Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Rebuilding NYC April 2003

FEMA To Stay Downtown, For Now - Apr 30, 2003

With the Federal Emergency Management Agency set to close its lower Manhattan assistance center Thursday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and others took to the streets to protest .Except FEMA officials told a different story after Tuesday's event. The office won't close on May 1, but officials expect it to close in "the next few weeks." (Newsday)

Pataki Commits to Timeline, Downtown Reactions - Apr 30, 2003
Responding to criticisms that the Lower Manhattan rebuilding efforts are proceeding too slowly, Gov. George Pataki last week released an extensive timeline of short and long-term goals, such as a new Greenmarket, which will open across the street from the World Trade Center site this summer, and the last piece Ð a Downtown link to J.F.K. Airport and the Long Island Rail Road in 2013. (Downtown Express)

Chinatown Businesses Battle SARS Fears and Rumors - Apr 30, 2003
As rumor played tug-of-war with reality last week in Chinatown, community members voiced concern that an outbreak of the SARS virusÑactual or perceivedÑcould bring further economic damage to an area already struggling with fears of the illness. (Downtown Express)

In 9/11 Memorial Competition, Rules Are Set to Be Broken - Apr 29, 2003
Officials overseeing the competition to design a memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center promised yesterday that all entries would be considered, even those that stray from the official guidelines for the placement and content of the memorial. (New York Times)

WTC Memorial Design Contest Begins - Apr 28, 2003
Anyone anywhere in the world can register for the competition to select a World Trade Center memorial, starting Monday. While the guidelines require designers to be at least age 18, teens and children can participate, provided an adult registers for them and serves as designer of record -- no design, architecture expertise or experience needed. (Newsday)

Push for Second 9/11 Memorial - Apr 27, 2003
A disturbing photo of a firefighter walking to his death on Sept. 11, 2001, is being used in a public relations blitz by a group that wants special honors at the Ground Zero memorial for uniformed workers. Posters of the photo are going up around the city today, a day before officials launch the international competition for the permanent tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center attacks. (New York Daily News)

Preserving Fulton Street's Historic Structures - Apr 28, 2003
Considering its chaotic buildings, anarchic signs and gritty facades, Fulton Street is an unlikely candidate for architectural sanctity, let alone salvation. It is, however, dense with historic structures, and its westerly verge is destined to be the home of a new Fulton Street Transit Center on Broadway. Students of the city's past see the street, and its environs, as a cornucopia of neglected architectural treasures, even though anyone who walks it will be confronted by a hodgepodge of building facades, some of which are undeniably shabby. Nevertheless, a consortium of leading preservation groups is concerned that new development could result in the obliteration of many non-landmark structures. (New York Times)

Request For Documents Exposes Terror Panel Rift - Apr 26, 2003
One member's attempt to review confidential transcripts exposed a rift Friday within the independent commission examining the Sept. 11 attacks. Tim Roemer, a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, criticized the panel's leaders for not demanding immediate and total access to documents compiled during a congressional inquiry of the terror attacks. (Associated Press)

Pataki Sketches a Timetable for Rebuilding of Ground Zero - Apr 25, 2003
Gov. George E. Pataki, promising "a renewed sense of urgency" in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, laid out a plan yesterday to complete substantial portions of the work at the World Trade Center site by the fifth anniversary of the attack of Sept. 11, 2001. By that time, Mr. Pataki said, the permanent PATH commuter station at the site and the new Fulton Transit Center two blocks to the east will open, the substructure for the memorial to the victims of the attack will be completed, allowing construction of the memorial to proceed, and the erection of steel for the 1,776-foot tower, a signature piece of Daniel Libeskind's design for the site, will be finished. (New York Times)

Pataki Pledges Direct Kennedy-Manhattan-L.I. Rail - Apr 25, 2003
Promising direct rail service from lower Manhattan to Kennedy Airport and Long Island, Gov. George Pataki Thursday laid out an ambitious schedule for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, the surrounding neighborhood and its aging transportation system. While transportation officials take the next year to select a plan to create a lower Manhattan rail connection to Kennedy Airport and Long Island -- and the next decade to build it -- fast ferry service would begin to LaGuardia Airport in 2004 and Kennedy in 2005, under the governor's plan. (Newsday)

