Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Rebuilding NYC February 2002

Century 21 and P.S. 89 Reopen - Feb 28, 2002
Century 21 -- the famed retailer of discounted designer goods -- today reopened its flagship store, just steps from the devastation of Ground Zero. Nearby businesses are hopeful that the return of Century 21 will bring more people into the area and give their establishments a boost as well. Students at P.S. 89 also returned to their classrooms for the first time since the school was evacuated the morning of Sept. 11. (Newsday)

Mayor and Governor Back Idea of Burying West Street Near Ground Zero - Feb 28, 2002
Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg strongly endorsed a proposal to bury West St. along the World Trade Center site yesterday, helping to bridge the divide between Battery Park City and the rest of lower Manhattan. Supporters said a tunnel would help make downtown a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week neighborhood — an area even more vibrant than it was before the Sept. 11 attacks. With vehicles traveling underneath, the area would be transformed into a pedestrian promenade or park. (New York Daily News)

Verizon and Con Ed May Raise Rates Due To September 11 - Feb 28, 2002
With their hopes of federal aid fading, Verizon and Consolidated Edison are warning that they may make consumers pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in losses they suffered as a result of the World Trade Center attack. For the average ratepayer, the move could mean as much as an extra $40 per year on the combined utility bills. Any rate increase would require approval from the state's Public Service Commission. (New York Times)

Tribute of Light Approved for 6-Month Anniversary - Feb 28, 2002
Beams of light evoking the bases of the twin towers will soon soar near Ground Zero in a temporary memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, officials said yesterday. "It would appear that it will be built," Mayor Bloomberg said, hours after meeting with members of victims' family groups. The "Tribute of Light," will consist of two 50-foot squares of light, Bloomberg and others said. It will be illuminated from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. beginning March 11 — the six-month anniversary of the attacks — through April 13. The squares will rise above an empty lot at Vesey and West Sts. in Battery Park City. (New York Daily News)

Downtown Coalition Presents Rebuilding Recommendations - Feb 27, 2002
Rebuild Downtown Our Town, R.DOT for short, yesterday presented its initial recommendations for the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. The coalition of Lower Manhattan residents, businesses and professionals, advocates a mixed-use, mixed-income district, with connections to local and regional transportation and state-of-the-art communications systems. In many respects, its proposals are similar to those previously made by New York New Visions, a coalition of architects, planners and designers. (Gotham Gazette)

Bloomberg and Pataki Say Rebuilding of Downtown Should Wait for Overall Plan - Feb 27, 2002
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki suggested yesterday that a Manhattan developer should not go ahead with construction at 7 World Trade Center until completion of an overall development plan for Lower Manhattan. The remarks contrast with recent signals from state and city officials on the pace of rebuilding Lower Manhattan. (New York Times)

Giuliani To Distribute Twin Towers Fund Within 60 Days - Feb 27, 2002
In an effort to end a bitter dispute, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani agreed yesterday to distribute within 60 days $100 million in the city Twin Towers Fund to the families of 430 uniformed and civilian rescuers who died on September 11. Many of the families had criticized efforts by the former mayor to privately run the charity, hire a staff of 12 and perhaps take months or years to distribute the millions of dollars. Some had threatened to sue to block Giuliani from controlling the fund, which had been collected under the auspices of City Hall. (New York Times)

Diversity of City-State Rebuilding Authority Criticized - Feb 26, 2002
The agency in charge of rebuilding lower Manhattan is overwhelmingly white and male, with almost no women or minorities on its staff or board of directors, City Council members charged yesterday. Lou Tomson, who was appointed LMDC executive director in January, said that of nine employees hired this month, all were white and there was only one woman. "I recognize the necessity of recruiting a staff that more accurately reflects the diversity of the city," Tomson said. He said the staff hired so far was assembled quickly and "there wasn't time" to seek out a more diverse group. Tomson said he expected to hire about 11 more people - filling several "major" positions - and would now take diversity into consideration. (New York Post)

Relatives of Victims to Request an Indoor Viewing Area - Feb 26, 2002
World Trade Center family groups will meet with Mayor Bloomberg tomorrow to demand an indoor viewing area inside a building overlooking Ground Zero so they can get a better view of how the cleanup is progressing. Farrell said the five family groups that make up the World Trade Center Family Committee want the viewing area moved to an upper floor of a building on Liberty St. Other demands include increasing the number of workers charged with searching the rubble by hand for human remains, more frequent meetings with the mayor and access to Ground Zero once the recovery is finished. (New York Daily News)

Service Held for 1993 World Trade Center Victims - Feb 26, 2002
Six victims who were killed nine years ago when terrorists bombed the World Trade Center were remembered today with a Mass near ground zero, where terrorists slaughtered about 3,000 on Sept. 11. About 200 people attended the service at St. Peter’s Church, just a few steps from the Trade Center site. (Newsday)

