Gotham Gazette

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Rebuilding NYC October 2003

Difficulties Emerging in Rebuilding: An Interactive Map - Oct 30, 2003
Newsday's interactive map shows the problems and difficulties with the current WTC plan. (Newsday)

Cost and Timetable for Rebuilding Lower Manhattan In Question - Oct 30, 2003
As Gov. George Pataki prepares to make a major speech today on rebuilding the World Trade Center, he faces questions about the master plan, the cost and the timetable. The overall cost of the project seems to have risen. The source of the money remains unclear. And as Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff noted in a letter to the Port Authority released Tuesday, no clear cost estimates or schedule has been made available. (Newsday)

Mayor Fears Costs of WTC Pension Bill - Oct 30, 2003
Mayor Bloomberg is urging Gov. Pataki to reject legislation that could boost retirement payouts for thousands of emergency workers who responded to the World Trade Center attacks. In an unusually forceful letter, obtained by The News, Bloomberg suggested the measure could cost the city and state up to $260 million a year. (New York Daily News)

Trial Date Set For Silverstein's WTC Dispute - Oct 30, 2003
A tentative trial date in the multibillion dollar dispute between World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein and his insurance companies was set for February yesterday. (Newsday)

Man on List of WTC Victims Alive and Well in California - Oct 30, 2003
The only two children thought killed in the World Trade Center attack never existed - and a man who was reported to be their father is alive and well. It's a tangled yarn - and it's even more puzzling to Paul and Gail Van Velzer, who can't figure out why a woman they don't know reported Paul and two supposed sons were dead. (New York Post)

Mayor's Office Seeks More Retail Space at Ground Zero - Oct 29, 2003
After many months of playing a backstage role in planning the new World Trade Center, the Bloomberg administration stepped forward yesterday and declared that the master plan would have to include far more streetfront retail space and one more full-fledged street than it now calls for. (New York Times)

A New Account of Sept. 11 Loss, With 40 Fewer Souls to Mourn - Oct 29, 2003
After what officials call an exhaustive investigation that spanned the world, the city has removed more names from the official tally of people killed in the World Trade Center attacks. The reasons are the same as in the past: finding people once thought dead; duplication; insufficient data; fraud. In many cases, investigators could not prove a supposed victim had ever existed --a jarring concept, given that some names are embedded in the collective memory. (New York Times)

Ground Zero Workers Still Suffering Health Problems - Oct 29, 2003
One-third of Ground Zero workers are suffering serious health problems, and many face life-long illnesses, doctors told a congressional panel yesterday. But much of the money earmarked to help the firefighters, cops, construction workers and others sickened by the toxic plume at the World Trade Center site is stuck in limbo. The funds have been authorized by the federal government but not disbursed. (New York Daily News)

WTC Architects Bury Hatchet - Oct 29, 2003
The two feuding architects charged with designing the first new building at the World Trade Center site met yesterday and agreed to put aside their differences in order to come up with a final plan for the tower, a source said yesterday. (Newsday)

Silvertein Near Deal on Buyout - Oct 29, 2003
World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority appear to be close to making a buyout offer to the mortgage company that loaned Silverstein the money to lease the complex, lawyers said yesterday. (Newsday)

Changes to Libeskind's Freedom Tower - Oct 28, 2003
Daniel Libeskind's striking vision for a "Freedom Tower" at Ground Zero has morphed into a more conventional glass-and-steel office building attached to an angular spire, as shown by one of the architect's new drawings obtained by The Post. Libeskind has been pushing this revised version of his tower design in a fight with trade center developer Larry Silverstein and his architect David Childs, who is the lead architect for the site's signature building. (New York Post)

Anger Over Eviction of Lower Manhattan Middle Eastern Restaurant - Oct 27, 2003
A wealthy church is evicting a popular Middle East restaurant from a lower Manhattan building it owns in what angry diners claim is a plot to get more money from the MTA -- which is planning to buy the property to demolish it. The building housing the Alfanoose restaurant, at 150 Fulton St., will be torn down by the end of 2004 to make way for a new transportation hub, a centerpiece of lower Manhattan's post-9/11 renewal. (New York Post)

9/11 Commission Threatens To Subpoena White House Files - Oct 27, 2003
The federal commission investigating intelligence and security lapses before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks is threatening to subpoena White House records if they are not handed over voluntarily. (NY1)