State Bill Would Prohibit Peddlers At Ground Zero - Apr 24, 2003
Backed by Mayor Bloomberg, state lawmakers are moving to ban peddlers at Ground Zero, The Post has learned. Proposed legislation submitted by the city to state lawmakers for passage seeks to stop all vendors from peddling goods and food at Ground Zero "in recognition of the sanctity of the site." (New York Post)

Report: WTC Collapse Was Two Events - Apr 24, 2003
The twin skyscrapers of the World Trade Center collapsed because their inner cores were weakened by fire, but the south tower's destruction had no direct bearing on the later fall of the north tower, an engineering firm's study says. The analysis, made public on Wednesday, was conducted by Weidlinger Associates, a company hired by trade center leaseholder Larry Silverstein. (Associated Press)

Angry 9/11 Families Seek Federal Role In Memorial Plan - Apr 24, 2003
A coalition of victims? families groups is pushing the federal government to take a larger role in the September 11 memorial, driven by anger and mistrust toward the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and a desire to create a national monument. The "federal outreach" has begun already and will climax with a mid-May trip to Washington. (New York Sun)

Ground Zero Search Dog In Running For Top Canine Hero - Apr 23, 2003
Jake the black lab searched for signs of life at Ground Zero, scaling heaps of jagged rubble night after night. Now he's up for an award honoring heroic dogs. (Associated Press)

Pataki Wants Downtown Rebuilt Fast - Apr 22, 2003
Gov. George E. Pataki is expected to tell a group of business and civic leaders this week that the 1,776-foot tower that is a central part of Daniel Libeskind's design for the World Trade Center site will be one of the first construction projects to get under way there, according to people close to the rebuilding process. In an address on Thursday to the Association for a Better New York, a civic group, Pataki will lay out an aggressive schedule for construction in the first phase of the rebuilding effort, including the tower, a transportation hub joining the PATH commuter rail line and Lower Manhattan subway lines, and the memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the trade center, the people involved said. (New York Times)

Transit Hub, Rail Links Cited as Top Needs for Downtown - Apr 22, 2003
A transit hub near Ground Zero and a rail link to Kennedy Airport and Long Island are the highest rebuilding priorities for lower Manhattan's largest employers, according to two surveys released yesterday. (New York Daily News)

'After': Surviving Sept. 11 - Apr 20, 2003
Steven Brill's ''After'' is a book of great ambition. It sets out to describe America's reaction to the terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001, an event so overpowering that given a year and a half of reflection and relentless commentary it can still seem utterly amorphous. How to define the American reaction to this horror story? One way is to examine the active response of some of the people whose roles in business and government require them to engage the attack without overinterpretation. Brill chooses about 20, mainly responsible officials, insurance lawyers, developers and politicians, but also a few ordinary folks whose lives came to be defined by 9/11 and its aftermath. (New York Times)

Ferry Operator Is the Target of U.S. Inquiry - Apr 18, 2003
Federal authorities are investigating allegations that the region's leading private ferry company defrauded the federal government of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack, according to investigators involved in the case. The investigators say they are looking into whether the ferry company, New York Waterway, which has come to dominate the burgeoning New York ferry market with a fleet of 53 boats, submitted inflated bills to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for ferry services it provided to replace the commuter rail link between New Jersey and Lower Manhattan that was destroyed by the terror attack. (New York Times)

Kids Can Submit WTC Memorial Plans - Apr 18, 2003
Children and teens with memorial designs for the World Trade Center can submit them, even though the competition requires would-be entrants to be 18 or older, redevelopment officials said. Anyone under 18 can enter, provided they work with an adult willing to register with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for the young person or group of people, and serve as the designer of record. (Newsday)

