Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Rebuilding NYC December 2002

Dozens Defrauding September 11 Relief Agencies - Dec 31, 2002
Since September 11, many people have been caught capitalizing on the grief and chaos of the moment by fraudulently claiming to have lost loved ones. New York City authorities say that they alone have made 37 arrests, and others have cropped up around the country. (New York Times)

Subway Link for AirTrain Could Be Costlier than Predicted - Dec 30, 2002
Newly discovered engineering problems could add significantly to the cost of a proposed $1.9 billion subway connection between lower Manhattan and the AirTrain commuter rail station at Jamaica, Queens. The so-called Super Shuttle proposal has been pushed by downtown landowner Brookfield Properties as a quick and relatively affordable way of creating access to lower Manhattan. (New York Post)

After 9/11, a Torrent of Money, and Anger - Dec 30, 2002
In the months after nearly 2,800 people died in the terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center, the Bush administration pledged $21.4 billion to address the emergency. More than 15 months later, some $4.5 billion to $5 billion has made its way from Washington to New York. Many victims, elected officials, business executives and others are both confused and angry about why, more than a year after the most serious terrorist attack on American soil, less than a quarter of the federal government's promise of financial assistance has been realized. (New York Times)

No Serious Health Risks for Public Near Ground Zero, E.P.A. Reports - Dec 28, 2002
Most people living or working in the area around ground zero are unlikely to suffer serious short- or long-term health effects from the terror attack, according to a draft report released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency. But the report said anyone exposed in the early hours was at risk of chronic sickness, as many firefighters have already reported. (New York Times)

Fire Union Seeks To Stop Staff Cutbacks - Dec 27, 2002
Attorneys for the city firefighters union, claiming the World Trade Center attack had severely affected firefighter work attendance, told a state judge Thursday that he should stop the city from reducing engine company staffing. In arguments before State Supreme Court Justice James G. Starkey in Brooklyn, the Uniformed Firefighters Association was trying to halt the Bloomberg administration from eliminating the fifth firefighter per tour of duty at 53 engine companies throughout the city. (Newsday)

WTC Grant Deadline Approaches - Dec 26, 2002
It's last call for downtown businesses looking for a shot of cash. The World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant Program, which has handed out $437 million to 10,579 struggling downtown businesses since the Sept.11 attacks, will stop taking applications Dec. 31. There's $44 million in grant money left. (New York Daily News)

WTC Steel To Be Used in Navy Warship - Dec 26, 2002
Steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center will be used to build the Navy's USS New York, a warship named in honor of those who perished in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. (New York Post)

Trade Center Plans Exhibit Helps Retailers at Winter Garden - Dec 26, 2002
Let there be ...Christmas lights adorn the World Financial Center's Winter Garden, where World Trade Center designs are on display. The exhibit of nine new World Trade Center designs at the Winter Garden has been a holiday gift to several merchants at the World Financial Center. The plans have attracted thousands of visitors since they went on display last Thursday - bringing welcome foot traffic to the shops and restaurants that ring the Winter Garden. (New York Daily News)

Architects Defend Plans - Dec 25, 2002
World-renowned architects defended their Ground Zero plans yesterday against former Mayor Rudy Giuliani after he slammed them for stressing big buildings and not a memorial. "I think that Rudy's playing both ends against the middle," said architect Peter Eisenman, who submitted one of the nine new plans. (New York Post)

Could The World Trade Center Become The World Cultural Center? - Dec 25, 2002
When architect Rafael Vi–oly unveiled the proposal for a World Cultural Center to replace the World Trade Center, he called it "a little bit extreme." On closer inspection, however, this plan developed by the THINK team (Shigeru Ban, Frederic Schwartz, Ken Smith, and Vi–oly) opens new possibilities even as it opens the sky. Among the nine new designs broached for ground zero, this was the only one not focused on office space. (Village Voice)

For Downtown Residents: Bittersweet Homecoming at Ground Zero - Dec 24, 2002
After 15 months, it is finally time to return to 125 Cedar Street, to live day to day, side by side, with ground zero, in a neighborhood at once strange and familiar. The residents of the squat turn-of-the-century loft building confront their return with a welter of emotions Ă‘ anxiety, sadness, joy, longing for the past, but mainly relief. Many had shuffled from one temporary apartment to the next, adrift in a city focused on the dead. (New York Times)

