Rebuilding Roundup Archive: April 2003

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Friday, April 25

On April 24, Governor George Pataki announced what he called a "bold, daring and swift" schedule for rebuilding lower Manhattan and new transportation projects downtown. Pataki pledged that the frame of architect Daniel Libeskind's 1,776-foot tower will be constructed at the World Trade Center site by September 11, 2006. When the building opens for occupants in 2008, the office of governor will be the tower's first tenant, said Pataki, whose term ends in 2006.

Pataki said that a permanent PATH station will open in 2006, while a new Fulton Transit Center will open the next year, and underground pedestrian tunnels connecting the stations will open in 2009. Fast ferry service to La Guardia Airport will begin in 2004, and to Kennedy International Airport in 2005. Within a year, the governor will decide how to connect lower Manhattan to the airports by rail, either by existing tunnels and tracks, or through a new tunnel built under the East River.

The governor also laid out plans for $50 million in short-term improvement projects in lower Manhattan. Most of these projects will be done over the next year. In the summer, a new greenmarket will open in Liberty Park Plaza, at Broadway. By September, a new high school, at 75 Broad Street, will open for 250 students. Later this fall, a new enclosed bridge over West Street will connect the World Financial Center and Battery Park City to the rest of lower Manhattan.

Friday, April 18

Alexander Garvin, the head planner for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, resigned on April 14. According to press reports, Garvin often clashed with other rebuilding officials close to Governor George Pataki, and had threatened to resign in the past. Garvin is stepping down right in the middle of negotiations between the development corporation and the Port Authority over a World Trade Center site contract for architect Daniel Libeskind.

Garvin has said that he has accomplished most of his goals for rebuilding lower Manhattan, and that he stepped down in order to focus on his work with the City Planning Commission, on the 2012 bid for the Olympics, and on teaching classes at Yale University. His deputy, Andrew Winters, is a leading candidate for the open position.

Federal investigators are looking into allegations that the ferry company New York Waterway defrauded the government by inflating the bills it submitted for ferry services after the September 11 attacks. Since 9/11, the ferry company has received millions of dollars in federal aid funds to increase service between lower Manhattan and New Jersey, because the PATH rail tunnel was destroyed in the attacks. New York Waterway issued a statement yesterday saying "we are confident that this inquiry will confirm our good work."

Friday, April 11

On April 10, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced the 13-member jury that will judge the competition for the 9/11 memorial. The jury includes a lower Manhattan resident and the wife of a 9/11 victim, as well as well-known artists, academics and architects, including Vietnam Memorial designer Maya Lin.

Despite a campaign by firefighters for a separate recognition for rescue workers, the development corporation board voted yesterday that the memorial should "honor the loss of life equally and the contributions of all without establishing any hierarchies."

During the memorial competition, the public will not be asked to comment on specific designs. Instead, jury members will meet with interested groups throughout the competition to get input on their priorities for the memorial.

The competition will officially begin on April 28, when anyone 18 or older may register to submit a design for the memorial at Registration, in which each applicant gets a number so that the first stage of the competition will be anonymous, will continue until May 29.

Then, only those who have registered will be able to submit designs, from June 9 to June 30. The members of the jury will spend late summer evaluating all of the submissions, and will select five finalists in mid-September. The finalists will then get a stipend to refine their design and build a model. There will be a public exhibition of the finalists before the jury decides on a single design in late October or early November.

Friday, April 4

On March 31, nearly 19 months after September 11, public hearings on the World Trade Center attacks began at the U.S. Customs House in lower Manhattan. The federal panel investigating the attacks, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, heard from experts and victims' family members about what happened on that day. Former New Jersey governor Thomas H. Kean, the panel chairman, said the goal of the commission was "to write an authoritative story: what happened and why it happened."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki are vying over tens of millions of dollars in federal security funds to prevent any further terrorist attacks. While Bloomberg is pressing for a formula that would give New York City 80 percent of the federal aid given to New York State, the governor is trying to keep a larger percentage for the state. "Keep in mind that the state has 4,500 state troopers," Bloomberg said on April 3. "The governor is trying to get overtime for that. We've got 38,000, almost 10 times the number, of New York City police officers."

Westfield America, the shopping mall developer that has a lease to rebuild on the World Trade Center site, has rejected Daniel Libeskind's design for the site. The plan "does not provide an acceptable framework for the redevelopment of our retail space," wrote the company in a letter to the Port Authority. "Unless we are able to quickly resolve our differences, we will be forced to take appropriate steps to protect our interests."

As the city and the Port Authority move closer to a deal swapping the land at Kennedy and LaGuardia airports for the World Trade Center site, Queens politicians are coming out against the plan. Queens State Assemblymen Barry Grodenchik and Michael Gianaris introduced a bill opposing the swap, saying it would give control over important Queens property to the authority, half of whose directors are from New Jersey. Meanwhile, New Jersey public officials reportedly want to slow down the swap talks, because they haven't been included in the discussions.

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