Rebuilding Roundup Archive: September

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Friday, September 27

This week the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation selected six teams of architects and planners to participate in a design study of the World Trade Center site and nearby areas. The six groups include world-renowned architects and designers from around the world, including England, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands, and their work includes critically praised buildings like the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Yokohama International Port Terminal in Yokohama, Japan. The teams will be given a $40,000 stipend to work on creating plans for the site and the surrounding areas, with final designs due by the end of November. After the six groups complete their design study, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and other rebuilding officials will take elements from all the designs and use them to create three potential overall site designs by the end of the year.

As the October 3 deadline approaches for lower Manhattan residents to request free cleanup of their homes from the federal government, only one quarter of those eligible have applied for help, according to federal authorities. Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, which is administering the program, say that many residents may have deemed the cleanup unnecessary or may not be aware that the program exists. While the head of the agency, Christie Whitman, has said that she is willing to postpone the deadline, she has not received a formal request from the city or from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to do so. About 20,000 apartments south of Canal, Allen and Pike Streets in Lower Manhattan are covered by the program. Residents may register by calling the E.P.A. at (877) 796-5471 or by signing on to http://www.epa.gov/wtc.

A federal judge ruled this week that three of the twenty insurers of the World Trade Center site would only need to give Larry Silverstein, who owns the lease to the World Trade Center site, insurance payments for a single terrorist attack. Silverstein has been arguing that the twin towers were subject to two separate terrorist attacks and that his insurers should compensate him for double the damages. Combined with settlements with two other insurance agencies earlier this year, five of the twenty companies insuring the World Trade Center will not be paying double damages to Silverstein. Lawsuits with the other fifteen companies are still awaiting final settlements. Friday, September 20

This week, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation picked a six-person panel that will select the members of five teams of architecture and design firms to create plans for the World Trade Center site. The group, which includes architects and urban planning professors from around the country, will make its selections by early October. So far over 300 firms from every continent except Antarctica have applied to participate in the planning and design study. By the end of the year the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will take the designs prepared by the five selected teams and shape them into three official plans. A public hearing process will then follow from the release of those plans.

While the New York Stock Exchange marked the anniversary of its first opening after the World Trade Center collapse, a new report commissioned by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation revealed that lower Manhattan will need to attract more business downtown to fully recover from the economic losses suffered after September 11. The study said that nearly half the 138,000 jobs lost after the attacks were not expected to return. Recommendations in the paper included bringing five to ten big firms, retail stores, or cultural institutions downtown and attracting new industries to diversify the economy.

Just a year after the September 11 attacks, service on the 1 and 9 subway lines was restored in lower Manhattan for the first time. The contractors, who laid more than 2,800 feet of subway track in the reconstruction efforts, earned a $3 million bonus for completing the project ahead of schedule. As a result of their efforts straphangers now have easier access to the South Ferry terminal, while commuters in the outer boroughs can now enjoy the return of the 2 and 3 express lines. The N and R Cortlandt Street station was also reopened, although the 1 and 9 Cortlandt Street stop, located directly beneath the World Trade Center, will be closed while plans for a transportation hub are finalized in the next few years. Friday, September 13

New Yorkers throughout the city marked the anniversary of the September 11 attacks this week with memorial services and moments of silence. During the city's official commemorative ceremonies, relatives of the victims arrived early in the morning at the World Trade Center site, and the names of the 2,801 victims were read aloud over the course of two and a half hours. In the evening, Mayor Michael Bloomberg lit an eternal flame in Battery Park in front of the "Sphere" memorial while New Yorkers attended memorial services in parks throughout the five boroughs. President George W. Bush concluded the day of remembrance by addressing the nation from Ellis Island, with the Statue of Liberty lit up behind him.