Giuliani Criticizes WTC Plans - Dec 24, 2002
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani panned the new design proposals for Ground Zero yesterday, saying they fail to capture the profound meaning of Sept. 11. "None of them accomplished overall what I thought should be [done]," Giuliani said of the nine plans released last week. (New York Post)

9/11 Dust Seen as Less Toxic Than Feared - Dec 24, 2002
The soot in the air of Lower Manhattan in the first few days after the Sept. 11 attack was less likely to cause cancer and other long-term health problems than many had feared, according to a report released yesterday. The report, by a team of environmental scientists studying the pollution caused by the burning and collapse of the World Trade Center towers, found that dust particles collected at 14 sites from Sept. 12 through 17, 2001, were primarily larger than those much more dangerous particles that are more likely to lodge deeply in the lungs and stay there. The larger particles are more easily expelled. (New York Times)

Wils: Bloomberg Plan Threatens Historic Districts - Dec 24, 2002
Madelyn Wils, the chairperson of Community Board 1, says that Mayor Mike Bloomberg's vision for Lower Manhattan poses a threat to historic districts in the Seaport and Tribeca. Wils told fellow C.B. 1 members that Bloomberg's plan, announced Dec. 12, includes a housing tower on the post office site in the Seaport's landmark district. "What we do not support - will not negotiate further on is the protection of our historic districts," Wils said at the full board meeting Dec. 17. ĂŠĂŠĂŠĂŠĂŠĂŠ (Downtown Express)

Port Authority Design Engrages Silverstein - Dec 23, 2002
A fuming twin towers leaseholder Larry Silverstein showed Port Authority architects the door after the developer saw the agency's Ground Zero work, sources said yesterday. That's because a design by architect Stanton Eckstut would create a truck access ramp and loading docks at Greenwich St., preventing the roadway from being fully restored through the World Trade Center site. (New York Daily News)

Christmas at Ground Zero - Dec 23, 2002
For the last three weeks, relatives of victims have been allowed to go to the bottom of the pit on Sunday afternoons. Many families see it as a cemetery of sorts and are eager to spend time at the site. Yesterday, about a dozen families showed up, security officials said. While the victims' families sought private moments, thousands of New Yorkers and tourists milled around the site, chatting, shopping and posing for pictures. (New York Times)

Tribute in Light Returns - Dec 23, 2002
A group of relatives of World Trade Center victims flipped the switch on their own miniature Tribute in Light on Staten Island yesterday - after City Hall blocked a full-blown display. The families parked a flatbed truck with two sets of powerful spotlights near a local WTC memorial known as the Angels Circle, at the corner of Fingerboard Road and Hylan Boulevard. (New York Post)

9/11 Memorial Park Re-opens - Dec 23, 2002
City officials will open today a redesigned Memorial Park - an area behind the medical examiner's office where hundreds of 9/11 victims' relatives gather to be near their loved ones' remains. Memorial Park had been closed for several weeks while officials remade the area into a serene shrine in time for Christmas. (New York Daily News)

WTC Plan Deadline Extended - Dec 22, 2002
A final World Trade Center site plan will be chosen within two months, said a key planning official, brushing off critics worried there isn't enough time to analyze the nine plans presented Wednesday by seven teams of renowned architects. After a two-week break, a joint committee of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and Port Authority officials will meet in January to decide on a final plan, committee chairman Roland Betts said Friday. He added that if the decision isn't made by Feb. 1, it will be made by Feb. 15. (Newsday)

Rebuilding Below Ground Zero Is at Issue - Dec 20, 2002
For months, vocal family members of the World Trade Center dead have called for the one-acre squares where the twin towers stood to be preserved for a memorial to the victims, not only on the surface but also down to the bedrock some 85 feet below street level. On Wednesday, when new plans for the site by seven groups of architects were unveiled, several drew on that sentiment. But if those plans are adopted, space reserved for a memorial below ground level could create significant challenges for officials in planning the underground elements of a rebuilt trade center site. (New York Times)

Experts Say Enormous Office Towers Ignore Downtown's Realities - Dec 20, 2002
The new World Trade Center designs may be eye-catching and inventive - but no one is likely to build the super-tall towers many of them propose, developers, architects and real-estate experts said yesterday. Many of the designs call for building enormous office towers that would dwarf the old World Trade Center buildings and be the tallest in the world. But critics said proposals like British architect Norman Foster's 1,764-foot "kissing" towers - taller than the original Twin Towers - ignore the realities of the real estate market. (New York Post)