Chinatown Store Founded in 1891 Succumbs to Effects of 9/11 - Oct 26, 2003
Last month the 32 Mott Street General Store, Chinatown's longest continuously operating store, became the latest victim of the economic troubles that have gripped this community since Sept. 11, 2001. City marshals came and evicted Paul Lee, who had fallen badly behind in his rent. For more than a century, Lee's family worked at the store. It is clear now that the store, long a stop on Chinatown walking tours, will not be reopening. (New York Times)

Santiago Calatrava's Work: A Clue to What's to Come at Ground Zero - Oct 26, 2003
Last summer, Santiago Calatrava was commissioned to design a $2 billion transportation hub at the World Trade Center site. For the moment, Calatrava is speaking about the project only in general terms, under the watchful eye of his client, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. But clearly he has grand ambitions for the station. "It has to feel as important as Grand Central, or the old Penn Station," he says. (New York Times)

Architects Agree to Meet to Work Out Tower Design - Oct 25, 2003
Trying to resolve their differences over the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site, the tower's architect and Daniel Libeskind, the site's master planner, agreed yesterday to work together on a design that would more closely follow the Libeskind plan. (New York Times)

Pataki Backs Libeskind in Tower Debate - Oct 24, 2003
Gov. Pataki yesterday backed Daniel Libeskind's vision for a Ground Zero Freedom Tower - weighing in on a dispute over the structure's design that threatens to stall the progress of lower Manhattan's recovery from 9/11. "I think it's very important that the vision that was enunciated for the master site plan be ultimately what is constructed at Ground Zero," Pataki said, when asked about the fight between Libeskind and David Childs, the tower's lead architect. (New York Post)

Port Authority Stays Out of Architects' Struggle - Oct 24, 2003
The Port Authority will not help resolve a clash between a pair of architects designing the signature skyscraper at Ground Zero, Executive Director Joseph Seymour said yesterday. (New York Daily News)

Marriott Ceding Property Where Hotel Stood on the World Trade Center Site - Oct 24, 2003
Yesterday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted to proceed with an agreement for the Host Marriott Corporation to cede the property where the Marriott Hotel stood, and clear the southwest edge of the 16-acre trade center site for redevelopment as a memorial. (New York Times)

Visions for Tower Clash at Trade Center Site - Oct 23, 2003
Only 10 months before groundbreaking is expected to take place for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site, the master planner of the site and the architect for the tower's developer, who are supposed to be collaborating, have reached an impasse on how the skyscraper should look. (New York Times)

Libeskind Storms Out Of WTC Meeting - Oct 23, 2003
Ground Zero master planner Daniel Libeskind stormed out of a meeting about the design of the site's Freedom Tower, threatening to break up his collaboration with the project's lead architect, David Childs. (New York Post)

Test Runs of PATH Train Stop at WTC - Oct 23, 2003
A PATH train, carrying only a conductor and an engineer, zipped under the Hudson River and eased into a bare-bones station at Ground Zero yesterday. The commuter train came to a stop at 1:42 p.m. - weeks ahead of schedule. There was no fanfare. No political speeches. But the moment foreshadowed a significant triumph in the long, hard recovery of lower Manhattan. (New York Daily News)

65,000 call for special 9/11 honors - Oct 22, 2003
A group pushing for special recognition for rescue workers at the Ground Zero memorial brought petitions signed by 65,000 people to Gov. Pataki's midtown office yesterday. Leaders of the group, Advocates for a 9/11 Fallen Heroes Memorial, said they hope that the governor will influence the 13-member panel choosing the memorial design to include separate recognition for firefighters and police officers. (New York Daily News)

Silverstein Gets Another Week To Resolve Dispute - Oct 22, 2003
World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein has another week to resolve a dispute with GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., which lent him $563 million to lease the Twin Towers site. Tuesday, Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Herman Cahn extended the negotiation period, a month after giving Silverstein and the Port Authority, which owns the trade center site, until Tuesday to settle with GMAC. (Newsday)

An Architect's Grand Vision for a Trade Center Transit Hub - Oct 22, 2003
In hiring Santiago Calatrava to design the new transit hub at the World Trade Center, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey thought large. And in his first public words about the project, Mr. Calatrava made it clear that he, too, would think large - on the scale of Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station. Old Pennsylvania Station. (New York Times)