City Council Complains About Exclusion From Rebuilding - Feb 26, 2002
City Council members complained Monday that they have been excluded from the lower Manhattan redevelopment process and from the board responsible for spending $2 billion in federal aid. Councilman James Sanders Jr., chairman of the Committee on Economic Development, complained that “the current elected leadership of New York City ... had no role in appointing members to the one body charged with developing lower Manhattan” and suggested that four more members should be added to the board, two appointed by the council and two by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Sanders also complained that the redevelopment board “does not much resemble the city that it hopes to rebuild” because it includes only two women and one black person. (Associated Press)

Memorial to 1993 World Trade Center Victims Destroyed - Feb 26, 2002
A memorial commemorating the six victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was destroyed on September 11. Only a small fragment of the 1993 memorial has been recovered, said Charles Maikish, the former executive director of the trade center. This morning, that fragment will be taken to St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church on Barclay Street for a Mass of remembrance for those killed in the 1993 bombing. (New York Times)

Families of 1993 Bombing Victims Feeling Left Out - Feb 25, 2002
More than a dozen friends and relatives of the victims of the 1993 bombing held a news conference outside City Hall yesterday, asking why they had not been eligible for government aid, why charities had not raised money for them in their time of need, why they had been left out of the recent tax relief law, and why they had not been consulted about plans for a new memorial to World Trade Center victims. Senator Charles E. Schumer, who joined the relatives at the news conference, said that he would call John C. Whitehead, the chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and ask him to consult the families of the 1993 victims before planning a memorial. (New York Times)

FBI May Double New York City's Anti-Terrorism Force - Feb 25, 2002
The FBI is studying a plan to double the number of agents assigned to New York's Joint Terrorism Task Force by making it a special division of the bureau, sources said yesterday. The plan, which was submitted last week by the bureau's New York office to FBI Director Robert Mueller, would reinforce the nearly 150 agents assigned to the task force by adding eight new investigation groups. (New York Post)

More Jobs Headed Out of City Due to September 11 - Feb 25, 2002
Marsh & McLennan, a financial services giant that once housed 1,900 employees in the World Trade Center, is planning to move many of those jobs to New Jersey. Marsh has reached a deal to lease at least 300,000 square feet of office space at Hoboken's Waterfront Corporate Center, according to real estate sources. Manhattan will lose at least 1,200 jobs as a result of the deal, a source said. With Marsh getting an option to lease another 100,000 square feet, the company could move as many as 2,000 jobs across the Hudson. (New York Daily News)

Lead and Fiberglass Levels Still High in Downtown Public School - Feb 25, 2002
Dust samples taken this month at a Battery Park City school show elevated levels of lead and fiberglass, raising parents' concerns about the building's safety days before children are to return to class there. Levels of lead and fiberglass were up to four times higher than federal limits. The samples were taken from a windowsill in an unoccupied section of the third floor, prompting an immediate cleaning, Board of Ed spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. More dust samples taken after the cleaning were free of contaminants, as were tests of air samples taken before and after the cleaning, he said. (New York Daily News)

1993 Victims Families Included in Advisory Council - Feb 25, 2002
Families of the six victims killed in the 1993 attack at the World Trade Center will have a voice in the group formed after Sept. 11 to coordinate redevelopment of the trade center site and creation of a memorial to the victims. Relatives of the 1993 attack worried their loved ones were being forgotten, especially because the granite fountain memorial dedicated to the victims of the first attack was destroyed when the twin towers crumbled on Sept. 11. (Newsday)

Hearing Brings Out Anger, Confusion Over Air Quality - Feb 24, 2002
The confusion over the air quality inside and outside buildings near ground zero was clearly evident again yesterday at an investigative hearing before the national ombudsman for the federal Enironmental Protection Agency. City and federal officials "have completely left the tenants and the residents and property owners in Lower Manhattan to their own devices to deal with the contamination and asbestos and other hazardous materials as a result of the World Trade Center," said United States Representative Jerrold Nadler, whose district includes ground zero and who presided over yesterday's hearing. "It's very clear that the city and federal government are not upholding the law." (New York Times)

9/11, Ground Zero Etc. Will Be In The Language For Good, Lexicographers Say - Feb 24, 2002
9/11, Ground Zero, weaponize, theoterrorism, daisy cutter are among the words most likely to enter the English language permanently, making their way into dictionaries. Also burka and Taliban. Said one dictionary editor: "No one asks about chad anymore." (New York Times)

9/11 Families Approve Temporary Memorial - Feb 23, 2002
The families of September 11 victims have given the green light to a temporary memorial using a bronze sculpture that once stood on the World Trade Center plaza. The families also gave their nod to a triangular parcel of land in northern Battery Park City, dubbed Teardrop Park, as the favorted site for the much-anticipated interim memorial, said Christy Ferer, the mayor's liaison with victims' relatives. (New York Daily News)