New WTC Models On Public Display - Dec 20, 2002
Hundreds of people flocked to the Winter Garden last night to see the newest collection of plans for the World Trade Center site, in an impromptu opening before today's official public display of the exhibition featuring nine designs. (Newsday)

New Plans Praised, Criticized - Dec 20, 2002
The nine new visions for Ground Zero were praised yesterday for their innovation and visually stunning images. But one common theme - the L-shaped formation of buildings around the so-called bathtub area, which includes the twin towers' footprints - was criticized yesterday as unimaginative. (New York Daily News)

Foster's Design Top Among Post Readers - Dec 20, 2002
British architect Norman Foster's bold twin towers - which would be the world's tallest - emerged yesterday as a slim favorite in a Post Web poll on the new World Trade Center designs. But the survey also found there was no overwhelming favorite among the nine new designs - which could complicate matters for redevelopment officials as they seek public input. (New York Post)

WTC Frauds Discovered - Dec 20, 2002
Federal authorities yesterday nailed two scam artists who ripped off almost $350,000 in World Trade Center relief funds by falsely claiming their businesses were damaged by the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said. (New York Post)

Plans for Ground Zero Unveiled - Dec 19, 2002
Seven teams of architects from around the world unveiled new designs for the World Trade Center site yesterday, giving a remarkable civic tutorial on architecture and contemporary urban design aimed at mending the hole left in Lower Manhattan by the Sept. 11 attack. The designs, the subject of secrecy and speculation since the teams began work 12 weeks ago, include a broad array of elements: quiet memorial gardens and scenic plazas in the sky, soaring towers of bare scaffolding and sprawling canopies of glass. Four include what would be the tallest building in the world, and all set aside an area for a memorial to the victims of 9/11. (New York Times)

In Design World, A Mixed Reaction - Dec 19, 2002
The nine visions for the World Trade Center unveiled by the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. yesterday left architects and urban design experts feeling excited, puzzled, irritated and overwhelmed. But some observers pointed out that, imaginative though they were, all the proposals were shaped by a narrow yet ambitious program issued by the development corporation, which required a massive scale and millions of square feet in office space. (Newsday)

Plans Call for Millions of Square Feet of Offices - Dec 19, 2002
If you can sell it, they may come. That was the practical assessment of real-estate experts, who said yesterday that the World Trade Center rebuilding plan that excites a potential user for the office and retail space is the one that will be economically feasible. The plans presented yesterday contain millions of square feet of offices, shops and hotels that along with public spaces, cultural and transportation facilities, will cost billions of dollars to construct. (Newsday)

Victims' Families Preferred Designs with Most Memorial Space - Dec 19, 2002
Relatives of Sept. 11 victims showed an early preference for two of the new World Trade Center designs unveiled yesterday: the pair with the greatest area set aside for memorial space. The designs by Studio Daniel Libeskind and United Architects met with approval from family members concerned with preserving the "bathtub," the six-acre expanse bounded by retaining walls built to keep seepage from the Hudson River away from the original Twin Towers. (New York Post)

Fast-track Public Process Leaves Just Weeks for Public Input - Dec 19, 2002
Downtown planners are hoping that one or two of the design proposals for Ground Zero emerge as clear public favorites - making it easier for them to narrow their options in the hurry-up time frame they've been ordered to meet. (New York Post)

Unveiling Today for WTC Designs - Dec 18, 2002
Shallow pools of water where the twin towers once stood. A memorial museum leading to the bedrock below. Trees studded with lights honoring the 2,800 World Trade Center victims. A structure soaring nearly 1,800 feet into the sky - 500 feet taller than the fallen towers. Those are some of the ideas the public will see when lower Manhattan planners pull back the curtain on nine designs for the Trade Center site today, capping eight weeks of intense work by some of the world's best architects. (New York Daily News)

Next: Funding WTC Projects - Dec 18, 2002
Not too long after the new plans for Lower Manhattan are released Wednesday, the discussion will quickly move to a less visionary topic: money. In recent months, what amounts to a preliminary budget for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site and the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan has begun to form. Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered the most detailed public cost breakdown last week. (Newsday)

