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Rebuilding NYC - News - January 2003
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Rebuilding NYC

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January 2003

WTC Plans Might Include Foster's 'Twinned Towers' - Jan 31, 2003
A proposal to build the world?s tallest skyscraper could be included to appease the public?s wishes when officials announce the finalists to redevelop Ground Zero, sources said Thursday. Lord Norman Foster?s environmentally-friendly building has emerged as one of the favorites during the public comment period, sources said. It could join plans by Studio Daniel Libeskind and the THINK team, which are expected to be named finalists next week. (Newsday)

After Long Delay, New York Submits Plan for Terror Aid - Jan 31, 2003
Nearly a year and a half after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Pataki administration has finally told the federal government how it plans to spend hundreds of millions of available dollars to make New York State better prepared to deal with future terrorist attacks. The submission of the wish list comes after months of unexplained delays and considerable secrecy. The delays had left New York lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike, concerned that the indecision had not only left the state vulnerable, but had also compromised the state's ability to petition for more money from Washington. (New York Times)

Relatives of Sept. 11 Victims Face a Suspect in Germany - Jan 31, 2003
Spectators and even the court-appointed interpreter wept in a Hamburg, Germany court today as the horror of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- planned in this city -- coursed through the accounts of relatives of victims, who for the first time confronted a man charged with conspiring in the attacks with their loss and suffering. (New York Times)

A Blue Collar Doctor Tracks Ground Zero Workers - Jan 31, 2003
Captivated in the 60's by the effect one's station in life has on one's health, Dr. Stephen M. Levin, director since 1987 of the Mount Sinai Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine and co-director of an unprecedented $12 million health screening for ground zero workers, veered off the beaten path to practice occupational medicine (New York Times)

Officials Are Leaning Towards Two Plans - Jan 30, 2003
A key group of rebuilding officials yesterday agreed on two architecture teams they'd like to see as finalists in the search for a Ground Zero planner, sources told The Post. But the final decision will not be made until next week. Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind and a New York-based team led by architects Rafael Vinoly and Fred Schwartz emerged as the top choices. A third plan, by British architect Norman Foster, also received strong support, but the group felt it would not be practical to build and find tenants for Foster's faceted twin towers, which would be the tallest in the world. (New York Post)

Two Plans Rise to Top - Jan 30, 2003
Development officials tentatively whittled the proposed site plans for Ground Zero down to two yesterday - one featuring the exposed bedrock of the World Trade Center site and the other calling for a pair of latticework towers, sources told the Daily News. No formal decision was made and no vote was taken, sources said. But at a private meeting yesterday morning, a working group of Lower Manhattan Development Corp. board members and staffers reached a consensus on the two designs, sources said. (New York Daily News)

Judge Rejects Insurer's 9/11 Claim - Jan 30, 2003
A federal judge in New York yesterday rejected an insurance company's attempt to classify the Sept. 11 terrorist attack upon the World Trade Center as an act of "vandalism and malicious mischief" so that it can be considered one assault and not two separate incidents. The insurance company, Allianz, is one of more than 20 companies that insured the Twin Towers leaseholder Larry Silverstein. (Newsday)

Police Seeking Less Restrictions on Surveillance To Fight Terror - Jan 30, 2003
The NYPD asked a federal judge yesterday to lift restrictions on police surveillance in a bid to prevent future terror attacks. The lawyer representing the NYPD, Gail Donoghue, promised the NYPD would immediately set up an internal set of guidelines to control the use of wider spy powers if Judge Charles Haight would lift an 18-year-old federal consent decree known as the Handschu Agreement. (New York Post)

Community Board 1 Recommends Three Plans - Jan 29, 2003
Community Board 1 has recommended that architectural plans by Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster and the THINK Team (Sky Park) should be considered as the basis for the final plan for the World Trade Center site. The board's resolution, approved last week, also said a short underground "bypass" or tunnel along West St. adjacent to the site should be considered. The full board amended the draft resolution so it doesn't read like a full endorsement of the tunnel, which has been opposed by some residents in Battery Park City. (Downtown Express)

Prosperous Hopes for Year of the Ram in Chinatown - Jan 29, 2003
As the Lunar New Year approaches, Chinatown prepares to shake off its economic woes in a celebration intended to boost the fortunes of a community still struggling after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. (Downtown Express)

WTC Decision Is Pushed Back - Jan 29, 2003
The incredible work of analyzing nine complex architectural proposals for the World Trade Center site has drawn out the decision-making process. After three finalists are chosen next week, a winner could be selected by the end of next month. (Newsday)