Developer Silverstein Presses To Begin Construction On 7 WTC In June - Feb 23, 2002
Larry A. Silverstein, who controls the lease for the 16-acre World Trade Center site, has a new proposal for rebuilding his office tower just to the north of the site, at 7 World Trade Center, that he hopes will finally address all the objections from local residents and downtown officials. But even as Mr. Silverstein presses to begin construction in June, some top state officials, civic organizations and community groups say they are considering whether to scuttle Mr. Silverstein's development rights on the larger and adjacent trade center site and prevent him from taking part in the broader reconstruction project, which promises to be one of the most ambitious urban development programs in the country. (New York Times)

9/11 Changed NYC Museums - Feb 23, 2002
Many museums throughout the city hae rethought their exhibitions, and even their missions, since September 11. (New York Times)

First Tower To Fall Was Hit At Higher Speed, Study Finds - Feb 23, 2002
Researchers trying to explain why the World Trade Center's south tower fell first, though struck second, are focusing on new calculations showing that the passenger jet that hit the south tower had been flying as fast as 586 miles an hour, about 100 miles an hour faster than the other hijacked plane. (New York Times)

Police Hire Firm To Study September 11 Response - Feb 22, 2002
The Police Department has hired a high-powered business consulting firm to analyze its response to the World Trade Center attack and is seeking $700 million in federal funds to pay for anti-terrorism equipment. McKinsey & Co., which says it helps two-thirds of the companies on the Fortune 1,000 improve operations, will analyze the police response to the Sept. 11 attack, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday after a City Council hearing on anti-terrorism tactics. Kelly said the consulting firm will interview officers and supervisors who were at the scene, looking at "a whole myriad of things." (Newsday)

Rebuilding Agency To Determine Indoor Air Quality Standards - Feb 22, 2002
Swamped with complaints about health concerns from people living near Ground Zero, the state-city agency overseeing the rebuilding of lower Manhattan is considering establishing a standard to determine when air in apartments is safe to breathe. Paul Crotty, a board member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, said the agency should consider hiring a consultant to "harmonize" standards for indoor air quality. No legal or regulatory indoor air quality standards exist in the state. Scientists have little idea how people might be affected by the mix of toxins downtown, including asbestos and PCBs — making broad standards difficult to set. (New York Daily News)

Mayor Backs Giuliani Control of Relief Fund - Feb 22, 2002
Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday he saw no reason not to transfer control of the Twin Towers Fund to a private charity run by Rudy Giuliani, a move that some firefighters and victims' families now oppose. The mayor said he is confident Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who regulates charities, will resolve the matter in a way that meets Giuliani's wishes and the families' concerns. The families have complained that Giuliani packed the board with friends and plans to spend $1.2 million on employee salaries. (New York Daily News)

City Calls on eBay To End World Trade Center Auctions - Feb 22, 2002
The Bloomberg administration demanded yesterday that eBay, the Internet auction company, remove World Trade Center memorabilia from its Web site, calling some of the items for sale "blatant attempts to profit from mass murder" and "nauseating." In recent days, sellers have used eBay to try to auction a flight-simulator computer program that allows users to fly between the towers, graphic photographs of people preparing to jump to their deaths, recordings billed as "911 uncut rescue tapes" and a brass World Trade Center ashtray that is described as "a real conversation piece." (New York Times)

Two Memorial Proposals Close To Approval - Feb 22, 2002
Two proposals for temporary memorials to the victims of the World Trade Center attack, one using huge beams of light and the other a damaged bronze sculpture, are moving closer to approval, city and state officials said yesterday. The remains of the spherical bronze sculpture by Fritz Koenig that stood in the World Trade Center plaza would serve as the centerpiece of a temporary memorial being considered by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the group overseeing the rebuilding of downtown. The memorial would remain in place for as long as two years, while a permanent memorial was conceived and installed at the site of the fallen towers. (New York Times)

Police Officers' Widows Oppose Giuliani's Control Of Fund - Feb 21, 2002
The widows of 15 police officers killed at the World Trade Center threatened yesterday to take legal action to try to stop the Bloomberg administration from transferring control of the $160-million Twin Towers Fund to a private charity of the same name run by Rudolph W. Giuliani.The transfer must be approved in State Supreme Court before it can become final. (New York Times)

Attorney General Urges Watchdogs For Twin Towers Charity - Feb 21, 2002
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has asked former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to make changes to the Twin Towers Fund, including adding a city appointee to the charity's board. Spitzer also wants Giuliani to subject the fund, which has recently come under criticism, to annual audits by the city Comptroller's Office and the Department of Investigation. (New York Post)

Feds Offer $220 M For Residents Near Ground Zero - Feb 21, 2002
Anyone living near the World Trade Center site, or about to move there, will be eligible to share $220 million in federal aid to be used for rent, maintenance or mortgage payments. (New York Daily News)

Public Still Buying Gas Masks Etc. - Feb 20, 2002
Sales at stores around the city that sell antiterrorism devices have been strong since 9/11. Sales, primarily of gas masks, surged at Army surplus shops and survival stores immediately after the attacks and continue to ride a swell. (New York Times)