City Considers Plan to Control Billions in Ground Zero Insurance Proceeds - Dec 17, 2002
City officials looking to pay for Mayor Bloomberg's vision of a revamped downtown are considering a plan that - within a year - could give them control of the billions in insurance proceeds due on the World Trade Center. Under the scenario, to which Bloomberg alluded last week when he outlined his grand scheme for lower Manhattan, the city would first have to strike a deal with the Port Authority to transfer ownership of the 16-acre site. (New York Post)

Families, Residents Offer WTC Plan - Dec 17, 2002
The World Trade Center site should be divided into three sections, including a nine-acre memorial area containing the footprints of the Twin Towers, a coalition of residents, architects and family groups said yesterday. The proposals emerged from several meetings among members of the different interest groups over the past few months which had been often portrayed at odds in the redevelopment process. (Newsday)

WTC Architect Team Also Worked on Mayor's Downtown Project - Dec 17, 2002
The architects who designed Mayor Michael Bloomberg's vision for downtown also have a plan for the World Trade Center site. Peterson Littenberg Architects, which won a $375,000 contract to provide consulting services for the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. in May, is one of seven teams presenting their trade center visions tomorrow. (Newsday)

Ground Zero Architects Warned: No Leaking Plans - Dec 17, 2002
Hearing reports that The New York Times planned to publish photographs, drawings and other visual images that previewed rebuilding plans for the World Trade Center site, a state agency warned architects against cooperating with the paper. (Newsday)

New Designs to Be Unveiled Wednesday - Dec 16, 2002
When seven teams of architects unveil their designs for the World Trade Center site on Wednesday, the public will be treated to an unusual seminar on innovative design and architecture that is rarely a part of normal civic life. A news conference to introduce the designs Ă‘ a three-hour presentation, to be broadcast live on local television and edited into a videotape that will be available at every public library in the city Ă‘ will include discourses from the architects themselves, models of their work and drawings of views from the tops of buildings and upon emerging from the subway. (New York Times)

9 New Towers Among WTC Plans to be Unveiled - Dec 16, 2002
From filling Ground Zero with nine office towers to seven memorial locations that extend beyond its boundaries, the new plans for the World Trade Center site show distinctly different ways of rebuilding what was lost Sept. 11. The plans by seven teams will be unveiled Wednesday and include a sphere to dominate downtown's skyline and the world's tallest building, at approximately 1,500 feet. (Newsday)

Architects Are Proud of Their WTC Plans - Dec 16, 2002
Architect Daniel Libeskind, whose firm is one of seven teams creating new schemes for the World Trade Center site, said the work that went into the designs was intensely complex - and must be treated that way. "It's not just "a project that is a pretty picture," Libeskind said of the work, which the teams had just eight weeks to develop. (New York Daily News)

Architects: Judge New WTC Designs On More Than Aesthetics - Dec 15, 2002
Designs for a redeveloped Ground Zero will be unveiled Wednesday, and architects are pleading with the public - don't judge a building by its cover. A group of local architects, independent of the official redevelopment effort, are holding workshops at the South Street Seaport this weekend, developing aids for public understanding of the new designs based more on their impact to the area than aesthetics. (New York Post)

WTC Study: Rescuers Still Suffering Ailments - Dec 15, 2002
Fifteen months after the twin towers attack, health problems remain an intractable issue: More than half of the 2,500 rescue workers and volunteers Mount Sinai Medical Center doctors have screened to date have persistent upper respiratory inflammation and at least one in four people has abnormal breathing consistent with lower respiratory disease. That is more than triple what is found in the general population. (New York Daily News)

Kissinger Pulls Out as Chief of Inquiry Into 9/11 Attacks - Dec 14, 2002
Henry A. Kissinger abruptly resigned today as chairman of the commission intended to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks, informing President Bush that he could not serve if it meant revealing the clients of his consulting firm. President Bush, who aides said was surprised by the decision, vowed to find a replacement quickly. (New York Times)

Injured 9/11 Rescue Workers Hold Off Lawsuit - Dec 14, 2002
Almost 2,000 firefighters, cops and other workers who said they suffered respiratory ailments at Ground Zero will hold off suing the city for a year. Under an agreement that could potentially save tens of millions of dollars, lawsuits over inadequate respiratory equipment will be frozen to allow the plaintiffs, who include Emergency Medical Service, sanitation and construction workers, to apply to the federal Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund. (New York Daily News)

