They were able to look ahead to the future and say that the dynamics of trade in the future would not be in the goods handling, the physical handling, but in the transactions, finance, and the links to commerce. So, the World Trade Center was designed to be a global center of finance and to handle the transactions of trade. It had largely fulfilled that mission.

As a place of work, the World Trade Center firmly anchored the financial functions of the city and the nation. That did not happen all at once. It took a while, for example, for the development of the World Trade Center to lead to Battery Park City. Even though we saw part of the financial world migrate to midtown Manhattan and the suburbs, the World Trade Center remained the reality and the symbol of finance. With its destruction, not only the economy of our city, but the nation and the world has been plunged into a recession.

The bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 made it clear that all businesses had to have backups, had to diversify. And firms did come back and new firms moved in. But that was not clear in the spring in 1993 as we wrestled with what the economic impact of what has happened and what would be.

Clearly New York City today has two problems in economic terms. One is what the shock waves of the terrorists' destruction of the World Trade Center will do to our economy over the next few months. Secondly, we have the long-term problem of what will happen to businesses and individuals and where they will locate.

We can assume there will be money from insurance and promised money from the federal government. That money will help us rebuild, but what has occurred today is so horrific that it 1s very difficult to think through, let alone consider how events will eventually unfold.

Whatever does happen will take place against a backdrop of 30 years of major structural change. We have seen the wave of suburban development that began in the late 1950s and the decline of manufacturing, first in the city and then in the suburbs. We have also seen the decline of the port and the ascendancy of the financing business services function.

But during the 1990s we saw the rise again of the central city as pivotal to the growth and redevelopment of the greater metropolitan area economy. We have seen proof that local policies do matter and that infrastructure is important, education is important, crime and safety are important, and tax policy as it is carried out at the city and state levels is important.

Above all, the openness of our city economy is really important. New York was what it was in the 1980s and 1990s because of that openness. Similarly, London was important but not Tokyo and not some other cities in the world that did not do as well in the 1990s.

We have also seen through the 1990s that the availability of technology is not necessarily a guarantee of its obvious results. The technology of the information and communication and computer revolution in the 1990s favored dispersal, and people could move off to Vermont or where I come from in Nova Scotia and do their work from there. But the opposite happened. We all gathered together because we wanted to work together in complexes such as the World Trade Center, we wanted to live together, wanted to move on the streets together, eat in restaurants etc. and partake in the cultural life of the city.

The attack on the World Trade Center hit at our major industry, finance. Any decisions we make about the future must clearly be to protect that industry, and, we hope, protect our open economy. Any decisions we make in the midst of our current pain will be tied again to the decisions of individuals about where they want to work.

Rosemary Scanlon of the Real Estate Institute at New York University was former deputy New York State comptroller, and chief economist for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


Environmental Aftermath


Many of the people closest to the World Trade Center relief efforts are not satisfied with how government agencies are handling the cleanup. There appear to be a lot of gaps. In particular, residents, workers and advocates have expressed concern about the lack of coordination, and the lack of information, on environmental health issues at Ground Zero and the neighborhoods around it.

"People feel like they are not getting a clear picture from the authorities," says Foster Maer, a downtown resident and member of the Warren-Murray Street Task Force. "To the extent that information is being released people are not getting it. And there is probably a lot of information not even being released."

The federal, state and city governments have hundreds of people monitoring air quality in and around the site. The United States Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring for asbestos and particulate matter in the air, and for asbestos in the dust. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is monitoring for carbon and fine particulate matter in the air. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is in on the action as well.

Yet, in the last two weeks it has become increasingly apparent that the government scientists are not looking for precisely the right thing, or, if they are, they are not releasing that information to the public.

Dr. Paul Lioy of the University of Dentistry and Medicine of New Jersey announced last week that he had found levels of lead in dust samples from around the World Trade Center disaster area that may pose a threat to the public health. At a public meeting at New York University, Dr. Lioy characterized the levels as "moderate", and said that the lead needs to be removed from homes and buildings, especially where children are likely to come across it. He advised homeowners to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for aid, and that renters approach their building managers.

At the same meeting, Dr. Jacqueline Moline of Mt. Sinai Medical Center reported that fiberglass is one of the main constituents in air and dust samples at Ground Zero. Fiberglass is a suspected carcinogen. It also causes significant irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. In a telephone interview, Carrie Loewenherz, an industrial hygienist with the New York Committee on Occupational Health, explained that NYCOSH has found fiberglass to comprise five to 95 percent of the weight of outdoor samples taken in the area, and 30 to 50 percent of indoor samples taken from a Church Street location across from the World Trade Center. Loewenherz pointed out that there are no state or federal standards for levels of fiberglass or for fiberglass cleanup. "There are guidelines [for cleanup] by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, but OSHA [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] regulates it as if it were regular, household dust."