Seven 9/11 Families Sue Osama bin Laden - Feb 20, 2002
The families of seven victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center filed a class-action lawsuit today against Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as well as Iran and Iraq. "Our goal is simple," said Fiona Havlish, whose husband, Donald G. Havlish Jr., was killed when a hijacked airliner crashed into the south tower of the trade center. "We want to prevent all those responsible for our losses from ever inflicting such pain on others." (New York Times)

Health Care Coverage Running Out for Victims' Relatives - Feb 20, 2002
For the first time in their lives, middle- and upper-class families of Sept. 11 victims are scrambling to find affordable health care coverage as their benefits come to an end. Most companies devastated by the World Trade Center collapse provided health benefits to families of the dead for at least six months. Some were more generous, offering discounted or fully paid coverage to families for years. Spouses of city cops and firefighters killed in attacks get health insurance for life, with extended coverage of their children. The American Red Cross also is temporarily paying some insurance bills. (New York Daily News)

Interim Memorial Site Down To A Couple Contenders - Feb 19, 2002
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. is eying two parcels for the interim memorial: a large, undeveloped lot in Battery Park City and the scarred, eastern edge of Ground Zero, agency chairman John Whitehead told The Daily News yesterday. The top candidate is a Battery Park City parcel — known as Site 26, between West St. and the Embassy Suites Hotel on North End Ave. But another nearby site — a small, triangular park on Murray St. — also has been gaining favor, they said. Sources said another Battery Park City parcel also is being considered. Included with the article is a map of the proposed sites. (New York Daily News)

Online Auctions of World Trade Center Items Draws Complaints - Feb 19, 2002
In the first week after the attacks, the auction site eBay banned the sale of Trade Center memorabilia, except for charity, through Dec. 31 after an initial outcry. Now hundreds of World Trade Center-related items are available, sparking criticisms from some quarters. eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said the company made clear from the beginning that the moratorium would end Dec. 31. The company raised $10 million for charity during a special auction during that period. (Newsday)

Conflict Between Silverstein, Development Authority Over Rebuilding - Feb 18, 2002
In response to residents' and critics' concerns about Larry Silverstein's intentions to begin rebuilding 7 World Trade Center starting this summer, several Lower Manhattan Development Corporation board members have been arguing that rebuilding 7 WTC should be part of an overall plan for the area. "I know how important the redevelopment of WTC 7 is, [but Silverstein] can't have it the way he wants it: in Greenwich Street," said LMDC board member Paul Crotty at a meeting last week. "It will bottle up the planning on the rest of lower Manhattan." Silverstein's fast-track pace has irked some on the LMDC. Sources said Silverstein met with new LMDC master planner Alexander Garvin late last week to start solving the design problem. LMDC executive director Lou Tomson said the board will come up with a set of goals by late May, and its newly hired master planner, Garvin, will then "translate those goals into various plans." (New York Daily News)

Victims' Families Want To Meet With Mayor - Feb 16, 2002
Families of more than a dozen police officers slain on Sept. 11 sent a letter to Mayor Bloomberg yesterday asking for an immediate meeting to discuss their fears about the Twin Towers Fund. The letter comes on the heels of another missive from cops' families concerned that the fund, which has raised $150 million, will become bogged down in administrative costs. Former Mayor Giuliani has been involved recently in a controversy over the amount of money to be paid to administrative staff overseeing the fund. (New York Post)

New Fund for Emergency Workers Distributes First Relief - Feb 16, 2002
A new charity will help firefighters, cops and other rescuers who have been injured while working at Ground Zero. Seven firefighters got $1,500 checks yesterday from the new World Trade Center Miracle Foundation, a California charity that created the Ground Zero Medical Fund. Emergency Medical Service workers and volunteers also will receive assistance. (New York Daily News)

Silverstein To Get $365 Million From Insurers - Feb 16, 2002
World Trade Center landlord Larry Silverstein settled with two insurance companies yesterday, conceding that under their policies the twin towers' collapse marked one occurrence, not two. Ace Bermuda and XL will pay Silverstein $365 million, the settlement amount, within the next month. "The money is going to go into an escrow account initially. Ultimately, we expect that the money will be used to rebuild the World Trade Center," said Silverstein attorney Eric Roth. (New York Daily News)

Families of Police Victims Trying To Stop Rudy's Plans for Twin Towers Fund - Feb 15, 2002
The families of 14 of the 23 police officers killed at the World Trade Center threw a roadblock Thursday in front of Rudolph Giuliani’s plans for a staff of nearly a dozen people to administer his $100 million Twin Towers Fund. A lawyer representing the families, Edward Hayes, faxed Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly a letter Thursday voicing the group’s opinion that no bureaucracy of 11 staffers is needed to handle the funds. “My clients feel that these generous donations are for their benefit and there is no need for any bureaucracy to make decisions for them,” Hayes’ letter said. (Newsday)