7 World Trade Center Could Test New Ideas for High-Rise Safety - Jan 29, 2003
As one of the first office towers designed from scratch since the attack on New York, 7 World Trade Center is a 52-story laboratory of ideas about how extra safety measures can be incorporated into the fiber of a building. (New York Times)

Tourists Coming, But Not Spending - Jan 29, 2003
The tourists who visit the World Trade Center site every day are not spending money downtown - a fiscal crisis that can be solved only with the addition of theaters and museums, the city's tourism marketing organization said yesterday. � The tourists who visit the World Trade Center site every day are not spending money downtown - a fiscal crisis that can be solved only with the addition of theaters and museums, the city's tourism marketing organization said yesterday. (New York Post)

Twin Towers Created 'Ash Footprint' - Jan 28, 2003
The collapse of the World Trade Center may have left a permanent chemical record on the bottom of the Hudson River. It is possible that the new layer of sediment will become a permanent reminder of the tragedy for generations of geologists to come. The terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, launched thousands of tons of ash and dust into the atmosphere. (BBC)

Study Says WTC Workers Had A Year Of Bad Health - Jan 28, 2003
Among the first wave of ground zero workers who came forward for physical examinations at the Mount Sinai Medical Center last summer, nearly three-fourths had ear, nose or throat problems more than 10 months after the World Trade Center attack, doctors said yesterday. More than half still had lung complaints or abnormal results in pulmonary function tests. (New York Times)

Fire Unions Snub Von Essen - Jan 28, 2003
The leaders of the city firefighter unions say they will boycott an awards dinner tonight because former Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen is among those being honored. The firefighters are still angry at Von Essen for several reasons, including his acceptance of a cutback ordered by City Hall in the number of firefighters searching for victims at the World Trade Center. (Newsday)

Firefighter Thanks Sigourney Weaver - Jan 28, 2003
Actress Sigourney Weaver was nearly brought to tears yesterday at the state Capitol when the head of a firefighters union gave her an emotional thank you for her new Sept. 11-related movie. In "The Guys," Weaver plays a journalist called upon to help a fire captain write a series of eulogies for the men he lost at the World Trade Center. (New York Post)

WTC Brawl Finds Way Into Court - Jan 28, 2003
Turf fights simmering at Ground Zero during the final days of recovery will soon spill into a Manhattan courtroom, as a city engineer faces criminal charges for allegedly scuffling with Port Authority cops. (New York Daily News)

An Interview With Anita Contini - Jan 27, 2003
In an interview with the New York Sun, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation official Anita Contini said that the memorial committees she oversees have decided not to include a religious component -- like the cross that was found at Ground Zero -- in the memorial. Contini also said that much of the public feedback about the preliminary memorial guidelines has called for including more forceful language, like the word "terrorist." (New York Sun)

7 Families Sue Administrator of 9/11 Fund - Jan 27, 2003
In the most sweeping challenge yet to the federal fund intended to compensate relatives of Sept. 11 victims, the families of seven victims who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald have filed a lawsuit accusing the fund's administrator of acting illegally and unfairly, thereby shortchanging the families of all New York victims. (New York Times)

Safety Concerns for Memorial Below Street Level - Jan 27, 2003
A proposal to place the Ground Zero memorial seven stories below street level at the bottom of the World Trade Center pit would limit the size of crowds that could visit it and raises safety and evacuation concerns, security experts told The Post. Several of the proposed designs for Ground Zero include memorials in enclosed spaces below street level or in the upper floors of tall buildings. (New York Post)

WTC Plans Might Not Include Governor - Jan 27, 2003
Some of Gov. Pataki's top advisers are urging him to remove himself from the World Trade Center rebuilding process and give control to the city, sources told the Daily News. Pataki surged to reelection on a wave of post-Sept. 11 popularity. But he's now beginning to come under criticism from some circles for not offering a clear vision of what he wants at the site. (New York Daily News)

Son of Russian Avant Garde Architect Creates Plan for Ground Zero - Jan 26, 2003
Mark Khidekel, the son of Russian avant garde architect Lazar Khidekel, has revived and refined his father's ideas in a design for the unlikeliest of places: Ground Zero. Khidekel proposes the structure as a replacement for the World Trade Center. He calls it the Vertical Highway. (New York Times)

WTC Site Plan Decision Seen as Boon - Jan 26, 2003
Trade center leaseholder Larry Silverstein says the selection of a plan - likely to occur in February - will give a needed push to lower Manhattan and the economy of New York City. Silverstein foresees an infusion of at least $28 billion into lower Manhattan in the next several years, $21 billion from the federal government and at least $7 billion in insurance proceeds. His own insurance claims are tied up in federal court, but he predicts the lawsuits will be settled this year. (Newsday)

