Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Rebuilding NYC December 2003

Community Board One Debates Liberty Bond Extension - Dec 31, 2003
Community Board 1 is backing an extension of the tax-free Liberty Bond program but opposes using more of the money on residential buildings because members say it is encouraging too many small, luxury-rent apartments. (Downtown Express)

New Years Security Will be Highest Ever - Dec 31, 2003
Citing credible intelligence that terrrorists mention New York as an end-of-year target, federal and city law enforcement officials yesterday pumped up security to its highest level ever to ensure a safe New Year's Eve celebration tonight. (New York Daily News)

Congressman Advises People to Avoid Times Square on New Years - Dec 31, 2003
Connecticut Representative Christopher Shays issued a warning to New Year's Eve revelers yesterday, saying he wouldn't go to Times Square tonight "for anything." The Republican blasted Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge for telling Americans to ring in 2004 as they normally would. (New York Daily News)

Jury Is Said To Have Narrowed Its Choices - Dec 31, 2003
The jury that is to choose a design for the memorial at the World Trade Center site has narrowed its choices to two favorites, Garden of Lights and Passages of Light: the Memorial Cloud, people involved in the process said yesterday. Another design, Reflecting Absence, is also expected to be under consideration when the jurors reconvene early next week to judge the substantive changes that have been made, both at their request and by the artists themselves. (New York Times)

Queens Assemblyman To Push Bill To Return Ashes To Ground Zero - Dec 30, 2003
A Queens assemblyman said yesterday he will introduce legislation requiring Ground Zero debris carted to a Staten Island landfill to be returned to the World Trade Center site for burial. The bill will mirror a law signed last week by New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey that calls for the bistate Port Authority to put the debris in containers for its ultimate return to lower Manhattan. (New York Daily News)

4,000 File For 9/11 Injuries - Dec 30, 2003
More than 4,000 people claiming Sept. 11-related injuries have applied for federal compensation, surprising fund administrators with a deluge of last-minute applications. (Associated Press)

Transcripts Show That Cops Feared More Planes On 9/11 - Dec 30, 2003
Worried that the Sept. 11 attacks could escalate, jittery Port Authority cops asked La Guardia Airport traffic controllers if any other planes were headed the city's way, newly released police communications transcripts reveal. (New York Post)

Heightened Security For New Years - Dec 30, 2003
With the city at a heightened state of alert, unprecedented security measures will be in place on New Year's Eve in Times Square, where revelers will have to pass through metal detectors borrowed from city schools for the night, officials said yesterday. (New York Times)

The Engineer Behind The Freedom Tower - Dec 30, 2003
In hard hat, Guy Nordenson was one of the structural engineers who clambered for months through the smoking rubble of the World Trade Center. Now, minus the headgear, in the hushed spaces of his office near ground zero, he holds forth about torque and taper, about Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot. He speaks with considerable stillness and insistency, just as he does with his architecture students at Princeton. (New York Times)

9/11 Air Traffic Controller Transcripts Released - Dec 30, 2003
A set of tape transcripts released yesterday open a small window onto the flow of information among aviation authorities on Sept. 11, 2001, showing that air traffic officials in New York knew no more about the attacks than anyone watching television. (New York Times)

Giuliani Criticizes Freedom Tower Design - Dec 29, 2003
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani yesterday gave a thumbs-down to the new Freedom Tower design and other World Trade Center rebuilding plans, saying they don't pay tribute to the heroes who died or evoke the horror of what happened. (New York Post)

Tourists Return to New York - Dec 29, 2003
The tourists are back. Official statistics are hard to come by. But for the last week, more than 1,000 tourists a day have been dropping by NYC & Company's Visitor Information Center, a level not reached since before Sept. 11, 2001, a spokeswoman said. (New York Times)

PATH Traffic Down Significantly Since 9/11 - Dec 28, 2003
The new World Trade Center PATH station is moving just over 1/3 of the riders it did before 9/11 -- a dramatic indication of the job and economic losses in Lower Manhattan, Port Authority data show. (New York Post)

Firefighter Reunited With Colleague He Rescued on 9/11 - Dec 28, 2003
Louis Cacchioli saw himself in the Daily News more than a year ago, in a photo showing him helping a fellow firefighter escape from the World Trade Center collapse. Yesterday, he finally met the man he rescued. (New York Daily News)

$1.2 Million in 9/11 Aid is Returned - Dec 27, 2003
A major program to help small businesses in Lower Manhattan recover from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack has taken back $1.2 million in erroneous payments it made to 66 companies, according to the state agency administering the program. The agency, the Empire State Development Corporation, said the money was recovered from businesses that were found to have been overpaid, in some cases because financial information they submitted did not hold up in audits, though their applications were not necessarily fraudulent. (New York Times)

No Fear On Christmas - Dec 26, 2003
New York celebrated an Orange Christmas with defiance and grit, as the spirit of the holidays conquered all fears of terrorism. From the Empire State Building to the Rockefeller Center tree, New Yorkers and tourists ignored the nationwide orange alert and enjoyed a sun-soaked Christmas Day. (New York Daily News)

Two Visions Meet At 1,776 Feet - Dec 26, 2003
A week before they were to present it to the public, the architects David M. Childs and Daniel Libeskind had yet to find a form on which both could at least sign off, even if neither embraced it entirely. Their standoff was the latest in an architectural evolution that, however tortuous, wound up producing a remarkably well-regarded design. (New York Times)

New Jersey Law Calls For Return Of WTC Ashes To Ground Zero - Dec 25, 2003
The Port Authority must collect the ashen remains of World Trade Center victims now piled at the Fresh Kills landfill, under a law signed by New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey. The law calls for the ashes - remains of everything incinerated in the WTC attacks - to be stored in containers for eventual use at the Trade Center's permanent memorial. (New York Daily News)