Charities' Deadline To Apply For Disaster Relief Approaching - Feb 15, 2002
Having already doled out hundreds of millions of dollars to residents and businesses in Lower Manhattan, three of the charitable funds that have given the most to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack will soon stop taking applications for emergency cash grants for anyone who has lost a job, a business or income because of the attack. Officials with the funds — the American Red Cross's Liberty Fund, the Sept. 11 Fund and the Salvation Army — said they thought it was time to move from providing disaster relief to financing longer-term services like job training and counseling. And they said they had already reached a sizable number of those affected, disbursing an estimated $250 million to more than 50,000 displaced workers and business owners to date. Charity officials, who at first said they were confident they had made a reasonable effort to inform people of the deadline, late yesterday announced they would extend the deadline for people to make appointments to discuss aid to March 8. (New York Times)

MTA Awards Contract For Reconstruction Of 1 And 9 Subway Lines - Feb 15, 2002
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Thursday it has awarded a contract for the reconstruction of the 1 and 9 subway lines into lower Manhattan, which were badly damaged in the World Trade Center attacks. The $92 million contract was awarded to a partnership of Tully Construction and Pegno Construction. The MTA says it is saving millions of dollars because those construction companies are already working on rebuilding a PATH station in the same area. (NY1)

Twin Towers in the Harbor - One Memorial Plan - Feb 14, 2002
Timothy Noah of highlights today a memorial idea proposed by Fred Bernstein. The memorial would consist of two tower-length piers jutting out into the harbor, both piers inscribed with the names of those who died in the towers on September 11. The piers would also serve as docks for boats back and forth between Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. (

Smaller Neighborhood Nonprofits Suffering - Feb 14, 2002
Small neighborhood nonprofits, which provide much of the social service and community development in the city, are struggling, even as the economy gets worse and demand for their services rises. Philanthropic giving rose sharply after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, but most of the money went to big, name-brand nonprofit organizations. A combination of decreased government contracts, lower-than-expected foundation grants, and diminishing fees resulting from fewer customers has hurt these service-oriented nonprofits. (New York Times)

Hopes for Downtown Recovery with Century 21 Reopening - Feb 14, 2002
Having suffered more than $10 million in damage from the World Trade Center attacks across the street, Century 21 Department Store is scurrying to open this month, possibly as soon as next week. Raymond Gindi, chief operating officer and a member of the Brooklyn founding family that owns the three-store chain, said yesterday that he had hoped to welcome shoppers next Tuesday, but the cleaning and rebuilding had taken much longer than expected. Because of continuing construction delays, the date may be pushed back yet again. Although many retailers are pinched by the recession, those offering good deals are attracting customers and succeeding, retail analyst Walter Loeb said. "I think there is going to be a real effort to get people to come down to the area and revitalize it," he said. (Newsday)

Independent Survey Reveals Terrible Air Quality Downtown - Feb 14, 2002
The collapse of the World Trade Center and the fires that burned at Ground Zero produced some of the highest air pollution levels ever studied, a team of independent researchers said this week. "Even on the worst air days in Beijing, downwind from coal-fired power plants, or in the Kuwaiti oil fires, we did not see these levels of fine particulates," said Tom Cahill, professor emeritus at the University of California-Davis, who headed the air-monitoring team. The findings sharply contradict reports from the federal Environmental Protection Agency that worrisome levels of metals and other pollutants in the air were mostly confined to the immediate vicinity of Ground Zero. The UC-Davis team went beyond EPA testing methods, monitoring for even tinier particulates than the agency normally looks for, and found a much higher concentration of contaminants in the air. (New York Daily News)

Cantor Fitzgerald Looking To Return To Manhattan - Feb 14, 2002
Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost more than 650 employees in the destruction of the World Trade Center, is looking to reunite most of its 400 area employees in one office in Manhattan. After the destruction of 250,000 square feet of space in the twin towers on Sept. 11, the brokerage moved surviving staffers to offices in Rosell Park, Shrewsbury, and Weehawken N.J., and to Darien, Conn. The firm has begun talking to city and state officials about moving workers back to the city. "Now, we need only 75,000 to 80,000 square feet," Lutnick said. "We're beginning to examine the situations with the city and the state." (New York Daily News)

Authorities Fail To Disclose WTC Air Health Risks - Feb 13, 2002
In the days after the World Trade Center collapsed, a team of top government scientists confirmed that the smoky, gray dust in the air was highly corrosive and a potentially serious health threat. Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey found some of the dust was as caustic as liquid drain cleaner and alerted the government agencies involved in the disaster. But neither workers breathing in the toxic air nor residents of lower Manhattan were ever informed. Their tests of air in the week after September 11 indicate that many areas had alkalinity at least as high as ammonia, and in some cases at levels of liquid drain cleaner. (Newsday)

Port Authority May Still Overrule City-State Development Authority - Feb 13, 2002
Paul Crotty, one of the 11 board members of the newly-formed Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, said that when it comes to land owned by the Port Authority, which includes the World Trade Center complex, it's still unclear who has the final say. Though the LMDC has been given sweeping powers by Gov. Pataki, the Port Authority does not fall under its direct jurisdiction because it is an agency governed by both New York and New Jersey. (New York Daily News)