And, in a third development, an independent study by Virginia-based toxicology firm HP Environmental has shown higher levels of asbestos in the fallout dust than previously measured. The study, which used an EPA-approved test, found that the force of the explosions shattered the asbestos into fibers so small that they slipped under the agency's radar. Scientists and public health experts are unsure about the health risk. Some argue that the smaller fibers do not possess the pine-cone shape of the larger fibers, and therefore are unlikely to scrape the lungs in the same way and lead to the same results. Others argue that the smaller fibers will more easily lodge deep in the lungs. EPA has not released any information on the smaller asbestos or HP Environmental's study.

Joel Kupferman of the New York Environmental Law & Justice Project is pressing the EPA to release information on these and other substances, including dioxins, PCBs and other toxins which may be released from burning wood, paper, plastics, vinyl-coated wiring and cable, urethane foam upholstery, vinyl floor tile, synthetic fiber carpets, or oils from old fluorescent light ballasts; and carbon monoxide and sulfur oxides, which may be released with the smoke and gases. In addition, a report from the project points out that while some scientists believe that the freon from the Trade Center's air conditioning system escaped during the initial explosions, others say that pockets of freon remain and may have converted to phosgene, also known as nerve gas.

Part of the problem in organizing an effective cleanup of the area is that the collapse of the Twin Towers seems to have created something like a new form of particulate matter, a minute dust smaller than anything regulated by EPA. There are no standards for this material, which like other fine dust and soot dries out the lungs and makes them susceptible to opportunistic organisms.


Many of the workers at Ground Zero, perhaps tricked by not seeing the fine particles in the air, do not wear gas masks or other respiratory protection. Dr. Moline of Mt. Sinai reported that there have been reports of new onset asthma and reactive airways, an asthma-like condition that arises from sudden exposures to toxic materials. In addition, she said, there have been many reports of increased irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. But nobody is enforcing federal cleanup laws on the site, which, under other circumstances, may have been listed as a federal Superfund site and subject to rigorous hazardous waste cleanup regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not performed tests whose results could compel employers to make workers use respiratory protection. Indeed, OSHA has claimed status as an advisory agency, rather than an enforcement agency. Unfortunately, the regional administrator from OSHA was unavailable to comment on the legal basis for the administration's decision.

As the science trickles in and new threats come to light, the city is left to consider what cleanup standards should be used in apartments and offices, and who should pay for it. Anecdotal evidence paints a chaotic picture of downtown: insurers tell tenants they will not cover cleanup unless levels exceed EPA levels; tenants do not trust building managers; building managers clean up the apartment but leave the balcony untouched; people have been seen sweeping dust from the roof into the air.

"At this point, the non-economic problem, and there are a host of economic problems, but the non-economic problem is that the burden of the cleanup and the assurance that it is done properly has been dumped on the private sector," says Alan Gerson, the Democratic candidate for City Council in District 1. "What we have is a process of self-certification, which is a problem in normal times. Now it is just inappropriate."

Ordinarily, asbestos cleanup is a quarantined procedure which employs plastic sheets to contain the affected area and negative air pressure to make sure nothing escapes. Workers have full-face respirators, suits that cover their whole bodies, and gloves. After the cleanup, workers take their clothes off and put them into labeled bags that are taken straight to a landfill. "The whole point is to make sure asbestos does not get disturbed and spread more widely, and to make sure the workers do not breathe it in," says Lowell Peterson, legal counsel to Local 78, the asbestos, lead and hazardous waste abatement union. "A lot of the cleanups are being done without any of those protections."

Yet, air samples taken by EPA in rooms with dust on the floors show levels above EPA's clearance standard for asbestos. Of 143 bulk samples in Lower Manhattan, 109 have had detectable asbestos, and 37 of those 109 are above EPA?s standard for defining asbestos-containing material. Of course, the other 72 also had asbestos, and even borderline levels of asbestos in dust present significant threats to health. During cleanup the asbestos is liable to get kicked up into the air and linger for days. The EPA's standard levels for asbestos were meant to address tiles and other seemingly stable materials, not dust. In the present situation, asbestos fibers are so tiny that the only way they will remain on the floor of an apartment or office is if no doors or windows are open, and no one enters the room. Whoever is cleaning up any of these rooms will be exposed to high levels.

"What we need is a coordinated, concerted cleanup effort for lower Manhattan under the auspices of a city agency or authority," says Gerson. "We need block-by-block, building-by-building certification. Like what the city is doing with the crime effort, and what it is doing with removal from Ground Zero. It is not that the city should clean every office, but the city should see to it that every apartment and rooftop is clean."

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Michael Burger writes Gotham Gazette's Environmental Topic Page.


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