Transit Officials Study A Quick Trip to Lower Manhattan for Commuters - Dec 14, 2002
Transit officials are mulling a plan to whisk Long Island Rail Road riders and airport travelers to lower Manhattan by using a track on the J subway line, sources said yesterday. The move, being studied by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, would allow LIRR commuters and Kennedy Airport passengers to take a new super-express to lower Manhattan from the Jamaica station in Queens. The express would use a third line of track on the J and Z line, sources said. (New York Daily News)

Mayor's Proposal Envisions Lower Manhattan as an Urban Hamlet - Dec 13, 2002
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday offered his vision of the future of Lower Manhattan: a collection of neighborhoods stitched together by large parks and broad pedestrian walkways, with a direct mass transit link to Kennedy Airport via a new tunnel under the East River. Under Mr. Bloomberg's plan, Lower Manhattan would essentially be transformed from an ailing financial center with pockets of residential developments into an urban hamlet of housing, schools, libraries and movie theaters, as well as other businesses, some of which would benefit from a generous new federal tax package. (New York Times)

Development Corporation Ready for Next Step - Dec 13, 2002
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation yesterday authorized $300,000 to pay for the work of whichever teams are picked to refine their designs for the World Trade Center site. A final site plan, to be negotiated between LMDC and the Port Authority, is due Jan. 31. (Newsday)

New Designs for 9/11 Site to Be Shown to the Public - Dec 13, 2002
A sx-week public exhibit at the World Financial Center and public hearings in New York and New Jersey will be part of an effort by rebuilding officials to gather comment on the new designs for the World Trade Center site that will be unveiled next week. The plans for gathering comment on the new designs have upset the leaders of some civic groups that have been active in the public discussion on the rebuilding. (New York Times)

Development Corporation to Hold More Hearings on WTC Plans - Dec 13, 2002
The agency overseeing the redevelopment of lower Manhattan said yesterday it would boost public input on a new set of designs for Ground Zero to be unveiled Wednesday. Amid criticism that it wasn't allowing the public enough opportunity to weigh in, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. said it would hold at least three hearings in addition to sponsoring an ongoing exhibit of the new designs. (New York Daily News)

Relatives Call for a Two-Block Vendor Free Zone Around Ground Zero - Dec 13, 2002
Relatives of 9/11 victims said yesterday that vendors who peddle terror attack-themed merchandise near Ground Zero are selling "murderabilia" and called for legislation to keep vendors from the site. At a press conference at Church and Liberty Sts., leaders of the group said they have written to Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg and several City Council members asking for a two-block vendor-free zone around the former World Trade Center site. (New York Daily News)

Deadline for Small Business Grants is Near - Dec 12, 2002
As the deadline approaches for one of the biggest government grant programs helping the recovery of Downtown businesses, a walk-in center in Lower Manhattan that provides application assistance saw a steady stream of visitors last week. Applicants at the center at 140 William St. had mixed reviews of the World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant Program, whose deadline is Dec. 31. (Downtown Express)

Mayor to Unveil His Plan for Downtown's Future - Dec 12, 2002
Mayor Michael Bloomberg will formally weigh in today on the debate over the future of lower Manhattan and unveil his vision for the district. In a speech he will give today, Bloomberg is expected to announce an overall strategy that looks beyond the 16 acres of the World Trade Center site and attempts to articulate a future for the entire district - a sprawling area that stretches from the ritzy, almost suburban, confines of Battery Park City in the west to the gritty streets of Chinatown in the east. (Newsday)

Court To Consider Whether 9/11 Was One Attack - Dec 12, 2002
An appeals court agreed Wednesday to hear the issue of whether the two planes that brought down the World Trade Center represented separate attacks, a critical point that could double the multibillion-dollar insurance payout. (Associated Press)

Downtown Retailers Remain in a Rut - Dec 12, 2002
Sales in lower Manhattan are down considerably from two years ago but many merchants don't know whether to blame the lasting aftershocks of Sept. 11 or the economic malaise affecting uptown retailers as well. (Newsday)

Revising WTC Death Count - Dec 12, 2002
A roll call of the dead engraved on memorial placards at Ground Zero includes an inconspicuous black mark covering the name of Nickola Lampley, a 24-year-old Brooklyn woman who authorities believed dead at the World Trade Center until she turned up alive on the first anniversary of the attacks. The symbolic resurrection of Lampley will be followed by others next month when the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. revises the memorial placards. The change will be made to reflect a new official tally of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. It also brings to light how difficult it has been for the city to determine the exact number of the dead. (New York Daily News)