Controller's Report Shows Negative Impact of Attacks on Economy - Feb 13, 2002
A report from Controller William Thompson paints a bleak picture of the effects of September 11 on the city's economy. The gross city product, which measures all economic activity, shrank 4.4% in the fourth quarter, while the nation showed a surprising overall growth of 0.2% in the same period. "Although New York City's economy began to show signs of weakness in the second quarter of 2001, the recession has deepened as a result of the World Trade Center attack," city Controller William Thompson said. (New York Daily News)

Con Edison Racing To Build New Substation - Feb 13, 2002
Consolidated Edison executives say that they are in a race against time to build a new electrical substation in New York City before the summer, when air-conditioning use is expected to increase to levels that could overload the electrical grid in Lower Manhattan. Officials say that they have to complete the project by the summer, which means finishing it in about half the time it normally takes. If a new substation is not built by June, the handful of substations that have been distributing electricity to customers who lost power on Sept. 11 could overload, resulting in blackouts. (New York Times)

Hard Times for Small Businesses Downtown - Feb 12, 2002
According to a survey by the Downtown Alliance, one in five retail businesses in the disaster area could not pay its rent last month. A slightly larger number - 22% - have been making partial rent payments since Sept. 11. Two recovery centers in lower Manhattan are accepting applications for federal aid. Of the $700 million approved to rebuild the area, $396 million is set aside for small business loans and grants, and $250 million is available to get business to stay in the area or move there. Another $558 million will be available soon. (New York Daily News)

$700 Million Federal Aid Downtown: A Visual Aid - Feb 12, 2002
The Daily News takes a look at the recent $700 million grant to the city for downtown businesses with a breakdown of the aid offered by the federal government and a map of the area covering eligible businesses. (New York Daily News)

Focus Of Recovery Shifts To 45 Damaged Buildings Near Ground Zero - Feb 12, 2002
Five months after the World Trade Center attack, the focus of the recovery effort is moving outward from ground zero to another trauma zone: a ring of battered skyscrapers and other buildings that once held 10 million square feet of floor space, slightly more than the twin towers.These wounded buildings, which somehow remained standing, are no ordinary structures: two are landmarks, one is a key communication center and another held classrooms that served thousands of college students each day. (New York Times)

Planner Appointed for Lower Manhattan Development Corporation - Feb 11, 2002
Alexander Garvin, an urban planner, city planning commissioner, and teacher at Yale University, was appointed this weekend to be in charge of coming up with such a development plan. His title will be vice president for planning, design and development for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. "The revitalization of lower Manhattan presents many complex challenges," Garvin said. "We need to develop an appropriate way to honor those who perished on Sept. 11. The residents, business and property owners of lower Manhattan expect to get back to normal as quickly as possible." (Crain's New York Business)

Congressman Nadler Slams Feds At U.S. Senate Hearing On Downtown Air Quality - Feb 11, 2002
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler charged while testifying at a Senate subcommittee that the federal Environmental Protection Agency created “a full-scale crisis of public confidence” by assuring New Yorkers that the air was safe to breathe after Sept. 11. Nadler said while the EPA had tested outdoor air quality, no one had tested the air and dust inside the buildings near the World Trade Center site. (Associated Press)

Century 21, Popular Discount Clothing Story, To Reopen Soon - Feb 10, 2002
Century 21, the popular discount clothing store located across the street from the World Trade Center, has been cleared of dust and other debris and is ready to open later this month. While the owners declined to name an official opening date, citing concerns that construction might cause delays, the store's tawny wood-paneled walls and marble floors have been polished and sandblasted to a sheen, its fabled third floor of European designer fashions refurbished and already stocked with pristine merchandise, most of it fresh off the spring 2002 runways. (New York Times)

New Yorkers Downtown Still Uncertain About September 11 Health Risks - Feb 8, 2002
New Yorkers still don't know what to make of the potential health risks downtown. With a lack of leadership and consensus from government across all levels about the quality of the air downtown, residents and workers are left to their own devices when it comes to figuring out how to make their homes and workplaces safe. One of the biggest concerns is the lack of testing in indoor spaces, which the Natural Resources Defense Council claims fell through the cracks. Currently it is ultimately up to the building owners and tenants themselves to determine the level of concern and clean-up necessary to insure a safe working or living environment. (New York Times)

State Approves June Rebuilding of 7 World Trade Center - Feb 8, 2002
Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corp., which oversees the agency in charge of downtown redevelopment, gave a resounding thumbs-up yesterday to starting to rebuild 7 World Trade Center as early as June, despite concerns by some that the timetable is too fast. Larry Silverstein, who built the original 47-story skyscraper on the block between Vesey and Barclay Sts. in 1987, has said he believes he needs only the approval of the Port Authority, which owns the land. Among the concerns of those who worry about the quick rebuilding are how to reorient the building so it does not block Greenwich St., and where to place Con Edison substations and Port Authority cargo bays. (New York Daily News)