Security Violation Spurs Airport Evacuation - Dec 25, 2003
Hundreds of passengers were forced to temporarily evacuate the Delta Air Lines terminal at La Guardia Airport last evening after a security breach by a passenger, officials said. Four departing flights were delayed, and passengers were required to pass through security checkpoints again, said Dan Maynard, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (New York Times)

Wind and Light for Freedom Tower - Dec 24, 2003
A year after architect Daniel Libeskind first told the world about a 1,776-foot building reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty that he wanted to see built at the World Trade Center site, he watched David Childs explain how Childs kept the two ideas of wind and light and designed a new office building slated to rise at Fulton and West Sts. by next September. (Downtown Express)

Silverstein, Port Authority, Close Deal for $229 Million - Dec 24, 2003
Developer Larry Silverstein got more than $229 million in cash - all wrapped up in time for the holidays - when he closed a deal yesterday with the Port Authority to restructure the finances of his World Trade Center lease. The holiday bundle includes the return of the $98.5 million that Silverstein and his partners plunked down as equity when they leased the trade center from the Port Authority in July 2001, just weeks before the terror attacks. (New York Post)

Bloomberg Confirms City Request For Air Patrols - Dec 24, 2003
Ah, Christmas in New York. The tree in Rockefeller Center. Roasted chestnuts from street vendors. And F-16 fighter jets roaring overhead. Mayor Bloomberg confirmed yesterday that the NYPD has asked to have military jets patrol the skies over the city in response to the country's latest terrorism alert. (New York Daily News)

A Few Families Reject Compensation Fund - Dec 24, 2003
A handful of families have eschewed the money available to victims of the terrorist attacks, filing neither a lawsuit nor a claim through the federal Victims Compensation Fund. The exact number of families who filed is not yet known, because claims that were postmarked by the Monday deadline are still trickling in. As of yesterday, though, the Justice Department said that the families of 2,833 victims - more than 95 percent of the 2,976 killed on Sept. 11 - had filed claims. (Newsday)

Firefighters' Families File Suit Against City For 9/11 Radio Failure - Dec 23, 2003
The families of 12 firefighters who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks filed a lawsuit yesterday against New York City, claiming that the firefighters died unnecessarily because the city had issued them radios that did not work in high-rise buildings. The families have already filed with the federal Victim Compensation Fund, which required that they waive their right to most civil actions. However, their lawyers say that the language of the law that established the fund allows an exception for suing to recover money from insurance companies and similar sources. (New York Times)

Freedom Tower Follows Windmill Trend - Dec 23, 2003
The growing popularity of windmills as a clean way to generate electricity was on display Friday, when officials unveiled the design of the building that will be erected on the World Trade Center site. The plan calls for an unspecified number of windmills to be installed in the uninhabited top-third of the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower, where they will catch the wind off the Hudson River and generate 20 percent of the building's electricity. (Newsday)

City Asks For Resumed Air Patrols - Dec 23, 2003
City officials are so concerned terrorists will use jetliners as terror weapons again that they're talking to the Pentagon about resuming regular air patrols over New York, police commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday. (Newsday)

Applicants Rush to Meet Deadline As 9/11 Compensation Program Ends - Dec 23, 2003
After a last-minute surge, 95 percent of eligible relatives of Sept. 11 victims had applied to join the government's ambitious but much-criticized compensation effort as the deadline neared last night. Officials with the federal Victim Compensation Fund, who worried just weeks ago that many eligible survivors would not sign up, said applications had come in by the hundreds as the hours to the midnight deadline wound down yesterday. (New York Times)

Despite Clamping the City Down, Bloomberg Urges People to Enjoy the Season - Dec 22, 2003
Faced with a rising national terror alert, Mayor Bloomberg ordered a new security clampdown yesterday even as he urged New Yorkers to enjoy the holidays in "the safest city in the world." (New York Daily News)

New Yorkers Shrug Off Heigntened Threat Level - Dec 22, 2003
New Yorkers weren't quaking in their boots with the word yesterday that the Department of Homeland Security raised the threat of a terrorist attack nationally from "elevated," or code yellow, to "high," or code orange. The move didn't actually alter New York City's threat alert level, which has been at Code Orange since the color coding system began. So for many people in the city, this was nothing to get nervous about. (Newsday)

City Reacts to Heightened Security Threat - Dec 22, 2003
National Guard units specially trained in counterterrorism will be posted in the city through the holidays, city officials said yesterday after the federal government raised its threat alert level. The national alert level was raised to orange, the same one the city has been under since the months after Sept. 11, 2001. (Newsday)

9/11 Fund Applications Surpass Goal - Dec 22, 2003
With the deadline for applications to the Sept. 11, 2001 victims' compensation fund only hours away, more than 90 percent of families who lost loved ones in the attacks had filed claims, the fund's chief administrator said Monday. (Newsday)

Slow Down! says Giuiliani - Dec 22, 2003
STOP. Start over. It is not too late to get it right. So argues Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has studied the eight designs being considered for a World Trade Center memorial and does not like what he sees. (New York Times)

Deadline For Federal Victims Compensation Fund Looming - Dec 21, 2003
People who lost loved ones or were injured in the 9/11 terrorist attacks have until midnight tomorrow to file with the federal Victims Compensation Fund. Officials expect nearly 90% of those eligible to file, depite a slow start and months of controversy. (New York Daily News)

Online Poll Shows Support for Freedom Tower Design - Dec 21, 2003
The redesigned Freedom Tower skyscraper to be built above Ground Zero is miles above the original plan, according to a Post Web poll yesterday. Readers were asked to judge the bold design for the 1,776-foot skyscraper, a glass tower that gracefully twists into the sky and is topped by a 276-foot spire that pays homage to the Statue of Liberty. A whopping 85 percent of Post Web site visitors favored the revised design for what will be the world's tallest skyscraper - unveiled to the public Friday - compared with 15 percent for the original plan. (New York Post)