WTC Crews Plan Symbolic Reminder - Jan 25, 2003
Ground Zero firefighters and rescue workers plan to attend President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech Tuesday night, their presence a symbolic reminder of the administration's reluctance to allocate $90 million in federal funds to keep track of rescue workers' respiratory problems. (Newsday)

Council Seeks More Power Over WTC Rebuilding - Jan 25, 2003
City Hall and the City Council should have more say in the development at Ground Zero, council members said yesterday. Members of the council's Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee asked the council's lawyers to find out what jurisdiction it has over rebuilding - in the hope of a larger role. (New York Post)

Small, Unofficial Committee Will Make Decision on WTC Site Plan - Jan 24, 2003
A small, unofficial committee has quietly been given responsibility to choose an architect and site plan for Ground Zero, officials said yesterday. The eight-member �steering committee� includes representatives of the two agencies responsible for downtown redevelopment, and of the governor and the mayor - although City Hall controls just one seat. (New York Post)

Some 9/11 Victims May Need to Risk Homes to Creditors to Qualify for Aid - Jan 24, 2003
As time runs out for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to apply for federal mortgage and rental assistance, some are considering risking their homes to creditors to qualify for the cash. That's because help is available only if those seeking aid can produce a late-payment notice, showing that they are in danger of possible eviction or foreclosure. (New York Daily News)

Pentagon Victim's Gay Partner Wins 9/11 Fund Payout - Jan 24, 2003
A lesbian whose partner was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been awarded more than $500,000 by the federal government - a decision gay rights groups hope will set a precedent. Peggy Neff of Hyattsville, Md., will receive $557,390 from the Victim Compensation Fund. (New York Daily News)

Firefighters Want 9/11 Aid From Bush at State of Union - Jan 24, 2003
Will he help the heroes? The weary, retired firefighter President Bush tossed his arm around at Ground Zero days after the terrorist attacks is making a special trip to Washington to plead for help for ailing rescue workers. Upset that $90 million in federal aid to monitor the long-term health of Ground Zero laborers is tied up, Bob Beckwith will join a silent - but very visible - protest at the State of the Union address Tuesday. (New York Daily News)

One Design for Trade Center Site Is Crossed Off After Firm Leaves - Jan 23, 2003
One of the seven architectural teams that submitted new designs for the World Trade Center site has been eliminated from further consideration, rebuilding officials said yesterday. The decision followed the withdrawal of Skidmore Owings & Merrill, who left the design study in order to continue its work with Silverstein Properties, for which it designed the proposed new 7 World Trade Center. The elimination was a disappointing surprise to some members of the team, who thought they might be allowed to continue in the design study even without the architecture firm. (New York Times)

Forum on Lower Manhattan�s Future Focuses on Retail - Jan 23, 2003
So far, there's no widely accepted solution to developing a strong retail sector in lower Manhattan, but about 50 residents, developers, retailers and advocates raised a host of possibilities at a Tuesday night forum at Pace University. (Newsday)

Families: Rebury 9/11 dead at WTC - Jan 22, 2003
Families of Sept. 11 victims from New Jersey urged downtown rebuilding officials last night to exhume the "ashen remains" of loved ones at the Fresh Kills landfill for reburial at Ground Zero. A crowd of 100 relatives focused on the retrieval issue - which they termed "nonnegotiable" - at the only forum on the rebuilding effort held in New Jersey. (New York Daily News)

Hunger Strike by 6 Immigrants, Detained in 9/11 Sweeps, Continues - Jan 22, 2003
A stalemate between immigrant detainees and immigration officials entered its second week yesterday, as six men continued a hunger strike to protest the conditions at a New Jersey jail. The men, held for months on various immigration charges, have been drinking juice and water but have refused solid food since Jan. 14. The government has arrested hundreds of Muslim and Arab men since Sept. 11, 2001, and charged them with immigration violations that rarely caught the attention of federal officials before. (New York Times)

A Profile of Ground Zero Architect Rafael Vi�oly - Jan 22, 2003
Architect Rafael Vi�oly, a leader of the "Think Team" that contributed a fabulist, Eiffel Tower-inspired confection to the World Trade Center design competition, says that his take on what should happen at ground zero is informed by what he says happened to him decades ago in his native Argentina, first when a 1966 coup resulted in raids, and murders, at his university, and later when the military, no friend to intellectuals, raided his home. (New York Times)