City Facing $7 Billion in Lawsuits - Feb 8, 2002
From recovery workers who say they suffer lung problems to business people who say their shops were damaged, 1,300 people have filed notices of intent to sue the city for a total of $7.18 billion in damages related to the World Trade Center aftermath. The vast majority are firefighters who say the city gave them inadequate respiratory protection for recovery and cleanup work at the smoldering trade-center site, according to notices filed with the city. The city is self-insured and awards from successful lawsuits would come from the city's general fund, Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said. (New York Post)

Bush Reaffirms $20 Billion Pledge in NYC Visit - Feb 7, 2002
President Bush flew into New York yesterday and declared that he would stand by his pledge to provide the city with at least $20 billion to help rebuild from last summer's terrorist attacks, moving to dispel doubts raised by Democrats about the depth of the White House's commitment to help New York recover. Bush also announced that he supported a proposal to create $5 billion in tax credits in downtown Manhattan to stop businesses from fleeing the area. "When I say $20 billion, I mean $20 billion," said Bush. (New York Times)

Giuliani Seeks To Take Over Twin Towers Fund - Feb 6, 2002
The city-run Twin Towers Fund has suspended payments to the families of dead firefighters, police officers and other uniformed heroes while a fledgling charity controlled by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempts to take over the funds assets about $100 million and growing. The transfer, possibly unprecedented in nature, needs approval by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. CUNY vice chancellor Frederick Schaffer, the chairman of the city-run charity, said the organization, called the New York City Public and Private Initiative, had planned from the outset to spin off the Twin Towers Fund. (Newsday)

New Wall To Keep Out Hudson Must Be Built, Says Head Engineer - Feb 6, 2002
According to George Tamaro, the engineer who directed the original construction of the World Trade Center, the "bathtub” which keeps out the Hudson River suffered so much damage on Sept. 11 that a new wall will have to be added before permanent rebuilding can occur. Tamaro, a partner at Mueser-Rutledge Consulting Engineers, believes that a second interior wall -- or "liner wall” -- must be constructed to augment the original "bathtub.” The project would cost $15 million to $20 million, he estimated. Such a project will add an unspecified amount of time to the overall reconstruction of the site. (Newsday)

Bloomberg Lays Out Vision for Downtown - Feb 6, 2002
Mayor Bloomberg vowed yesterday to rebuild lower Manhattan as a bustling 24-hour community. The mayor, speaking at an Association for a Better New York breakfast, said improving downtown transportation is imperative. Bloomberg cited several steps his administration has taken to improve lower Manhattan, including "working aggressively" to reopen the entire Battery Tunnel to all traffic — passenger cars are still banned from entering Manhattan from 6 a.m. to 8p.m. — and the West Side Highway. The city also has formed an emergency task force "to dramatically expand" ferry service in lower Manhattan. Bloomberg also ordered the City Planning Department to evaluate "creative zoning" to permit greater residential, cultural and retail use. The city also will look for sites that offer new housing opportunities. (New York Daily News)

More Schools Reopen Near Ground Zero - Feb 5, 2002
Students of P.S. 234 and P.S. 150, both only blocks away from the World Trade Center, returned to school on Monday. Since Sept. 11, the 170 students of P.S. 150 have been temporarily housed at P.S. 3 in Greenwich Village, and the 600 students of P.S. 234 were at St. Bernard's, a former Catholic school, also in the Village. (New York Times)

City Clamping Down on Ground Zero Steel Sales - Feb 5, 2002
The city is telling scrap yards not to sell steel from the World Trade Center to companies that want to exploit the tragedy by turning the wreckage into things like souvenirs, says the Daily News. A Georgia company, International Agile Manufacturing, has been melting tons of the steel into commemorative medallions and selling the souvenirs for $29.95 each. (New York Daily News)

World Financial Center Reopens Some Shops - Feb 5, 2002
Several shops and restaurants reopened in the World Financial Center today. Pedestrian access to the area will also be eased with the opening of a makeshift plywood and iron walkway between the lobby of 2 World Financial Center and to a courtyard between 3 and 4 World Financial Center. (New York Times)

Bush's Budget Reduces Federal Aid, Lawmakers Say - Feb 5, 2002
In his recent budget proposal to Congress, President Bush revealed that he will be including the $5 billion to be paid out to the relatives of the World Trade Center victims as part of the $20 billion aid package he pledged to New York City last fall. New York Congressional representatives are angered over what they see as a shortchanging of relief aid promised by the President, saying that the distribution of the federal compensation fund for relatives of victims was never intended as part of the $20 billion in federal aid. The city has received $11 billion from the federal government so far, and lawmakers anticipated receiving another $9 billion. (New York Post)