Apart from the official ceremonies, people around the city marked the anniversary in a variety of ways. On Broadway, theaters paid their respects by dimming their marquees for their evening shows. At Union Square, in an echo of the spontaneous memorial that appeared in the park a year ago, visitors wrote messages on pieces of paper and posted them on a giant wall. The Society for Ethical Culture on 64th Street featured musical collaborations between Arabs and Jews. And people from around the country descended on lower Manhattan, visiting memorials in Saint Paul's Chapel next to Ground Zero and lingering on the streets near the site to mark the anniversary.

Security was of paramount concern throughout the week, especially after the federal government had placed the country at "high alert" status the day before the anniversary. Authorities closed off streets downtown and in midtown, fighter jet patrols resumed over the city, and more police coverage was present at bridges and tunnels. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a press conference that the city had been on high alert for months prior to the federal government's announcement, while Governor George Pataki announced that the state would increase security measures and move to "high alert" status. The city remained on high alert through the end of the week. Wednesday, September 11

The city will mark the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks during two official commemorative ceremonies on September 11, 2002 in lower Manhattan. The morning ceremony at Ground Zero, where the names of all the September 11 victims will be read, is for families of victims only, and the lighting of the eternal flame at Battery Park in the evening is also closed to the public. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said New Yorkers can attend the official gatherings that will be held throughout the city at sunset in each of the five boroughs. The evening ceremonies begin at 7:15 at the following locations:

Bloomberg encouraged New Yorkers to pause for a moment of remembrance at 8:46 AM, the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center, and to light a candle at sunset at 7:12 PM "in memory of the 2,800 citizens of the world that were lost." The ceremonies held by the city can be seen on television. Check our hour-by-hour schedule of television coverage of September 11 for details.

Aside from the official ceremonies, there are also a wide variety of unofficial events that New Yorkers can attend. Among these are an all-night peace vigil in Washington Square Park starting the evening of September 10; a "commemorative breakfast" at the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts; a live online chat with psychologists at GothamGazette.com; a white pine tree-planting ceremony in the South Bronx; a noon-time "doll-making therapy" session at the Toy Museum in Brooklyn; and an evening concert by blues singer Joan Osborne at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Take a look at our hour-by-hour schedule of the events today marking the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, including official ceremonies, panel discussions, cultural events and memorial services.

Security around the city is at high levels, with street closings planned for downtown and more police coverage at bridges and tunnels. While the federal government put the country at "high alert" status on Tuesday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a press conference that the city has been at that status for months. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that "the abundance of caution should be comforting to everyone." Friday, September 6

To mark the one-year anniversary of September 11, there are events all over town, from official ceremonies to theater performances to candlelight vigils. For the first time since 1790, for example, the United States Congress will be convening in New York City. About 200 members of Congress are having a joint session at Federal Hall on Friday to pass a resolution expressing unity with New York City and declaring the nation's resolve against terrorism.

Gotham Gazette's Rebuilding NYC has a calendar featuring all the events for the week, plus an hour-by-hour listing of events on September 11.

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said in an interview published this week that he still sees the 16-acre site of the World Trade Center as a "cemetery" and would like all the land to be a memorial. The remark comes at a time when most victims' families groups have already acknowledged the unlikelihood of such a proposal. While other public officials agreed that the memorial should be the centerpiece of Ground Zero, none agreed that the entire site should be a memorial.

Victims' families groups do still insist that no building go on top of -- or underneath -- the two "footprints" of the twin towers, the specific areas of the ground where they were located. This week, the families won a victory this week when the Lower Manhatan Development Corporation, the agency in charge of rebuilding, and the Port Authority announced that a planned transit concourse will be rerouted so that it is not located beneath those footprints.

One year after the September 11 attacks, the reconstruction of Lower Manhattan is proceeding more quickly than anyone would have guessed a year ago, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki. At a presentation this week they announced that since September 11, 130 miles of electric cable have been replaced; nearly half a mile of gas pipe has been rebuilt; almost every street around Ground Zero has been repaved; and more than 122 buildings have been cleared of dust and debris from the collapse of the twin towers. By September 15, 11 of the 12 subway stations that were closed last year will have been reopened.


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