Man With Few Trade Center Ties Traces His Asthma to 9/11 - Jan 22, 2003
Glenn H. Abatemarco got sick two weeks after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, and he has still not fully recovered his ability to breathe normally. Abatemarco does not fit the pattern, and therein lies a medical mystery. First of all, he lives in Brooklyn, miles from ground zero, and works in Midtown Manhattan, where he is a vice president at a financial services firm. He had no intense exposure from the dust cloud from the towers' collapse and no chronic exposure afterward of the sort that downtown workers and residents faced as smoke from the smoldering fires swirled through the streets. (New York Times)

Talks Begin Again for WTC Site Swap - Jan 21, 2003
The once-stalled talks to transfer control of Ground Zero to the city have sprung back to life - with a price now under serious discussion, sources told The Post yesterday. "A few months ago, it was pretty much the odds were against a swap. Now, I think they're in favor of one," said a source at the Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center site. "It's very much alive. It's just a matter of a number." Under the deal being considered, the city would trade the land it owns under Kennedy and La Guardia airports to the Port Authority in return for the PA giving the city the Ground Zero property. (New York Post)

Sept. 11 Commission Faces Challenges - Jan 21, 2003
Sixteen months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, an independent commission charged with investigating what happened is only beginning to confront a task complicated by a ticking clock, limited finances and the high expectations of those who lost loved ones. (Associated Press)

Debate Continues on a Range of Memorial Issues - Jan 21, 2003
The battle over what the permanent World Trade Center memorial should contain and who should choose its creator is escalating even as officials hope to launch a global design competition by April. At issue is everything from whether rescue workers should be singled out in the tribute to whether unidentified victims' remains should be interred at the memorial. (New York Daily News)

Aviation Firms Seek to Dismiss 9/11 Claims - Jan 21, 2003
A group of aviation-related companies has asked a federal court to dismiss claims stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people, saying the companies were not liable for damage or casualties on the ground in New York City or at the Pentagon. (Associated Press)

1908 Design to Be Entered in 9/11 Memorial Competition - Jan 21, 2003
Yet another world-class architect has created yet another design for ground zero. It is futuristic in the extreme, nearly as tall as the Empire State Building, topped with a star and polychromed in tile and marble. The architect? Antoni Gaud�, the Barcelona visionary who was the greatest Spanish exponent of the Art Nouveau style. And the plan, for a New York hotel, was conceived in 1908. A group of Catalan artists and an American architect intend to enter the never-realized Gaud� plan in the formal ground zero memorial design competition of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, scheduled to begin this spring. (New York Times)

Overview: City Nears Decisions on World Trade Center Site Rebuild - Jan 20, 2003
16 months after terrorists who revile American democracy destroyed the World Trade Center, the rebuilding of lower Manhattan grinds on. The massive effort is certain to continue for years. But crucial decisions are to be made in the coming weeks and months. Officials had set a Jan. 31 deadline, but now say the middle to end of February is more likely. It remains unclear whether one design or elements from several will be selected. (New York Daily News)

Deadline For WTC Mortgage Relief Nears - Jan 19, 2003
As the deadline nears for victims of the World Trade Center attacks to seek federal mortgage and rental relief, workers advocates are calling for an extension. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides 18 months of aid through its Mortgage and Rental Assistance Program, will stop accepting applications on Jan. 31. Individuals and families may be eligible to apply if they lived or worked in Manhattan on or before Sept. 11, 2001, or were employed by a company that was economically dependent on businesses located in Manhattan. The New York Immigration Coalition wants the deadline extended to Sept. 30, contending that tens of thousands of economic victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks need more time to seek help under the program. (Newsday)

Praise for World Trade Center Memorial Draft - Jan 19, 2003
As the latest round of World Trade Center site plans attracts increasing criticism, the effort to develop a memorial at the site is moving ahead on schedule, with praise for its first steps. Officials at two of the nation's most beloved memorials - the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial - applauded the draft mission statement and guidelines for the trade center memorial, which were released Jan. 8. (Newsday)

New York State Misses Two Deadlines on Security Plans - Jan 19, 2003
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has set aside a minimum of $418 million for the state to finance projects to bolster the metropolitan area's preparedness for any future terrorist attack. However the state has not submitted a single project for the federal agency to review, even though it has received scores of proposals from state, city and private agencies desperate to do everything from reinforcing bridges to shoring up bioterrorism efforts at local hospitals. In fact, the state has missed two deadlines for submitting the proposals, and has been forced to ask for two extensions totaling six months ? requests that emergency management officials say have been rare in other disasters. (New York Times)

Mayor Outlines Wishes for 9/11 Emergency Funds - Jan 19, 2003
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has drawn up a new wish list for 9/11 federal emergency funds - making a pitch to shift money currently earmarked for the Port Authority and crisis counseling. Under the mayor's strategy, as much as $690 million would then be freed up for other uses - more than the $650 million that Bloomberg has been asking FEMA to give the city for budget relief. (New York Daily News)