Council Criticizes Tax-free, Luxury Housing Projects - Dec 11, 2002
Councilmembers and housing advocates pressed city and state officials on Monday to allocate more Liberty Bond funding for affordable housing. At a joint hearing of the City Council's Committee on Housing and Buildings and the Select Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment, City Councilmember Alan Gerson and others questioned officials charged with oversight of the Liberty Bonds. (Downtown Express)

Many Call for Forums on Lower Manhattan - Dec 11, 2002
Claiming that redevelopment agencies need to do more public outreach, a coalition of civic groups asked for another interactive public forum to collect ideas for downtown. The Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York, a coalition of more than 75 business, community and environmental groups, wants the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the Port Authority and the city to sponsor another "Listening to the City" session after the Dec. 19 release of new plans for the World Trade Center site. (Newsday)

Developer Seeks $43 Million in Liberty Bonds for Market Rate Housing - Dec 11, 2002
A developer has requested $43 million in tax-free Liberty Bonds to create 91 new apartments downtown. The project involves the renovation of 13 loft buildings and the construction of three new buildings on both sides of Front Street, between Beekman Street and Peck Slip. Nearly all the new apartments would rent at market rates. (New York Post)

Bear, Stearns Threatens Again to Leave City - Dec 11, 2002
For the third time in a decade, Bear, Stearns & Company is demanding tens of millions of dollars in tax breaks and other subsidies from the city. In what has become a familiar bargaining pattern by many of the city's largest corporations, Bear, Stearns has said it would keep the employees in New York if the city provided it with a generous subsidy to move from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. (New York Times)

Christmas Tree Lighted at Ground Zero - Dec 11, 2002
A 32-foot Christmas tree was lighted Tuesday at the World Trade Center site, shining with 3,000 white lights to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attack. (Associated Press)

Senator Clinton Pushes FEMA to Show How 9/11 Funds Have Been Spent - Dec 11, 2002
Concerned that federal officials are withholding disaster aid promised to the city, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) called yesterday for a detailed accounting of how nearly $9 billion in terror recovery funds has been spent. (New York Daily News)

Congressional Committee Examining 9/11 Adopts Report - Dec 11, 2002
The joint Congressional committee investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks voted today to recommend the creation of a cabinet-level director of national intelligence, Congressional officials said. The recommendation was one of about 20 in the committee's final report, which one leader of the panel said was too forgiving of intelligence failures leading up to the attacks. (New York Times)

Master Plan for WTC Site Will Be Done By Jan 31 - Dec 10, 2002
Rebuilding officials said yesterday that the master plan for the World Trade Center site would be done by Jan. 31, just six weeks after proposals from seven teams of architects are presented to the public. The rapid timeline means officials will be soliciting public comment on the design teams' new ideas at the same time that the two lead rebuilding agencies are ruling out some of the ideas. (New York Times)

WTC Plans Include Designs for World's Tallest Building - Dec 10, 2002
Several new plans for Ground Zero call for erecting what would be the tallest building in the world on the disaster site - giving terror-battered lower Manhattan a new, distinctive skyline, sources said yesterday. The new skyscraper would rise about 1,500 feet, eclipsing the world's tallest buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, which stand 1,483 feet. (New York Daily News)

A Huge Glass Room Proposed for WTC Site - Dec 10, 2002
One of the architecture teams working on designs for Ground Zero has proposed building what could be the world's biggest room - an enormous enclosed public space sitting over the footprints of the Twin Towers. The room and several other proposals from three of the seven international design teams working to reimagine Ground Zero were shown behind closed doors yesterday to officials from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and the Port Authority. (New York Post)

Researchers: Key Evidence to WTC Investigation Was Destroyed - Dec 10, 2002
World Trade Center surveillance tapes and maintenance logs are among the missing evidence essential to a two-year investigation into the collapse of the 110-story twin towers, federal officials said Monday. (Associated Press)

Many Concerned About Public Input for New WTC Plans - Dec 9, 2002
As lower Manhattan rebuilding officials move toward finalizing a new master plan for Ground Zero, concern is growing among civic leaders about how much input the public will have. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. will release seven new designs for the World Trade Center site next week - and a final plan is scheduled to be selected by February. But the agency has no intention of holding a forum similar to the summer's sprawling Listening to the City event at the Javits Center. (New York Daily News)