Victims' Opinions On Tower Differ - Dec 20, 2003
Two survivors of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centers yesterday had sharply different opinions of the redesigned Freedom Tower skyscraper to be constructed at Ground Zero. (New York Post)

Is Freedom Tower Really the Tallest? - Dec 20, 2003
It will certainly be the world's tallest cable-framed, open-air, windmill-filled, spire-studded superstructure, rising atop 70 stories of offices, restaurants, a broadcast center and an observation deck. Whether that makes it the world's tallest building is another matter. (New York Times)

Freedom Tower Is Unveiled - Dec 20, 2003
After fervent public debate over how to mend the New York City skyline and a five-month effort by competing architectural giants that was one part collaboration and two parts quarrel, the design of the first tower of the new World Trade Center was unveiled yesterday. The torqued and tapering skyscraper, called the Freedom Tower, would rise some 70 stories, then dematerialize in its upper reaches among cables, windmills and antennas before piercing the clouds at 1,776 feet. At this height, it might be the world's tallest building upon completion in 2008 or 2009. (New York Times)

Tower Described As Safe, Environmentally Friendly - Dec 20, 2003
They're calling the planned Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center the safest building in the world. The skyscraper's designers and owner also lay claim to making it one of the most environmentally friendly. (Newsday)

Pataki Served as Mediator in ArchitectsÕ Feud - Dec 20, 2003
The relationship between Childs, who was charged with designing the tower, and Libeskind, the master planner of the site, was so difficult, both sides agreed, that several weeks ago the two architects practically stopped speaking and Gov. George Pataki had to mediate. (Newsday)

Freedom Tower Will Be A Boon For City Economy - Dec 20, 2003
The skyscraper planned for the World Trade Center site is expected to provide the city with one of its biggest economic boosts since the original WTC was built three decades ago. The greatest impact, at least initially, will be felt by the city's construction industry, which is anticipating that at least 2,000 jobs will be created for the building of what's known as the Freedom Tower, which is to be the world's tallest building (Newsday)

Freedom Tower Now Has a Design, But No Tenants - Dec 20, 2003
"The first firm to sign a lease will get huge media attention," said downtown real estate broker Brad Gerla of CB Richard Ellis. But right now, downtown leasing is dismal. Freedom Tower developer Larry Silverstein, who also is building and marketing 7 World Trade Center, isn't finding takers for that property. (New York Daily News)

9/11 Relics Rust in Hangar - Dec 19, 2003
There are no planes behind the mammoth locked doors of Hangar 17 at Kennedy International Airport. Instead, it hides history. This is where a 100-foot-tall by 100-foot-wide section of the lower facade of the north tower Ă‘ the infamous Gothic arches Ă‘ is kept, disassembled into 25 pieces weighing 80,000 pounds apiece. Laid out on the floor are the crumpled remains of the north tower antenna. Parked in one corner is an assortment of crushed fire trucks. Here rests the last column removed from ground zero, complete with the graffiti from firefighters and ironworkers who recovered victims and cleaned the site. (New York Times)

Pataki to Release Freedom Tower Design on Today Show - Dec 19, 2003
Gov. Pataki will unveil plans for Ground Zero's new skyscraper on national television this morning, drawing criticism that he's playing politics with the rebuilding effort. Pataki will offer the first glimpse of the Freedom Tower to Katie Couric, the popular host of NBC's "Today" show, prompting gripes that the governor is using the Sept. 11 tragedy to bolster his own national political ambitions. (New York Daily News)

Guards Abused Detainees After 9/11 - Dec 19, 2003
As many as 20 guards in a Brooklyn federal prison abused detainees after 9/11, according to a Justice Department report released yesterday. In June, the Justice Department concluded that there were "significant problems" with the treatment of prisoners detained for immigration violation. Yesterday's report recommends discipline for ten of the guards involved, and counseling for another two. (New York Post)

Lead Analysis Indicates Minimal Effect from 9/11 - Dec 18, 2003
Downtowners may never know the exact source of the elevated lead found in nearly one-third of apartments cleaned and tested by the Environmental Protection Agency after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, experts say. Cities often have high background amounts of lead, making it difficult to pinpoint whether the amounts found in Lower Manhattan apartments come from the World Trade Center or other sources that can include lead found in paint or soil. (Downtown Express)

Kids of 9/11 Victims To Get Cash From State - Dec 18, 2003
The state's World Trade Center fund is handing out the rest of its cash to children who lost a parent in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, officials said yesterday. The fund has roughly $4 million left and will spread the proceeds to about 2,800 children who lost parents in the terror attacks of 9/11, Gov. Pataki said. The fund also will dole out up to $3,000 a person to those certified by the American Red Cross as being injured in the attacks. (New York Daily News)

Regent Hotel on Wall Street to Close in January - Dec 18, 2003
The Regent Hotel, the Greek Revival landmark at 55 Wall Street, was once home to the fledgling New York Stock Exchange, to Herman Melville when he was a deputy customs inspector and to Citibank as it rose to national prominence. Reborn in 1999 as the Regent Wall Street hotel, the Regent ballroom and the 55 Wall restaurant, it has been a social and political hub ever since. It is preparing to close on Jan. 17 after one of the shortest runs of any deluxe hotel in the city's history. It is a victim not only of the attack on New York Ă‘ through which it resolutely stayed open, sheltering and feeding victims, workers and neighbors Ă‘ but of an economy that was souring even before Sept. 11, 2001. (New York Times)