New Yorkers Warned of Deceptive FEMA Cleanup Salesmen - Jan 19, 2003
Federal officials are warning New Yorkers to avoid unscrupulous salesmen seeking to profit from a 9/11 program to provide residents with air filters and vacuums - by misleadingly peddling their wares as "FEMA approved" and selling them at inflated prices. "There's a lot of waste and fraud and abuse going on," said Brad Gair, New York's top official in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). (New York Post)

World Trade Center Plan Promised by End of February - Jan 18, 2003
Lou Tomson , the outgoing president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, vowed yesterday to have a land-use plan for Ground Zero and transportation plans in place before his exit next month. Tomson spoke amid wide speculation that, given the detailed cost analysis the agency must perform for all nine schemes, the work won't be done by the end of February. (New York Daily News)

9/11 Program Finally Gets Flood of Requests for Help - Jan 18, 2003
A flood of last-minute requests to the biggest program aiding small businesses and nonprofit groups in Lower Manhattan in the wake of the World Trade Center attack has pushed the amount of aid approved to more than the $481 million allotted for the program, according to the state agency that runs the program. Beyond that, 1,700 applications remain to be processed. Although the grants have surpassed the allotment, whatever amount is ultimately needed will be provided, Empire State's chief operating officer, Kevin Corbett, said yesterday. (New York Times)

Three Designs for Ground Zero Emerge as Favorites - Jan 17, 2003
Three vastly different designs for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, one emphasizing tall towers, another an excavated memorial site and a third a large public garden, appear to be receiving the greatest support in public discussions about the future of the site and of Lower Manhattan. However, only about one-third of people responding in comments submitted to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's website noted a preference for one plan over the others. (New York Times)

President of Rebuilding Agency To Step Down In February - Jan 17, 2003
The president of the agency charged with overseeing reconstruction at Ground Zero will step down at the end of next month, sources said yesterday. Lou Tomson had been expected to leave his post at the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. once the agency chooses the site's master plan. That's expected to happen next month, when the LMDC will pick from among nine rebuilding proposals. Although he is now in good health, he has been bothered by the lingering effects of kidney and prostate cancer, and he often said he was not fond of his weekly trip to and from his home on 16 acres in Voorheesville, east of Albany. (New York Post)

Federal Officials Press Pataki For Details On Transportation Rebuilding - Jan 16, 2003
Federal officials have sent Gov. Pataki a letter pressing the state to explain in detail how it will spend the $4.55 billion set aside to remake lower Manhattan's transportation system. The letter was meant to jump-start a process that appears to have stalled as City Hall, Albany, the Port Authority and the MTA remain at odds over setting priorities for transportation projects, sources in Washington said. (New York Post)

New 7 World Trade Center Building Faces Obstacles - Jan 16, 2003
It is by no means certain that Larry Silverstein's planned 52-story skyscraper to replace the old 7 World Trade Center will rise on the site of the old tower anytime soon. Silverstein, a persistently optimistic man, must still contend with a sluggish real estate market, the lack of a tenant to occupy the building, and the uncertainties of talks with his lenders, his insurer and the landowner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Any one could delay, or in the worst case scuttle, the $700 million building. (New York Times)

Garden of Remembrance To Honor 9/11 Victims - Jan 16, 2003
A "garden of remembrance" honoring the victims of Sept. 11 will be designed by Dutch horticulturist and landscape artist Piet Oudolf in lower Manhattan, the city announced yesterday.The garden of remembrance will encompass 10,000 square feet of perennial plantings, flowers and passages for meditation, according to the Battery Conservancy and the city Parks Department. (New York Post)

A Hint of Rebuilding Fatigue - Jan 15, 2003
A citywide series of public hearings yesterday and Monday to gauge response to the new designs and guidelines for a memorial to victims of 9/11 attracted little more than a predictable array of single-issue zealots and almost no substantive comments about details of the plans. Few officials of the rebuilding effort were happy with Monday night's meeting. "In the end, it didn't feel like a particularly useful meeting, and that was fairly dispiriting," said one board member. (New York Times)

Public Says "Slow Down" At Hearing On Memorial - Jan 15, 2003
If there was one demand people made last night to those in charge of building a memorial for the World Trade Center site it was to slow down. "What's the rush?" asked Amy Rogers of Manhattan. "Let's do it right." She was among scores of speakers at the continuation of a two-night public forum at Pace University on the redevelopment of the site. (Newsday)