Families Wait for 9/11 Relics - Dec 9, 2002
Tens of thousands of personal relics carefully culled from the World Trade Center rubble - wedding rings, watches, photos and other sentimental artifacts - have yet to be returned to families of the dead. Fifteen months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the desperation of families to recover their loved ones' belongings from the NYPD has grown into a fear that the items never will be given back. (New York Daily News)

Plans To Close Firehouses Must Proceed, Says Official - Dec 8, 2002
The city will have to go ahead with plans to close several firehouses, Deputy Mayor Marc V. Shaw said yesterday, calling an agreement to set up a commission to study the issue a "political punt." Although most public figures have shied away from criticizing the city's uniformed departments in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in which 343 city firefighters died, Shaw had no problem dealing out criticism towards inefficiencies in the fire department. (New York Times)

Silverstein Bid For Taxpayer-Subsidized Bonds On Hold - Dec 7, 2002
City officials have delayed a decision on World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein's bid for $400 million in taxpayer-subsidized bonds - saying they want to make sure he really needs the money. Silverstein is applying for $400 million of Liberty bonds, which are exempt from taxes. Silverstein said 7 World Trade Center, the first building to rise again at the site, would cost $700 million. He is due to receive more than $800 million in insurance for the destroyed buildings. (New York Post)

Without World Trade Center, Port Authority Paying Less In Taxes To City - Dec 7, 2002
The Port Authority's tax payments to the city on the World Trade Center site have been whittled down to a paltry $1.7 million because of the twin towers' collapse - compared with $28 million pre-9/11. The Port Authority still collects $120 million in annual lease payments from developer Larry Silverstein, who leased the twin towers six weeks before they collapsed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. But because the city's tax structure and laws forbid governments from imposing levies on other government agencies, the city isn't entitled to any of it. (New York Daily News)

Deutsche Bank Is Moving to Lower Manhattan Tower - Dec 6, 2002
Deutsche Bank announced to great fanfare yesterday that it would move its national headquarters and 5,500 employees to the beleaguered streets of Lower Manhattan. At a news conference on Wall Street with bank officials, the governor and mayor hailed the company's commitment to the city and granted the German financial company $34.5 million in cash from the World Trade Center job retention program financed by federal aid. Despite the fanfare, Deutsche Bank committed to moving to Lower Manhattan in April 2001, when it struck an agreement to buy the downtown tower at 60 Wall Street for about $600 million as part of a plan to move its New York headquarters from Midtown. (New York Times)

Tomson Urges Real Estate Leaders to Become More Involved Downtown - Dec 6, 2002
Concerned that a third of the commercial space near Ground Zero could become vacant by 2006, a top rebuilding official urged real estate leaders yesterday to get more involved in lower Manhattan's recovery. "If there ever was a critical time to be heard from, it's now," said Lou Tomson, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (New York Daily News)

Whitehead Gave Key Donation to Republican Party - Dec 6, 2002
Downtown development czar John Whitehead gave a whopping $241,000 to the national Republican Party just before the Nov. 5 election, in the crucial final days of the GOP's successful drive to win control of Congress, records show. The Oct. 25 donation made Whitehead one of the Republican National Committee's top donors of unregulated "soft money" in the weeks before it became illegal on Nov. 6. (New York Post)

Assistance for Chinatown Rejected - Dec 6, 2002
City Council speaker Gifford Miller and several other council members criticized Gov. George Pataki yesterday for the recent decision not to award an Empire Zone to Chinatown, where business leaders and activists cite the closure of 65 garment businesses as evidence that the neighborhood is still reeling economically from the Sept. 11 attacks. The Empire Zone Designation Board voted on the day before Thanksgiving to approve the last of six zones, which create tax breaks and incentives for businesses, in Renssalaer County, the home of Republican state Senate leader Joseph Bruno. The other five zones, none in the city, were approved prior to the gubernatorial election. (Newsday)

Ground Zero Opens to Families - Dec 5, 2002
Relatives of World Trade Center victims will be allowed into the Ground Zero pit over the next few weeks, giving them a chance during the holidays to be near what many consider the grave site of their loved ones. Relatives will be allowed to walk to the bottom of the steel ramp at Ground Zero from this Sunday through Jan. 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (New York Post)

