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Rebuilding NYC - Rebuilding Roundup Archive: December
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Rebuilding Roundup Archive: December

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Friday, December 27

Lower Manhattan business owners have just a few days left to apply for the World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant Program. The program, which gives grants of up to $300,000 to downtown businesses affected by September 11, will stop taking applications on December 31. Business owners may read about the program and download an application online.

The nine new plans for Ground Zero, unveiled last week, are on display at the Winter Garden through February 3. The public has already begun to weigh in. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that he was disappointed in all of the plans, because he feels they don't focus enough on memorializing 9/11. "They have too much crowded in. They're trying to do too much," he said. Giuliani had initially called for a 16-acre memorial at the World Trade Center site.

As thousands of visitors came to see the designs, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation member Roland Betts dismissed criticism that there would not be enough time to come up with a final plan by the announced deadline of January 31. "We're going to get it done, if not February 1, then February 15," Betts said. He also said that a joint committee of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority would decide whether to select one of the nine plans, or pick and choose features from each of the plans.

Friday, December 20

Nine new plans for the World Trade Center site were unveiled this week by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Some of the world's leading architects spent the last twelve weeks creating the new proposals for the sixteen acres, which include many different kinds of architectural styles and design ideas.

Four of the nine proposals included skyscrapers which would be the tallest buildings in the world. Two of the plans leave space for 16-acre rooftop gardens. One plan, by German firm Studio Libeskind, has a memorial 70 feet below the surface at the center of Ground Zero. Another, by Foster and Partners Architects, features two intertwining towers, which would be "the safest, the greenest and the tallest in the world."

All of the plans add a new element to the city's skyline and reserve the space where the Twin Towers stood, the "footprints," for a memorial. Each plan provides for construction to take place over several years. And all of the new designs include about the same amount of office and commercial space that existed at Ground Zero before September 11. Some critics of the new designs feel that they are simply more aesthetically appealing versions of the original six plans.

While the public had to wait about six months between the first set of plans and these new designs, they will now only have to wait six weeks to see which of the designs, if any, become reality. An exhibit at the Winter Garden will showcase all of the plans through January. A public hearing will be held January 13 at PACE University for people to express their opinions about these new plans. Then the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority will create a single master plan for the sixteen acres by January 31.

For details, images and a chance to rate the plans, go to http://www. To read a transcript of our live chat about the plans with Rick Bell, executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York chapter, go to /rebuilding_nyc/chat/belltranscript. shtml.

Friday, December 13
Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled his $10 billion vision for lower Manhattan this week, six days before the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announces its new plans for the World Trade Center site. Bloomberg's proposal, called a "New Beginning for Lower Manhattan," consists of three components and could be accomplished over the next nine years.

First, the mayor outlined a plan to improve transportation in order to connect lower Manhattan to the rest of the city and region. Bloomberg proposes "one-seat airport access," allowing passengers to travel by subway directly to Newark and Kennedy airports, and possibly LaGuardia as well. A system of ferries would connect lower Manhattan to all five boroughs.

The new plan also calls for the building two new neighborhoods south of Chambers Street. One would be called the Fulton Market Square and would be located east of Broadway on Fulton Street. Another new neighborhood would be called Greenwich Square and would include a new park on a deck over the Manhattan entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

Finally, the plan would create a series of public parks throughout lower Manhattan. This would be a continuous ring of green spaces, including the transformation of West Street from a highway into a boulevard lined by 700 trees, similar, Bloomberg says, to Paris's Champs-Elysees. Green spaces would also be created throughout lower Manhattan, including along Water Street. Battery Park would be turned into a large destination park, "similar to Sheep's Meadow in Central Park."

Some public officials criticized the plan, saying that the $4 billion cost of connecting lower Manhattan to the airports was simply too much, and that Chinatown and the Lower East Side should be incorporated into the plan as well. Others praised Bloomberg's proposal for its ambition in attempting to revitalize downtown.

Friday, December 6
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has finally announced the date by which they will unveil the second set of plans for the site of the World Trade Center -- Wednesday, December 18. The seven new plans from the planners and architects commissioned by the agency will be on display at an exhibition starting the following day at the Winter Garden in Battery Park City. The agency also announced that its final plan for the site would be ready by the end of February, earlier than previously promised. These plans, however, are competing with two others that can also be considered official.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this week that he will be presenting his own vision for lower Manhattan as part of a broader plan for the city on Thursday, December 12, a week before the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The Port Authority said two weeks ago that they will release their plan for lower Manhattan by February, with a focus on infrastructure and transportation. At a press conference this week, Lou Tomson, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, acknowledged that the rebuilding agency and the Port Authority are currently engaged in "spirited debates" over the rebuilding process but said that they and the city will come to an agreement on a final plan before anything is built on the site.

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