New Jersey Receving Bulk of Ferry Funds - Jan 15, 2003
New York and New Jersey will get $54.8 million to fund five Hudson River ferry projects as part of the federal government's post-9/11 aid to the city, the Department of Transportation said yesterday. The money includes $11.4 million to help build a new ferry terminal at West 38th Street. The remainder will be spent in New Jersey. (New York Post)

New Trade Center Plans Draw Old Complaints - Jan 14, 2003
Instead of offering specific feedback on the new designs, unveiled last month to great fanfare and significant public interest, many of the more than 700 people who attended a hearing at Pace University in Lower Manhattan focused instead on issues that rebuilding officials have heard repeatedly, including calls to rebuild the Twin Towers and demands to remember those affected in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. "This is not what we expected or hoped for," one Lower Manhattan Development Corporation director at the meeting said on the condition of anonymity. "These are the same people we've heard from before, saying the same things." Meanwhile, attendance in the outer boroughs and Long Island, where the public hearings were supposed to be simulcast with the one in lower Manhattan, was below expectations, with only about 60 people showing up. (New York Times)

Silverstein To Seek $400 Million in Tax-Free Liberty Bonds - Jan 14, 2003
Developer Larry Silverstein, who owns the lease to the World Trade Center site, will try to raise $400 million in tax-free Liberty Bonds for the reconstruction of 7 World Trade Center, it was revealed yesterday. This is because he apparently must spend half the insurance proceeds on the building just north of Ground Zero to pay off the mortgage. This news was not made public until the beginning of the public hearing held by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation yesterday, drawing criticism from those who feel rebuilding officials are being too secretive. (New York Post)

Return of the Superblock? - Jan 13, 2003
Several of the proposed designs for rebuilding Ground Zero ignore a call to restore part of the area's old street grid - and even move toward re-establishing the World Trade Center "superblock" that has been reviled by downtown residents and planners. The trade center occupied a massive, 16-acre chunk of Manhattan real estate that was called a "superblock" because no streets ran through it and much of it sat on an elevated platform entirely cut off from the neighborhood around it. (New York Post)

New Issues as Hearings Address Rebuilding - Jan 13, 2003
At citywide public hearings today and tomorrow, officials will explain more details about each of the nine designs released last month for the World Trade Center site. In addition, they will discuss the process they are using to narrow those options to a single plan for redeveloping the site and creating a memorial to the victims of Sept. 11. What officials from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey say they need now is comment on what one of them calls "the public realm" ? which plan provides the appropriate setting for a memorial, for a new railroad station and for a street system that will serve downtown. (New York Times)

Pataki And Bloomberg Differ On Two Key Issues -- Budget And Ground Zero - Jan 12, 2003
Although they are both grappling with how to shore up government shortfalls and how to rebuild Ground Zero, Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York's two most prominent Republicans, have staked out radically different approaches to deal with the two most imperative challenges both face this year. (Newsday)

Downtown Residents Still Waiting For $7 Million in Rent Aid - Jan 12, 2003
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. is holding hostage more than $7 million in rent grants it promised to downtown residents - saying their landlords have to fix building violations first. The agency, charged with helping revitalize neighborhoods around Ground Zero after 9/11, is withholding grants to more than 550 individuals and families who moved downtown or remained there to take advantage of the development corporation's rental-assistance offer. (New York Post)

Building Height Debated for WTC Site - Jan 12, 2003
Replacing the fallen World Trade Center towers with the world's tallest building would demonstrate courage. Or would it be hubris? As the date of the public hearing to gather public input on the new designs for Ground Zero approaches, some people believe the new structure must be a dramatic statement. But others say that creating the world's tallest building without regard to the neighborhood is not only impractical but in bad taste. (Associated Press)

Funds Shortage for Trade Center Transit Plans - Jan 12, 2003
The officials trying to devise a sweeping transit plan for devastated lower Manhattan are grappling with a stark reality: There's not enough money for everything. New York has been promised $4.55 billion in federal transit aid. From that pot, the Port Authority is hoping for about $1.6 billion for infrastructure costs below ground, including a bus depot, parking garages and access ramps at Ground Zero. The remaining $3 billion is being targeted for a new PATH terminal and underground concourse, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority center at Fulton St., a partial covering of West St. along the Trade Center site and a renovated South Ferry subway station. That leaves nothing for the most ambitious project being debated, which Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg have called critical to downtown's future: a multibillion-dollar direct rail link from lower Manhattan to Kennedy Airport. (New York Daily News)

High-Tech Research Center Planned Near Ground Zero - Jan 11, 2003
A high-tech research center will rise in lower Manhattan, with the help of a $3 million state grant, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said yesterday. The new Institute for Advanced Studies in Software and Information Technology will be based in the Ground Zero area, Silver said. A specific site hasn't been chosen yet. The center will be a collaboration that will include organizations such as the City University of New York, New York University, and private software and development companies. (New York Daily News)