Jury Member Breaks Silence - Dec 17, 2003
One of the 13 people who will select the design for the World Trade Center memorial broke the groupÕs public silence last week and responded to some of the criticism that has been leveled at the eight proposed plans he and his fellow jurors picked in November. The juror, James Young, an English and Judaic studies professor at the University of Massachusetts, also said he is looking for a design that will be able to evolve over generations. (Downtown Express)

Looking At The Forced Marriage That Spawned The Freedom Tower - Dec 17, 2003
When Governor George Pataki unveils the design plans for the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero on Dec. 19, it will mark the end of nearly six months of heated argument between two architects with radically different visions for what will be the tallest building in the world. What will emerge is a hybrid of the two very different architectsÕ visions for the signature skyline element of the new World Trade CenterÑforged in an uneasy compromise. (New York Observer)

Decision on Memorial Design Delayed 'At Least A Month' - Dec 17, 2003
The panel mulling the permanent memorial for Ground Zero has ordered up changes in some designs and is delaying its decision at least a month, sources said yesterday. The 13-member jury, made up of architects, artists, historians and others appointed by Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, had been expected topick a design by the end of the year. (New York Daily News)

Man Sentenced for 9/11 Charity Fraud - Dec 17, 2003
A Long Island City man who used telemarketers to solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for a bogus charity for families of slain police officers, including some killed Sept. 11, was sentenced Tuesday to more than 8 years in prison. (Newsday)

Feelings on Memorials Vary, Two Separate Studies of Public Opinion Indicate - Dec 17, 2003
A report released Tuesday by Imagine New York concludes that many people view the jagged wreckage and other relics from the attack more favorably than the final eight memorial designs. Negative comments on the memorials outweighed positive comments for all eight finalists, the report said. A Pace University exit poll taken at the Winter Garden where the designs are on display offered another take on public reaction. Sixty-two percent of people backed the selection process, which has been controversial in some quarters. Two designs, Votives in Suspension and Suspending Memory, got the most positive reviews. (Newsday)

For the First Time Since 9/11, An NY Firefighter Is Killed by a Fire - Dec 17, 2003
A rookie firefighter died yesterday while battling a fire at a second-floor warehouse in Upper Manhattan, becoming the first New York City firefighter to die by fire since Sept. 11, 2001. The firefighter, Thomas C. Brick, 30, was one of the first in his company to enter the mattress and furniture warehouse, officials said, and had gone farther into the building than other firefighters said they were able to get because of the ferocity of the four-alarm blaze. (New York Times)

Childs Reduced Height of Tower to Reach Agreement with Libeskind - Dec 17, 2003
In the end, the magic number for resolving the design impasse over the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site turned out to be 276 feet. That was how much the architect David M. Childs reduced the height of the tower he is designing for the developer Larry A. Silverstein, one of several gestures that allowed Mr. Childs's counterpart, Daniel Libeskind, to certify that the Freedom Tower would fit in with his overall master plan for the site. (New York Times)

Schumer Wants to Use Federal Rebuilding Funds for Kennedy Rail Link - Dec 17, 2003
Weighing in on a fractious debate over transportation priorities in Lower Manhattan, Senator Charles E. Schumer offered a plan yesterday to pay for the construction of a much-discussed rail link from downtown to Kennedy Airport without any state or local money. (New York Times)

Compromise Reached on Freedom Tower - Dec 16, 2003
Months of architectural wrangling over plans for the tallest building at the World Trade Center site Ă‘ and in the world Ă‘ have apparently ended in a 1,776-foot compromise that would include an asymmetrical spire favored by Daniel Libeskind rising atop a cable-framed wind farm proposed by David M. Childs. Though the design will not be made public until Friday, an announcement yesterday by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation seemed to indicate that agreement had been reached on the broad outlines of the building, called Freedom Tower. (New York Times)

Architects Reportedly Near Compromise on Freedom Tower - Dec 15, 2003
Warring architects Daniel Libeskind and David Childs are inching toward a compromise on the design of the Freedom Tower, and officials hope details can be finalized as early as today, sources said. Gov. Pataki had initially set today as the deadline for the architects to present him with a fully realized scheme for the tower. (New York Post)

9/11 Rugs Not Big Sellers on New York Streets - Dec 15, 2003
With an appraiser's scrutiny, Ed Cutting, a New York City firefighter, stared at a fine Afghan rug painstakingly hand woven in a style centuries old. Its handiwork depicted an epic scene. He stood Saturday in a weekend flea market at Avenue A and 11th Street in the East Village, at a booth displaying rugs. Several of the rugs, in a style usually reserved for depicting landscapes or abstract tribal patterns, showed a crudely rendered interpretation of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. (New York Times)

Debate Over Traffic Flow at Trade Center Site - Dec 15, 2003
While the public is transfixed by the struggle over the Freedom Tower and the memorial at the World Trade Center site, an equally vital debate has been occurring over the layout of streets around the site. Decisions made now about the street plan will determine how hundreds of truck deliveries are made, and how buses, autos, taxis, limousines, emergency vehicles (including a fire engine and fire truck quartered on Liberty Street) will share small slices of asphalt and concrete. The ripples from these crosscurrents will be felt down to the Battery, over to the Brooklyn Bridge, up the Avenue of the Americas and down Seventh Avenue. (New York Times)

Trade Center Fireproofing Tests Suggest A Wider Problem - Dec 14, 2003
Hundreds of buildings nationwide with fireproofing similar to that used in the World Trade Center could be far more prone to structural damage during major fires than previously thought, according to preliminary calculations by federal investigators. The investigators are studying the precise causes of the World Trade Center collapse. Their work includes calculations of how heat moves through steel building components with small gaps or imperfections in fireproofing insulation. Their inquiry, which is still in its early stages, shows that during a fire such flaws can act as sluice gates for heat, allowing it to enter the steel, where it becomes trapped, weakening the structure. (New York Times)

Federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Program May Cost Far Less Than Expected - Dec 13, 2003
The unprecedented program to compensate victims of the Sept. 11 attacks may cost far less than its original $6 billion estimate, the fund's administrator told The Associated Press. The total payout from the program could run as low as "$2 to $3 billion -- well under what had been estimated," Kenneth Feinberg, the fund's special master, said in an interview just days before the Dec. 22 deadline for families to file for compensation. (Newsday)

Democrats Protest Use of Liberty Bonds for Queens Power Plant - Dec 13, 2003
A group of Democratic lawmakers yesterday denounced New York State's offer to a Massachusetts-based energy company of $400 million in tax-exempt Liberty Bonds, which are intended to revive Lower Manhattan after the attack on the World Trade Center. A state-run agency administering the Liberty Bond program announced on Thursday that it had awarded the bonds to Astoria Energy to help finance the 1,000-megawatt power plant it seeks to build in Astoria, Queens. (New York Times)

Pataki Vetoes 9/11 Pension Bill - Dec 13, 2003
Gov. George E. Pataki vetoed a bill late Friday that would have given thousands of city workers who responded to the Sept. 11 attacks better retirement benefits by allowing them to claim many medical problems that stemmed from the hazardous conditions at the site. (New York Times)

First Beam Up at 7 World Trade Center - Dec 12, 2003
The final shape of the new World Trade Center may still be in doubt, but one part of the complex started going up yesterday. The first steel beam that will support the weight of office space was erected yesterday at 7 World Trade Center, marking the formal start of tenant floor reconstruction. The beam was headed for the 11th floor, where the first office tenants will rent space. The first 10 floors, already partially built, will house transformers for a Consolidated Edison substation that will supply electricity to much of lower Manhattan. (Newsday)

Number of Firefighters Rises to Pre 9/11 Level - Dec 12, 2003
It took more than two years, but the Fire Department finally has built back its staffing to where it was before the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when the department lost 343 men. With the new class of probationary firefighters that began training this week, the department has 8,660 firefighters on its rolls, 12 more than on Sept. 10, 2001. (New York Daily News)

Liberty Bonds Issued to Queens Power Plant - Dec 12, 2003
A massive new power-plant project in Queens, opposed by a group of city politicians, got $400 million in Liberty Bonds yesterday, sparking calls for a federal probe. The bonds were approved by the New York Liberty Development Corporation (NYLDC), which is considering issuing an additional $200 million in bonds to back the proposed 1,000- megawatt plant in Astoria. (New York Post)

9/11 Counselor Examined for Lung Problems - Dec 12, 2003
A Colorado cop who counseled cops after 9/11 has returned to the Big Apple - this time to undergo tests for a lung disorder he developed after working at Ground Zero. Police officer Tony Sanchez's bittersweet visit to the city was prompted by his need to prove to disbelieving Colorado health officials that a bacterial virus wracking his body since October 2001 was contracted amid the smoky ruins of the World Trade Center. (New York Post)

Cops Called to World Trade Center "Watergate" - Dec 12, 2003
Developer Larry Silverstein's Freedom Tower design team was so upset over an alleged raid on their offices by staffers of Ground Zero planner Daniel Libeskind that they brought in former Police Commissioner Howard Safir to investigate, sources said yesterday. (New York Times)

Ground Zero Architects Claim Cooperation - Dec 12, 2003
Despite reports of bitter feuding, two renowned architects said Thursday they're working together to complete a plan by next week for a 1,776-foot tower at the World Trade Center site. "People know there are differences," Daniel Libeskind said. "It's not easy. But we're working toward reconciling those differences and creating something that everybody will be proud of." David Childs added: "We've been working together since the middle of July, and we've made tremendous progress. We're not finished." (Associated Press)

Pragmatism for New York New Visions Co-Founder - Dec 12, 2003
Fame is what Daniel Libeskind, the big winner in the urban reality sweepstakes to anoint a lead architect for the resurrection of the World Trade Center, is basking in or suffering through, depending on his appetite for cutting a high-profile swath by creating world-class architecture from a disaster. Resignation is almost what Bruce S. Fowle, a prominent yet low-key peer Ă‘ no kooky glasses, no silly scarf, no gel on the cranium or speckled beard Ă‘ is feeling as the towers grow taller and clunkier and the planning ordeal crawls on. But not quite. (New York Times)

Goldman Sachs Wants to Build Tower Across from Ground Zero - Dec 12, 2003
Goldman Sachs is seeking subsidies to build in New York, where its headquarters have long been located. Henry M. Paulson, the firm's chairman, has told the governor and the mayor that Goldman wants its own tower, on what is known as Site 26 at Battery Park City, and wants some of the same cash grants, tax breaks and tax-free financing that are available downtown right now, according to state and city officials who are working with the bank. (New York Times)

Freedom Tower Collaboration Breaking Down - Dec 11, 2003
The fight over the Ground Zero Freedom Tower has spiraled completely out of control, with accusations of a "Watergate break-in" and bitter feuding between the two key architects, sources said yesterday. As the two go head to head over their dueling plans for the 1,776-foot tower's design, top aides to Gov. Pataki and officials at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation were scrambling yesterday to salvage the fractured partnership. (New York Post)

Concern Over 9/11 Health Registry - Dec 11, 2003
Some Lower Manhattan residents continue to feel shortchanged by the cityÕs World Trade Center Health Registry, even though anyone who lived south of Canal St. on Sept. 11, 2001 is eligible to enroll. Nearly 30 local residents and workers attended a forum on the health registry last Thursday at the Downtown Information Center at 25 Broad St. Some participants told assistant health commissioner Dr. Polly Thomas that the interview portion of the registry seemed geared toward emergency workers. If residents are not asked detailed questions about their experiences on and after 9/11, then the study will not be able to address their potential long-term health concerns, some residents fear. (Downtown Express)