Garvin Departing after Clashes With Other Rebuilding Officials - Apr 17, 2003
The director of planning at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, who personally invited Daniel Libeskind to enter the design competition for the World Trade Center site, has resigned, officials said yesterday. Mr. Garvin had clashed sharply with other participants in the rebuilding effort, including officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and representatives of Gov. George E. Pataki on the development corporation's board and staff. (New York Times)

Alex Garvin Resigns from LMDC - Apr 16, 2003
The lead planner for the agency overseeing the rebuilding of Ground Zero abruptly quit this week, just as the group hammers out a contract with a key architect. Alexander Garvin, chief planner for the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., stepped down Monday. He had given notice only last week, sources said. (New York Daily News)

Libeskind Signals Flexibility in Memorial Process - Apr 16, 2003
Daniel Libeskind now seems willing to allow the kind of changes to his design for the World Trade Center site that he was unwilling to consider a few weeks ago. At a Community Board 1 meeting April 14, Libeskind said designers of the memorial for the victims of the Sept. 11 attack would be free to build pedestrian bridges over the 4.7-acre sunken memorial area he proposes in the design. "One competitor might envision 1,000 bridges," the architect said at the forum. (Downtown Express)

Relatives' Lawyers Ask Court to Rule Sept. 11 Fund Unfair - Apr 15, 2003
Lawyers representing the relatives of 10 World Trade Center victims asked a federal court yesterday to rule that the fund created to compensate families was unfair, arbitrary and tilted against those with high incomes, threatening to shortchange surviving families by hundreds of millions of dollars or more. After an all-day session of impassioned arguments by the families' lawyers, followed by rebuttal from a senior official with the Department of Justice, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of United States District Court for the Southern District said he needed more time to weigh the evidence. But he promised to rule by early May. (New York Times)

Doctoroff: City, Not Port Authority Is Best for Ground Zero - Apr 15, 2003
In City Hall's latest push for control of Ground Zero, a top official said yesterday that the Port Authority's ownership of the disaster site could stunt the overall redevelopment of downtown. Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff said the bistate agency is driven by "economic considerations" that would require it to rebuild as much office and retail space on the 16-acre disaster site as the market demands. However, if the city takes control of Ground Zero through a complicated land-swap deal with the Port Authority, Doctoroff said, city officials "would not care" if that commercial space is placed on the disaster site or spread elsewhere in lower Manhattan. (New York Daily News)

September 11 Compensation: The Impossibility of Making Whole - Apr 14, 2003
In the desperate days after the collapse of the World Trade Centre and the attack on the Pentagon, America's Congress enacted an emergency compensation plan. This would not only recompense victims of the attacks but also spare America's airlines litigation costs, likely far to exceed their insurance cover. The price tag is not yet known, but it will certainly run to billions of dollars. However, the plan has already raised many questions about how to compensate victims of such attacks. On April 14th it will be challenged in a federal court in lower Manhattan, not far from where the twin towers stood. (Economist)

Craftspeople Recreating Art Deco Verizon Building - Apr 14, 2003
Stone carvers and metalworkers are healing the gaping wounds in the Verizon building, at 140 West Street. The building was battered by not one, but three, of its neighbors at ground zero: the north and south towers of the World Trade Center and 7 World Trade Center, which collapsed next door. (New York Times)

Port Authority Sued For $20M - Apr 13, 2003
Michael Kenny, the city commissioner who oversaw cleanup at the World Trade Center site, filed a $20 million federal lawsuit Friday, charging that Port Authority Police officers beat him up when he tried to prevent them from making an unauthorized visit there. (Newsday)

Development Corporation Announces Memorial Jury, Calls for Victims to Be Honored Equally - Apr 11, 2003
Officials overseeing the creation of a memorial to victims of the World Trade Center attack rebuffed a request yesterday from a group of New York City firefighters for separate recognition of uniformed rescue workers on the memorial. The development corporation also announced the selection yesterday of a 13-member jury to judge the competition. The jury, which includes prominent artists, architects, scholars, a woman whose husband was killed and a downtown resident and business owner, will choose a design in late October or early November, officials said. (New York Times)

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