Community Board Postpones Decision on 9/11 Street Names - Oct 22, 2003
Faced with a heart-wrenching request from family members, Community Board 1 officials decided last week to postpone any decisions on renaming area streets for Sept. 11 victims until plans for the World Trade Center memorial are announced. (Downtown Express)

Council Says Patriot Act Threatens Liberties - Oct 21, 2003
The City Council is attacking the federal Patriot Act as downright unpatriotic. A resolution backed by 29 of the 50 Council members contends the act threatens "fundamental rights and liberties." The Patriot Act, passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, granted federal agents sweeping powers to use wiretaps, conduct electronic and computer eavesdropping and access private financial data. (New York Daily News)

Many People Who Spent Months At Ground Zero Have Respiratory Ailments - Oct 21, 2003
Thousands of people who are not cops or firefighters but who toiled at ground zero are now sick, even disabled, from asthma, chronic infections, and other respiratory illnesses. These conditions, some experts maintain, were caused by the ³crud² - the mixture of dust, ash, fumes from burning plastic, pulverized concrete, and vaporized human remains around ground zero. (New York Magazine)

Libeskind Planning to Time Release of Memoir to 9/11/04 - Oct 20, 2003
World Trade Center master planner Daniel Libeskind wants to time the release of his memoir to the third anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack - and in a proposal circulated to editors suggests tying the book's promotion to other Ground Zero events. (New York Post)

PATH train WTC stop to reopen Nov. 23 - Oct 19, 2003
The PATH station at the World Trade Center site will reopen in late November, the Daily News has learned. Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman would not confirm or deny the Nov. 23 opening date. But he noted the resumption of service to the WTC site will benefit tens of thousands from New Jersey who work in lower Manhattan. (New York Daily News)

New York City to Extend Lease on Airports - Oct 16, 2003
Ending a feud that has lasted nearly a decade, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that New York City would extend its lease of La Guardia and Kennedy Airports to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey until 2050 in exchange for a $700 million upfront payment and a steep increase in annual rents. The agreement formally ended talks of a so-called land swap in which the city was to have traded the land under the two airports, which it owns, to the Port Authority in exchange for the World Trade Center site, which the authority owns. (New York Times)

Fire Dept. Drill on Bioterror Is Set for Today - Oct 15, 2003
The Fire Department will simulate its response to a bioterror attack today on Staten Island, conducting practice smallpox vaccine inoculations on every firefighter and emergency service worker in the borough. In reality, the estimated 700 emergency workers participating will get their annual flu shots, but the exercise is meant to test how quickly members could be vaccinated in the event of an outbreak. (New York Times)

Whitehead Says Liberty Bonds WonÂąt be Wasted Downtown - Oct 15, 2003
The chairperson of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. said last week that he thinks tax-free Liberty Bonds will be needed to build the proposed offices at the World Trade Center site and there are not enough bonds to cover all of the office demand in Lower Manhattan. (Downtown Express)

EPA Delays Release of Lead Tests - Oct 15, 2003
The Environmental Protection Agency says it is not ready to release its findings on the post-9/11 toxin tests the agency conducted in 250 Lower Manhattan apartments, although community members are concerned after obtaining what appears to be raw data from the tests. (Downtown Express)

Port Presents Plans for PATH Hub at W.T.C. - Oct 15, 2003
The Port Authority began the environmental review process to build a transportation hub at the World Trade Center site last week and officials said nothing less than downtownÂąs future prosperity was hanging in the balance. (Downtown Express)

Winter Garden Visitors Confused Over Plans - Oct 15, 2003
Although tourists continue to view the World Trade Center site from the Winter GardenÂąs expansive second-floor picture windows, many do not know that the memorial has not been selected yet, thinking it was already part of the selected site plan of Daniel Libeskind. (Downtown Express)

On Columbus Day, President Praises 9/11 Hero - Oct 14, 2003
President Bush marked Columbus Day yesterday by remembering New York City Fire Chief Peter Ganci, saying his death in the World Trade Center as he evacuated his men embodied the Italian-American spirit. In brief remarks at the White House, Bush said the sons and daughters of Italy "take special pride in the deep tradition of service to this country." (New York Daily News)