FEMA Enforces Deadline Despite Mail Mix-up - Dec 4, 2002
In the weeks before the Nov. 30 deadline for a federal Sept. 11-related aid program, a FEMA bureaucratic foul-up caused the temporary closing of a post office box receiving applications and the return of some applications to their senders. Responding to the news, local politicians and others intensified their demands for an extension of the Nov. 30 deadline for the program. But FEMA officials denied their request, saying that the post office box incident would not hamper people from registering for the program by phone. (Downtown Express)

Downtown Retail Hopes for Big Season - Dec 4, 2002
For weeks after the World Trade Center attack, the shelves of J & R Computer World were covered with a ghostly film of white ash from the wreckage. The massive retailer, perhaps the largest in Lower Manhattan, was devastated by the attack only a few blocks away. Customers were kept away for weeks after 9/11 by transportation snarls. J&R is still not up to its pre-9/11 sales figures. (Downtown Express)

A Leaner Nadler Outlines Downtown Views - Dec 4, 2002
At the Chelsea Greenwich Village Chamber of Commerce's networking luncheon at the Village Restaurant, Jerry Nadler made an impressive argument - in this case that the World Trade Center cleanup was horribly botched by the Environmental Protection Agency. Among politicians, Nadler continues to be the most outspokenly critical on how the federal government handled the disaster. He blasted E.P.A. chief Christine Whitman's arriving on the scene a few days after the disaster to announce the air was safe. And he called the testing procedures for Trade Center fallout in residents' apartments inadequate. (Downtown Express)

City Pushes to End Limits on Police Surveillance - Dec 4, 2002
The city hinted the NYPD was probing a secret terrorist plot yesterday as it tried to persuade a Manhattan federal judge to overturn longstanding limits on cops' ability to spy on political groups. But senior Federal Judge Charles Haight turned down the city's "unusual request" to discuss the "ongoing investigation" in chambers - and not include lawyers fighting to preserve the limits on police surveillance. (New York Daily News)

Students Unveil Their Visions for WTC Site - Dec 4, 2002
Two weeks before the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. unveils the designs of seven teams of architects, and a week before Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces his vision for lower Manhattan, 48 architecture students at the New York Institute of Technology displayed models of what they want to see on the World Trade Center site. (Newsday)

Trade Center Designs Will Be Shown Dec. 18 - Dec 3, 2002
Seven potential new designs for the World Trade Center site will be unveiled in a ceremony on Dec. 18 at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center, a top rebuilding executive said yesterday, with a final development plan for the site to be selected by the end of February. The executive, Louis R. Tomson, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, said the agency would gather public comments on the seven designs to help it choose which features would become part of the final master plan for the site. (New York Times)

Siverstein May Pay For Construction with Taxpayer-Subsidized Bonds - Dec 2, 2002
Developer Larry Silverstein has submitted an application to finance the new 7 World Trade Center office with $400 million in Liberty Bonds, which are exempt from federal, state and city taxes. The city turned down requests from The Post to release documents about the project - whose financing appears far less straightforward than the developer has indicated. (New York Post)

Tree at Ground Zero to Honor Victims - Dec 2, 2002
A Christmas tree is scheduled to be erected tonight at Ground Zero for the second year in a row. The tree lighting is planned for Dec. 10. As tourists took pictures through the fence surrounding the site Friday, construction workers unloaded the 32-foot Canadian balsam fir. It will be placed next to the Ground Zero cross, which was found during the cleanup and erected at Church Street between Liberty and Vesey streets. (Newsday)

Rescue Dogs Subject of New Studies on Ground Zero Toxins - Dec 2, 2002
New studies on Ground Zero search and rescue dogs could shed light on whether dangerous toxins were harmful to animals and humans alike. So far, rumors about the failing health of the dogs have been put to rest. "There have been no problems that we can link to the work related to the 9/11 attacks," said veterinarian Cynthia Otto, investigator for a University of Pennsylvania study being funded by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation. (New York Post)

Planners Vow to Cooperate in Rebuilding Trade Center - Dec 1, 2002
Stung by criticism that interagency fights have slowed the pace of the rebuilding in Lower Manhattan, officials overseeing the planning are taking a new tack: acknowledging their previous disagreements while also promising that the effort will soon pick up speed. In a speech to a municipal finance conference tomorrow, Louis R. Tomson, the president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, is expected to outline an aggressive schedule for completing a plan for the World Trade Center site, rebuilding officials said last week. (New York Times)

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