Does New York Need Another Moses? - Feb 4, 2002
Robert Moses, the domineering master builder from a less democratic era in the city's history, comes to mind increasingly as New Yorkers look to the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site. Many wonder how it will ever be accomplished, given clashing agendas and a large and ever- growing cast of characters, not one of them a leader with the kind of power and authority it will take to bring order to fragmentation, vision to necessity. A few New Yorkers are asking if there is something halfway between a willful master builder and decision (or indecision) by committee. (New York Times)

Health Department Campaign Aims At Psychological Healing - Feb 3, 2002
Hand-scrawled posters that read like pages torn from a diary are promoting New York Needs Us Strong, a city Health Department campaign offering free crisis counseling for anyone feeling the strain of the World Trade Center attacks. The city program is part of Project Liberty, a state initiative funded by a $23 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The campaign refers people to LifeNet, a 24-hour hotline operated by the Mental Health Association of New York City. Although almost five months have elapsed since Sept. 11, the demand for psychological counseling services has continued to rise, experts say. LifeNet saw its calls double after Sept. 11. In December, the state started promoting the hotline in television and radio ads, and the number rose further: The hotline received 11,650 calls in December and January, compared with 5,300 a year earlier, said director John Draper. (Newsday)

Many Obstacles To Recovery for Businesses Downtown - Feb 3, 2002
Small businesses downtown are finding that location and luck are integral to determining their own success after the collapse of the World Trade Center. These businesses are facing huge hurdles on the road to recovery: decreased foot traffic, damaged transportation lines, unhelpful insurance companies, physical or structural damage, and simply location near ground zero. (New York Times)

Feds Approve $700 Million Grant to Help Rebuild Lower Manhattan - Feb 3, 2002
The Bush administration said today that it had approved a $700 million grant for New York State to help rebuild Lower Manhattan, create jobs and revive businesses devastated by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The secretary of housing and urban development, Mel Martinez, said the money would be released next week, after Congress reviews the spending plan. The money is being provided through the Community Development Block Grant program. Of the $700 million, $396 million is earmarked for loans and grants to small businesses. The next largest portion, $250 million, is to provide incentives for companies to stay in Lower Manhattan or relocate there. (New York Times)

Experts Still Probing Why Towers Fell - Feb 2, 2002
Engineers and other experts have been struggling to answer the monumental questions of exactly why and how the Twin Towers, designed to sustain a jet impact, completely collapsed. Much of the effort is focused on trying to find steel that was at or above the floors rammed by the hijacked jets. The towers collapsed from the top down and the fires were concentrated in these areas, so the presumption is that the answer to why they fell down should be found by examining the steel from these spots. Perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation involves extremely thin bits of steel collected from the trade towers and from 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story high rise that also collapsed for unknown reasons. The steel apparently melted away, but no fire in any of the buildings was believed to be hot enough to melt steel outright. (New York Times)

City Council Wants Say in Rebuilding - Feb 1, 2002
Several City Council members are trying to form their own commission for improving lower Manhattan. They are pushing for a nine-member panel, appointed by the council and Mayor Bloomberg, to coordinate "all activities necessary to aid affected businesses remaining in the city." The proposal was introduced Wednesday by Allan Jennings (D-Queens). Jennings said the council "has no input, and neither does the State Assembly, in the commission the governor appointed. "So [it] is making decisions without input from constituents. We have to do something," Jennings said. (New York Post)

Red Cross Announces Plans for Rest of Disaster Funds - Feb 1, 2002
The American Red Cross yesterday announced how it would distribute another $360 million from its giant Liberty Disaster Fund for victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Former United States Senator George J. Mitchell, who now oversees the fund, said $240 million would be paid in direct financial assistance to families, $80 million would go for long-term services like mental health treatment, and $25 million would be spent on immediate disaster relief, like the maintenance of support centers. (New York Times)

Advisory Boards Named for Rebuilding Authority - Feb 1, 2002
The commission charged with overseeing the rebuilding of lower Manhattan announced yesterday a long-awaited list of committees for "public input" - but gave scant details on what role they will play or how they will operate. Four citizens' committees with a total of 72 members were created. The so-called advisory councils "will provide valuable public input" as the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. works to form an overall plan for post-Sept. 11 recovery, the agency said in a statement. A General Advisory Committee was also created, composed of 13 state and local politicians and civic leaders, and headed by LMDC's own chairman, John Whitehead. Click here for a list of members of the panels. (New York Times)

Print Friendly and PDF

Editor's Choice

Gotham Gazette: New York Voters Approve $4.2 Billion Environmental Bond Act
New York Voters Approve $4.2 Billion Environmental Bond Act
Gotham Gazette: 
New York City Voters Approve Racial Justice Ballot Measures
New York City Voters Approve Racial Justice Ballot Measures
Gotham Gazette: Max Politics Podcast: A Winning Formula for Democrats in Tough New York Races
Max Politics Podcast: A Winning Formula for Democrats in Tough New York Races
Gotham Gazette: Max Politics Podcast Max Politics Podcast