Libeskind Writing a Memoir - Oct 14, 2003
World Trade Center master planner Daniel Libeskind is shopping a book proposal for his memoirs - and he promises to donate a portion of the proceeds to the children of 9/11 victims. The proposal, under the working title "Foundations of Optimism," began landing on editors' desks last week. Libeskind, 57, has already started writing the book, his agent, Scott Mendel, said. (New York Post)

Critics: World Trade Center Plan Is Just Too Dense - Oct 13, 2003
If the World Trade Center master plan were subject to New York City zoning rules, critics say, the bulk of the site with its four towers on three square blocks would far exceed allowable density limits. (Newsday)

Handyman Leaves $1.4M To City - Oct 11, 2003
Come spring, plans for new ball fields will be under way and thousands more daffodils will bloom in city parks and street medians, thanks to a Minnesota handyman who left $1.4 million in life savings to the city after the Sept. ll, 2001, terrorist attacks. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said Friday that nearly $1 million of the bequest from the late Joseph Temeczko of Minneapolis, a Polish immigrant who was in his 80s and died two years ago this month, is earmarked for ballfields. (Newsday)

WTC Tower Will Now Top 2,000 Feet - Oct 10, 2003
Ground Zero's signature Freedom Tower will soar above 2,000 feet - well beyond the previously announced height of 1,776 feet - under a revised design being worked on by architect Daniel Libeskind, a rebuilding official said yesterday. (New York Post)

Memorial Finalists Selected, But Not Revealed - Oct 10, 2003
The jury picking a memorial for the World Trade Center site has selected a group of finalists from among 5,200 submissions, and the designers have been asked to begin refining their ideas. Development officials yesterday refused to discuss details of the competition and would say only that the public will see a number of designs in the "coming weeks." (New York Post)

Pataki Wants Insurance Settled So Trade Center Work Can Begin - Oct 10, 2003
Gov. George E. Pataki is attempting to forge a settlement between the developer Larry A. Silverstein and his insurers in their long-running battle over how much money will be available to rebuild the World Trade Center. With a revised master plan for the 16-acre site now in hand and a recent setback in Mr. Silverstein's legal case, downtown executives say that Governor Pataki wants the issue resolved quickly so that rebuilding can proceed without more money being squandered on lawyers. (New York Times)

Details Emerge on Post-9/11 Clash Between White House and EPA - Oct 10, 2003
Tensions between the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality over informing the public about air safety after the collapse of the World Trade Center may well have been greater than revealed in a report issued by the E.P.A.'s inspector general in August, according to newly released documents. (New York Times)

Grasso's Place on LMDC Board Questioned - Oct 10, 2003
Richard Grasso was ousted last month as the head of the New York Stock Exchange, and now his place on the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. board is in question. (Newsday)

New Campaign to Prepare Schools In Case of Terrorism - Oct 9, 2003
The Bloomberg administration is launching a new campaign to educate parents and school staffers on what to do in the case of a terrorist attack or other emergencies, The Post has learned. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein's office of school safety and planning is using $890,000 in federal funds to set up the emergency preparedness training program - including posting information on the Department of Education's Web site and producing CD-ROMs and videos. (New York Post)

Fire Commissioner Calls for Special Recognition in Memorial - Oct 9, 2003
Before a somber audience, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta repeated his call yesterday for special recognition for firefighters at the planned Ground Zero memorial. Scoppetta spoke in front of a sea of blue uniformed firefighters gathered for the annual memorial service at the Firemen's Monument on Riverside Drive at W. 100th St. (New York Daily News)

Council Introduces Downtown Pollution Reduction Bill - Oct 9, 2003
At a City Council hearing last week, the Environmental Protection Agency urged the passage of a bill that would mandate the use of clean air technology for vehicles rebuilding the World Trade Center site. Under the proposed law, construction equipment Downtown, including the WTC site, would have to use ultra low sulfur diesel fuel and special technology to reduce emissions. (Downtown Express)

WTC Firehouse Will Welcome Firefighters Back - Oct 9, 2003
The firehouse across the street from the former World Trade Center site may welcome its firefighters back by the end of this month, a member of Engine Company 10 said on Monday. (Downtown Express)