Designer of World Trade Center Plan Open To Altering "Pit" Design - Jan 10, 2003
Faced with criticism from residents and relatives of World Trade Center victims, architect Daniel Libeskind said he'd be willing to alter his design's signature element - the open hole he wants to leave to the bottom of the Ground Zero pit. "I provided a space which . . . has a dignity for thinking about the memorial," Libeskind said of his design, which leaves open about two-thirds of the excavated trade center pit, known as the "bathtub," complete with exposed concrete walls. (New York Post)

Draft Guidelines Released for Trade Center Memorial - Jan 9, 2003
A World Trade Center memorial should recognize each person killed in the attacks in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as those killed in the bombing at the trade center in 1993, according to a preliminary outline for the development of the memorial released yesterday. The memorial should also include a tomb for unidentified remains of victims found at the site and may include some surviving elements of the trade center buildings, the outline stated. (New York Times)

Debate Begins on Shorter West St. Tunnel - Jan 8, 2003
The idea of building a long Downtown tunnel at West St. seems pretty much dead and buried, but a shorter, sub-pedestrian roadway adjacent to the World Trade Center site is still being actively considered by the powers that be and is being opposed by the leaders of the group that formed to sink the long tunnel. The Coalition to Save West St., a group of Battery Park City residents who organized themselves last year, released a report over the weekend criticizing the short tunnel between Vesey and Liberty Sts., the equivalent of a four-block area. (Downtown Express)

Report Criticizes FEMA's Handling of 9/11 Economic Claims - Jan 8, 2003
An internal review of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's performance after the Sept. 11 terror attack has concluded that the agency should have been more flexible and fair in helping people with economic losses. The agency also needs to coordinate better with other government agencies and charities in future disasters, the review concluded. (New York Times)

Victims Family Group Cool To Idea of Keeping Pit Empty - Jan 8, 2003
A Ground Zero design proposal to preserve the empty pit where the Twin Towers once stood is getting a cool reception from a surprising quarter - the 9/11 families who have campaigned for months to set aside the trade center "bathtub" area for a memorial. "We don't want to leave a hole in the ground," said Lee Ielpi, a member of the Coalition of 9/11 Families, whose firefighter son Jonathan was killed. "I don't want to go below grade for the memorial. I want the memorial to be up in the sunlight." (New York Post)

Build Memorial First, Says Victims Family Group - Jan 8, 2003
A coalition representing victims' relatives demanded last night that a memorial be built at Ground Zero before anything else - and complained that most rebuilding plans ignore that concern. Lee Ielpi of the Coalition of 9/11 Families said relatives of those killed in the terror attack on the World Trade Center have always wanted a memorial occupying the entire 9-acre "bathtub" to rise first on the site. Ielpi said only two of the nine architectural plans for the site - the ones by Daniel Libeskind and United Architects - set aside the needed space for a memorial. (New York Daily News)

Skyscrapers Would Come Later At Ground Zero, Says Planner - Jan 7, 2003
A top lower Manhattan planner predicted last night a memorial for terror victims, a transit hub, stores and cultural institutions would be the first structures to rise from the ruins of Ground Zero. Giant office towers will only be rebuilt after the initial round of contruction has been completed, Alexander Garvin told downtown's Community Board 1. (New York Daily News)

How Will Anyone Agree on the New Proposals for the World Trade Center Site? - Jan 6, 2003
"Architecture surely seemed to matter that morning in December at the press conference in the Winter Garden, if only because a roomful of public officials was sitting still for a three-and-a-half-hour festival of avant-garde culture," Paul Goldberger writes about the unveiling of the New Plans for Ground Zero. "But not that much has actually changed in the planning process since last summer. 'It is like putting lipstick on a hog,' said Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a civic group. 'Nothing has changed except you have a lot of fancy architects on this go-round. They are still designing the same thing, just prettier.' And the forces that have made planning at Ground Zero a process of byzantine complexity have not gone away. If anything, they have become more intense." (New Yorker)

Continued Efforts to Restore the Verizon Building, Battered on 9/11 - Jan 6, 2003
The gaping holes in the tan-brick facade of the Verizon Building, inflicted when three neighboring buildings fell around it on 9/11, are still open to the ground zero void. But the Verizon Building is very much alive. Enduring a daily chaos of cement mixers and the sparks from welders' arcs, the building at 140 West Street is again sending out dial tones to 34,000 customers. It is putting stockbrokers online. It is generating revenue. It is doing so without the 1,700 office workers who have been relocated to other buildings. (New York Times)