EPA Releases Downtown Lead Tests - Dec 11, 2003
Lead was the most common contaminant found among the 263 Lower Manhattan apartments the Environmental Protection Agency tested for a range of possible 9/11-related toxins, according to results released on Monday. Of the 222 apartments E.P.A. contractors tested before and after cleaning, 70, or 31.5 percent, had lead levels before cleaning that exceeded the agencyÕs conservative benchmark of 25 micrograms per square foot. After cleaning, 16 apartments still had levels of lead above the E.P.A. standard. E.P.A. spokesperson Mary Mears cautioned that urban environments often have background lead, making it hard to tell whether the lead detected in wipe tests came from the World Trade Center collapse. (Downtown Express)

Power Struggle Over Freedom Tower - Dec 11, 2003
The two architects on the Ground Zero Freedom Tower project can't agree on a design, with one even bringing his lawyer to a meeting, sources said yesterday. The fractious relationship between Ground Zero master planner Daniel Libeskind and architect David Childs imploded on Monday, exactly a week before Gov. Pataki's deadline for the two to produce a concept for the tower. (New York Daily News)

Man Convicted of Crime Avoids Jail Because of Service on 9/11 - Dec 11, 2003
At ground zero, David Margules was a celebrated figure. He took thousands of photographs of the firefighters at work and captured a famous image of crossed beams, which he called "Crucifix." One of his pictures, he says, is in the White House. But Mr. Margules had a festering problem that dated from before the terror attacks. Yesterday, his two worlds collided in Federal District Court in Brooklyn whenhe came before Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis for sentencing for securities fraud. (New York Times)

Freedom Tower Vision Will Be Childs' -- not Libeskind's - Dec 11, 2003
In the middle of what state officials are always proud to describe as a transparent planning process, a private developer has been pursuing his own vision for the World Trade Center site. This may put both Mr. Pataki and Mr. Libeskind in an awkward spot next week, when the governor is supposed to receive the final design and then, presumably, present it to the public. Artful language may be needed to reconcile Mr. Childs's design with Mr. Libeskind's plan, if the goal, indeed, is to paint this as a seamless and inevitable transition. (New York Times)

Bob Kerrey is Put on Federal 9/11 Commission - Dec 10, 2003
Bob Kerrey, the former Democratic senator from Nebraska, was appointed on Tuesday to the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a panel he will join with six months left in its inquiry. Mr. Kerrey, who was a vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee when he was in Congress and who is president of the New School University in Manhattan, will replace Max Cleland, the former Democratic senator from Georgia. (New York Times)

Libeskind's Design Was Intended to Play to the Press, Says Partner - Dec 10, 2003
Key elements of Daniel Libeskind's Ground Zero plan - including the decision to model the Freedom Tower on the Statue of Liberty - were driven as much by questions of how they would play in the media as by aesthetics or architecture, according to the planner's design partner. Gary Hack admitted he had "some reservations" about the Libeskind team's political-style methods. (New York Daily News)

Police Left in the Dark On Terrorism Intelligence, Complains State Official - Dec 10, 2003
Nearly 70,000 cops across New York who could be used as "foot soldiers" in the war against terror are out of the loop when it comes to accessing vital intelligence, a counterterrorism expert warned yesterday. "Not using police and sheriffs who are out there on the streets and highways and in our communities effectively in this regard is inexcusable," said James Kallstrom, Gov. Pataki's senior adviser on homeland security. (New York Daily News)

Memorial Needs Vision, says Libeskind - Dec 10, 2003
Any memorial chosen for the World Trade Center site should link the city to the past yet move New Yorkers toward the future, architect Daniel Libeskind said Tuesday. Libeskind, who submitted the winning design for the redevelopment of the site, said he would work to integrate the vision of the winner of the memorial competition into his guidelines for the site. (Associated Press)

More Revisions for New York's Tallest Tower - Dec 10, 2003
The nearly completed design for the signature tower at the World Trade Center site would recapture the title of world's tallest building for New York City without forcing anyone to work higher than 70 stories in the sky. Gov. George E. Pataki, who effectively controls the rebuilding process at ground zero, will unveil the plan next week. It will bear little resemblance to the asymmetrical and angular design by Daniel Libeskind that has been in the public eye for almost a year. Instead, it is largely the work of David M. Childs, the architect for the tower's developer, Larry A. Silverstein. (New York Times)

Libeskind Won With Smear Campaign, Says A Member of His Team - Dec 09, 2003
Architect Daniel Libeskind launched a political-style name-calling campaign against a rival design team to undermine its chances of being chosen as Ground Zero master planner, according to one of Libeskind's partners. In a lecture at SUNY Buffalo on Oct. 8, urban planner Gary Hack described the competition for the job - which Libeskind eventually won - as "the architectural equivalent of nuclear war." (New York Post)

Assemblyman Doesn't Want Liberty Bonds Used for Queens Power Plant - Dec 07, 2003
A Queens assemblyman is threatening legal action to stop the backers of a proposed power plant from using New York Liberty Bonds to fund the troubled project. "This is a continuing pattern of preferential treatment over more worthy projects," said Assemblyman Mike Gianaris, a Democrat from Astoria, who's weighing a lawsuit to block the bond issue. (New York Post)

Non-Finalists Discuss Their Memorial Designs - Dec 07, 2003
Some 60 people, including a 6-year-old boy, who were among the 5,000 entrants who submitted Ground Zero memorial designs, and lost, met in lower Manhattan yesterday to protest the closed-door judging process that produced the eight finalist proposals. The group ranged from a New York heart surgeon to a first-grader. (New York Post)