Wrangle Over Downtown Rebuild Funds - Oct 8, 2003
The chairman of the agency overseeing downtown revitalization took a shot at the Bloomberg administration in a growing feud over $2 billion in tax-free bonds earmarked for rebuilding after Sept. 11, 2001. Mayor Bloomberg wants to use the federally subsidized bonds to build office and residential buildings around the city. But last week, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. boss John Whitehead sent a memo to board members showing at least a dozen sites near Ground Zero where new office towers could be built using the tax-exempt Liberty Bonds. (New York Daily News)

What's In a Name? For the WTC, a Lot. - Oct 8, 2003
There are 93 World Trade Centers worldwide. So what bearing, if any, does this fact have on establishing the name of the trade center currently under development in downtown Manhattan? This was one of the questions raised at "Starting at Zero: Reinventing the Identity of the World Trade Center Site," a panel discussion held Sept. 24 at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York. The purpose of the event, which was sponsored by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, New York Chapter, was to reflect on the issues around the moniker of the sixteen-acre Ground Zero site; consider how the site's identity can be rebuilt; and most of all, think about how a name had the power to reflect our views of the city. (Metropolis )

U.S. Convicts 2 in 9/11 Swindle of $350,000 in Business Relief - Oct 7, 2003
A jury in Federal District Court in Manhattan has convicted two men of defrauding government and private programs and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid meant for people and businesses hurt by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. (New York Times)

WTC Legal Battle Costs Larry Silverstein $100 Million - Oct 7, 2003
Larry Silverstein has spent close to $100 million so far on the mammoth legal battle with his Twin Towers insurers - and has told officials he needs another $80 million a year to pay for lawyers and other expenses, according to court papers and other sources (New York Post)

Report Fuels Fear That City Won't Get All of Promised 9/11 Aid - Oct 6, 2003
New York officials have long worried that the city will get billions of dollars less in federal aid to rebuild Lower Manhattan than the $21.4 billion President Bush promised after the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Although the White House, Gov. George E. Pataki and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg have dismissed those concerns, a new report by the General Accounting Office is helping to increase them. (New York Times)

M.T.A. to Include 19th Century Building in Downtown Transit Hub - Oct 3, 2003
In planning the enormous Fulton Street Transit Center on Broadway, between Fulton and John Streets, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has agreed to preserve the 115-year-old Corbin Building at 11 John Street and, if it proves possible, incorporate it into the station. (New York Times)

Man Convicted of 9/11 Aid Fraud - Oct 2, 2003
A man who tried to swindle thousands of dollars out of a 9/11 aid program for lower Manhattan residents was slapped with a $2,000 fine and sentenced to community service, officials said yesterday. (New York Post)

Celebrated Architects Join WTC Team - Oct 2, 2003
"Ground Zero is set to become a Hall of Fame for the all-stars of contemporary architecture now that developer Larry Silverstein has named three of the worldÂąs most celebrated architects to design massive towers to line the perimeter of the site. London-based Lord Norman Foster, of Foster and Partners; Tokyo-based Fumihiko Maki, of Maki and Associates; and Jean Nouvel, of Ateliers Jean Nouvel in Paris will design towers ringing the memorial site planned for the southwest corner of the new World Trade Center, if Mr. Silverstein has his way," writes Tom McGeveran in the Observer. (New York Observer)

'World-Class' Architects Picked for WTC Buildings - Oct 1, 2003
World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein named a trio of renowned architects yesterday - including Lord Norman Foster, who tried for the main Twin Towers site design - to create designs for the five office buildings at Ground Zero. British architect Foster, Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki and French architect Jean Nouvel will work with Silverstein architect David Childs. (Newsday)

White House to Help Review Downtown Air Quality After 9/11 - Oct 1, 2003
The White House has agreed to work with Congress and independent environment experts to review the quality of air in lower Manhattan immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, Sen. Hillary Clinton said yesterday. The review will seek to determine whether air near Ground Zero was safe to breathe and whether toxins continue to linger in buildings near the attack site. (New York Daily News)

Retail Returns to Liberty Street - Oct 1, 2003
Just south of ground zero, Liberty St. is getting ready for its closeup. Workers hang signs and dust countertops as merchants prepare to return for the first time in more than two years to storefronts facing the former World Trade Center site. It is a bittersweet homecoming for some. (Downtown Express)

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