Experts Map National Icons In Order to Rebuild After a Disaster - Jan 5, 2003
Federal officials have spent a lot of time thinking about disaster scenarios since the cataclysmic events of Sept. 11, 2001. And, quietly, they have been mapping doomsday strategies that could be used to replace or resurrect national icons like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore in case they are ever damaged or obliterated in terrorist attacks. Should disaster strike, and a political decision be made to rebuild, exact replicas � or architectural clones � could be constructed fairly quickly. (New York Daily News)

Council Member: Add Brooklyn to WTC Health Study - Jan 5, 2003
A City Council member is urging health officials to include Brooklyn in a massive study of people who inhaled the plume of World Trade Center smoke and debris. In a letter to city and federal health authorities, Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn) said there was no reason to exclude Brooklynites from the study, which will track roughly 200,000 people who were caught in the thick, chemical cloud rising from Ground Zero. (New York Daily News)

City Request Stalls Insurance for 9/11 Cleanup - Jan 4, 2003
A long-delayed plan to have the federal government provide insurance for four construction companies against legal claims arising from their cleanup efforts at ground zero has been stalled by a request from the city government that it be covered, too. Already, 45 lawsuits have been filed against the city, mostly by construction workers (New York Times)

World Trade Center Designs Questioned - Jan 3, 2003
Ideas for redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, presented last December amid a blaze of publicity, are being questioned by specialists. Architects were told to be bold and take risks. But for all their inventiveness and imagination, real-estate experts and those involved in the complicated planning process say that none of these super-tall towers will probably be built. (BBC News)

Study to Follow 200,000 Exposed to Trade Center Ash - Jan 3, 2003
New York City and federal health officials are working out the final details of what they say would be the largest study of its kind ever undertaken -- a far-reaching health registry to follow as many as 200,000 people exposed to ash and dust from the destruction of the World Trade Center. The primary goal of the $20 million registry, paid for by federal disaster relief money, is not so much to obtain treatment for people who might still be sick more than a year after the attack, health officials say, but rather to interview people to get a broader picture of who was affected and to look for patterns in illness and recovery that individual physicians and clinics might have missed. (New York Times)

WTC Hearings To Be Simulcast - Jan 3, 2003
Participants at different locations in the city and on Long Island will be able to voice their comments on the future of the World Trade Center site at two public forums scheduled for Jan. 13 and Jan. 14, officials announced yesterday. The forums will be conducted from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. each night in the Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University in lower Manhattan and will be broadcast simultaneously on large screens at locations in all five boroughs and Long Island. (Newsday)

WTC Occupants Have First Claim on Offices - Jan 3, 2003
The landlord of the World Trade Center towers has promised his former tenants first dibs on space in offices that eventually will be built at Ground Zero, the Daily News has learned. Larry Silverstein, who signed a 99-year lease for the twin towers in the summer of 2001, made the promise at an informal gathering of downtown redevelopment officials on Dec. 19. (New York Daily News)

Tenants Begin to Return to Building Damaged Sept. 11 - Jan 3, 2003
Tenants are returning to 125 Cedar Street, the closest residential high-rise to Ground Zero. Five of the 19 families in the 13-story building have made homecomings in the last three weeks, the scars from that awful day, such as the broken windows, largely repaired. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district includes parts of lower Manhattan, ensured that the building was included in the nine plans now being considered for the development at Ground Zero. It had been omitted from the first six proposals, and residents feared the loss of their building. (Newsday)

Now Returned Home, 9/11 Detainee Denounces His Experience - Jan 3, 2003
An Indian man who was cleared of involvement in the Sept. 11 terror attacks has returned home, alleging sleep deprivation, unhealthy food and solitary confinement during his 15 months of detention in New York. (New York Post)

Families: Rebury 9/11 dead at WTC - Jan 1, 2003
Families of Sept. 11 victims from New Jersey urged downtown rebuilding officials last night to exhume the "ashen remains" of loved ones at the Fresh Kills landfill for reburial at Ground Zero. A crowd of 100 relatives focused on the retrieval issue - which they termed "nonnegotiable" - at the only forum on the rebuilding effort held in New Jersey. (New York Daily News)

Architects Criticize Ground Zero Publicity - Jan 1, 2003
While architects have publicly proclaimed the World Trade Center site proposals displayed at the Winter Garden in Lower Manhattan as the greatest architecture show ever, many have privately expressed reservations about the designs' details, the handling of the competition and even the spotlight in which the contestants now stand. The development corporation has frequently said that the object of the competition, a master land-use plan, is not to "include the detailed architecture of individual structures." But many architects worry that the teams' detailed models and impressively realistic video presentations will encourage the public to perceive them as concrete plans. (New York Times)