A Look At Some Of The Other Memorial Designs - Dec 07, 2003
The eight design finalists for a Ground Zero memorial have been met with fierce criticism and a call for the jury to take a second look at some of the 5,193 submissions that didn't make the cut - but a review of dozens of these also-rans helps to underscore how difficult the judge's job has been. (New York Post )

Corporate Incentive Program Being Rewritten to Focus on Lower Manhattan - Dec 06, 2003
A deal has been struck to renew a major corporate incentive program that will help lure jobs to lower Manhattan from outside the city, The Post has learned. The Relocation and Employment Assistance Program, known as REAP, will provide companies with $3,000 per job for 12 years if they come to downtown from outside the city. (New York Post)

Jordanian King to Advise Police Department on Terrorism - Dec 06, 2003
For the first time in NYPD history, a foreign head of state will visit Police Headquarters and address the department's brain trust about terrorism and international affairs, The Post has learned. Under tight security, King Abdullah II of Jordan will speak to an assembly of supervising cops above the rank of captain on Monday at the third session of a lecture series begun by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. (New York Post)

Judge Rules Against Forcing Disqualified Memorial Design into Contest - Dec 05, 2003
A Manhattan judge yesterday sank the Twin Piers proposal for a Ground Zero memorial, refusing to order development officials to include it among the finalists being judged by the 9/11 jury. State Supreme Court Justice William Wetzel ruled that Twin Piers designer Fred Bernstein tried to get around the rules of the memorial competition, which barred a person from submitting more than one proposal. (New York Post)

Outrage Over 9/11 Video Game - Dec 05, 2003
A ghoulish Internet video game challenging players to shoot down passenger jets before they hit the twin towers is a huge hit - outraging families of Sept. 11 victims. "My daughter was on one of the planes," Tom Roger, father of slain American Airlines flight attendant Jean Roger, told the Daily News. (New York Daily News)

Ex-Senator to Leave 9/11 Panel - Dec 05, 2003
Max Cleland, a former senator from Georgia and one of five Democrats on the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, is expected to resign within weeks, creating a vacancy with only six months left in the inquiry, commission officials said today. (New York Times)

Memorial Jury Wanted to Avoid Public Pressure With Single Stage Contest - Dec 04, 2003
Anticipating a frenzy of public criticism, the Ground Zero memorial jury pushed to keep all the designs secret until a winner was picked - but officials running the competition insisted on putting the eight finalists on display, sources told The Post. Numerous jury members, including Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, warned that unveiling the finalists before a second stage of judging would make it difficult for them to do their job without coming under intense public pressure, said the sources, who are familiar with the panel's concerns. (New York Post)

Feds Deliver $2.85 Billion in Tranportation Aid to Lower Manhattan - Dec 04, 2003
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta jetted to the Big Apple yesterday to announce the delivery of $2.85 billion in transit funding for lower Manhattan. The cash - part of a $4.5 billion federal transportation aid package stemming from 9/11 - will help fund three downtown projects. More than half the dough will help transform the new temporary World Trade Center PATH terminal into a permanent facility. The remaining $1.1 billion will go toward creating a Fulton Street transit center that will link 12 subway lines and the PATH train, and expanding the South Ferry subway terminal. (New York Post)

City Passes Resolution to Honor 9/11 Priest - Dec 04, 2003
An effort to award FDNY chaplain Mychal Judge a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom got a boost yesterday from the City Council. The council passed a resolution calling on Congress to honor the Rev. Judge, a beloved Franciscan friar who was killed in the 9/11 terror attacks. (New York Post)

City Employees Arrested for 9/11 Charity Scam - Dec 04, 2003
The Department of Investigation yesterday arrested 10 people - nine of them current or former city employees - for allegedly stealing more than $55,000 from 9/11 charities. The defendants, who worked for several city agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the Human Resources Administration, falsely claimed that their income had been reduced or that they had lost their jobs as a result of World Trade Center attacks, the DOI said. (New York Post)

Fire Department Sends Counselors to Station Depicted in NY Post Comic - Dec 04, 2003
The FDNY sent counselors yesterday to a Manhattan firehouse depicted in a New York Post cartoon that mocked the Bravest killed in the terror attacks. In the Post cartoon, printed Tuesday, a firefighter with a "35" on his helmet tells a dying comrade at Ground Zero: "Goodbye dear friend. By the way, is your wife free Tuesday?" Counselors talked with firefighters at Ladder 35/Engine 40 on the upper West Side, which lost 12 men in the World Trade Center attacks. (New York Daily News)

Host Marriott Gets $370 For Loss at Ground Zero - Dec 04, 2003
Host Marriott Corp., the owner of the New York World Trade Center Marriott and New York Marriott Financial Center, announced yesterday that it has received about $370 million worth of insurance payments, resolving virtually most of its outstanding issues relating to the Sept. 11 attacks. The announcement comes about two months after Bethesda, Md.-based Host Marriott entered into an agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to surrender the site and terminate a 99-year lease that was to expire in 2094. (Newsday)

Bloomberg Agrees to Give Transcripts of Emergency Calls to Federal Commission - Dec 04, 2003
In an abrupt reversal, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City announced on Wednesday that he had agreed to release records of emergency 911 calls and other materials sought by the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Mr. Bloomberg's action comes nearly two weeks after the commission announced that it had issued a subpoena to New York City for records related to the attacks. The panel said that the city's refusal to turn over the information had "significantly impeded" its investigation. (New York Times)

Nadler Criticizes Maloney's Memorial Bill - Dec 03, 2003
A proposed bill by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney about the World Trade Center memorial has angered Downtown leaders and reignited her rivalry with U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who accused his fellow Democrat of Òinvading my district.Ó The bill would authorize a study to see whether it is feasible to preserve the bedrock area where the Twin Towers once stood. If the area was subsequently landmarked before construction on the memorial began, the billÕs detractors say it would lead to delays, particularly since none of the eight possible designs announced in November preserve the entire footprint bedrock area. (Downtown Express)

Scorsese to Make Statue of Liberty Film as Fundraiser - Dec 03, 2003
Martin Scorsese came to Battery Park last week to announce he would produce and narrate a documentary about the Statue of Liberty to help raise $5 million in order to reopen the statue, which has been closed to the public since 9/11. (Downtown Express)

New Vision for Wall Street Will Look Nicer - Dec 03, 2003
The new plan for the financial district is to replace the pick-up trucks that obstruct Wall St., Broad St. Exchange Pl. and New St. for a couple of blocks with less unsightly security barriers. At Broadway and Wall St. and Broadway and Exchange Pl., there will be bollards to block vehicles. A few days before last WednesdayÕs announcement, the silver metal Òbicycle rackÓ barricades blocking pedestrians and vehicles from the Big BoardÕs building were replaced with black decorative fencing. In addition to the aesthetic improvement, the change increased the space where people can walk on Wall and Broad Sts. (Downtown Express)

Community Board One Rejects One Memorial Design, Criticizes the Rest - Dec 03, 2003
Community Board 1Õs World Trade Center redevelopment committee quickly ruled out one of the eight proposals for the ground zero memorial then spent most of the rest of Monday night lamenting at the lack of vision in the other seven. The boardÕs executive committee is expected to vote on a memorial resolution at its next meeting on Dec. 10, 49 Chambers St., room 709 at 6 p.m. in the hopes the 13-member memorial jury put together by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. will listen to the boardÕs recommendations. (Downtown Express)

Liberty Bonds Should Focus on Downtown, Says Rebuilding Official - Dec 03, 2003
A top downtown rebuilding official took a swipe at City Hall yesterday, saying it was "a mistake" to use tax-free Liberty Bonds outside lower Manhattan. The comment was the sharpest yet in a fight brewing between Gov. Pataki's office and Mayor Bloomberg over how to spend $8billion in bonds created to spur downtown development after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack. (New York Daily News)

Fire Department Attacks Post Over 9/11 Cartoon - Dec 03, 2003
Fire Department brass and rank-and-file Bravest blasted the New York Post yesterday for a cartoon showing a firefighter telling a dying comrade at Ground Zero: "Goodbye dear friend. By the way, is your wife free Tuesday?" Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta sent the Post a letter calling the cartoon "tasteless," sources said. (New York Daily News)

Jury Can Change Memorial Plans - Dec 03, 2003
The 13-member jury deciding on the final design of the World Trade Center memorial will have the flexibility to make changes, Kevin Rampe, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., said Tuesday. "There's a high chance the selected design will be different from any of the eight you see out there now," Rampe told more than 500 attendees at a breakfast sponsored by Crain's NY Business, where he also discussed his vision for transportation and bond financing for lower Manhattan. "What was seen in the press was more of a first draft." (Newsday)

New Evidence Suggests That Failing Floors Caused Towers to Collapse - Dec 03, 2003
Federal investigators have said that new evidence supported earlier suggestions that the floor supports in the World Trade Center began failing in the minutes before the towers fell and might have played a major role in their collapse. The investigators, who are carrying out a two-year, $16 million analysis of the collapses, made it clear that they had not yet settled on a final explanation. They said, though, that their findings gave new weight to a theory that the failure of the floors weakened the towers' internal structure to the point that the entire buildings came down. (New York Times)

Disputed Sports Museum Totes Itself as Boon to Post 9/11 Economy - Dec 03, 2003
A project called the National Sports Museum has been selling itself as a way to spark New York's economy post 9/11. Its supporters speak of getting funding from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. But those interested in starting a different sports museum in the city are not crazy about the idea. (New York Times)

Port Authority Pays Silverstein's Debt - Dec 02, 2003
The Port Authority agreed yesterday to use $710 million in World Trade Center insurance proceeds as part of a reordering of the project's tangled finances - buying back the rebuilding rights to the WTC mall and paying off the mortgage of Twin Towers leaseholder Larry Silverstein. (New York Post)

Firefighters Union Criticizes FDNY for Inappropriate Relationships - Dec 02, 2003
A powerful firefighters union boss says the FDNY outright ignored the "unquestionable certainty" that some firemen would ignore their own families and get "too close" to the widows and kids of their fallen Sept. 11 comrades. "From the get-go, the Fire Department acted irresponsibly," United Firefighters of America Manhattan trustee Rudy Sanfillipo told The Post. (New York Post)

Police Commissioner Lobbies for Security Funds - Dec 02, 2003
Kelly, regarded among the country's top counter-terrorism experts, isn't that sanguine when it comes to the way the Bush administration has been shortchanging this city. He doesn't hide his frustration at the fact that the city is getting about 6 percent of the anti-terror funding, down from 25 percent two years ago. Kelly has been shuttling back and forth between New York and Washington trying to convince politicians who dispense the money to understand that New York is still the No. 1 target. (Newsday)

Councilmember Thinks Bloomberg Should Push Harder for Security Cash - Dec 02, 2003
The chairman of the City Council's public safety committee thinks the Bloomberg administration should be doing a lot more to squeeze additional homeland security funding from the federal government. In a letter he sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) threatened to hold public hearings in January if the mayor didn't turn over detailed accounting of the city's homeland security expenses. (Newsday)

Some Firefighters Have Left Spouses for 9/11 Widows - Dec 01, 2003
At least a dozen of New York's Bravest - some of them assigned to look after Sept. 11 widows - have left their wives for the spouses of their comrades killed in the terror attacks, sources told The Post. (New York Post)

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