October 17th - October 21st, 2011
New East River Ferry Service Finds Success
Monday, October 17 -- After previous attempts failed to increase ferry ridership, the most recent service is a hit, reports the Wall Street Journal. The city started the service in June and has attracted twice as many riders as planners had expected. According to statistics supplied by city officials, nearly 350,000 people have paid to ride the ferries since late June, which is 134,000 then had been projected. On weekdays, the number of riders has averaged 2,862, almost double the forecast of 1,488.
Brookfield is Planning Expansion at 4 WFC
Monday, October 17 – The New York Times reports Brookfield Office Properties, Inc. will expand its offices in the World Financial Center. Brookfield is working with Bank of America Corp. to buy the financial firm’s 49% stake in 4 World Financial Center. This would make Brookfield the tower’s full owner.
Occupy Wall Street Raises Funds
Monday, October 17 -- The Occupy Wall Street protest has raised approximately $300,000 reported the Associated Press. The movement also has a storage space with donated supplies in lower Manhattan. They're filling a storage space on with donated goods to help sustain their nearly month-long occupation of Zuccotti Park. They've amassed blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, cans of food, medical and hygienic supplies -- even oddities like a box of knitting wool and 20 pairs of swimming goggles (to shield protesters from pepper-spray attacks).
Rent Dispute Endangers Mosque Plan
Monday, October 17 – The developer behind the proposed Islamic community center has become ensnared in a rent dispute with Con Edison. The New York Times reports Mr. El-Gamal’s group, which owns part of the property on Park Place but rents a part from Consolidated Edison, owes $1.7 million in back rent, according to the utility company.
Mr. El-Gamal’s group, which owns part of the property on Park Place but rents a part from Consolidated Edison, owes $1.7 million in back rent, according to the utility company. Con Edison has threatened to terminate the lease, which would imperil Mr. El-Gamal’s right to buy the property, as provided for in the agreement
Audit Reviews PA WTC Site Expenditures
Monday, October 17 -- The New York Post reports, an audit found millions of dollars in “unnecessary spending’’ were authorized by outgoing Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward to accelerate the rebuilding at the World Trade Center site. In effort to accelerate rebuilding in time for the 10th anniversary of September 11, Ward engaged in “extravagant overspending.”
The PA audit is expected to be made public within the next few weeks.
Wall Street Pay Enters Bear Market
Tuesday, October 18 -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc's bonuses are set to drop at least 20 percent this year and experts warn sinking revenue could see even lower pay before the end of the year, reported Reuters. On Wall Street pay is dipping as securities issuance dries up and unsteady markets cut into trading profits. Alan Johnson, a Wall Street compensation consultant, said bonus declines could fall by 30 to 50 percent from last year.
Goldman isn’t the only one cutting down on pay, as JPMorgan Chase & Co , is paying investment bank employees just 35 percent of the $7.7 billion in revenue that division delivered so far this year. That is down from 39 percent from the year-ago period and compares with a 44 percent payout ratio for Goldman.
Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc have also indicated they’ll be reducing bonuses to reflect weaker profits.
â€˜No Campingâ€™ Allowed
Tuesday, October 18 -- The New York Times reports, signs have gone up in at least three plazas in Midtown — forbidding “camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures” and “the placement of tarps or sleeping bags,” among other things.
The defensive move is for protection just in case the Occupy Wall Streeters are getting any ideas about expanding their territory or scoping out alternative sleeping sites.
While city-owned parks all have nighttime curfews, the 520 or so privately owned parks, arcades and plazas in the city fall into a gray area, and about half of them are required to be open 24 hours a day under the deals they struck with the city to be allowed to build more densely in return for creating public space. Even the ones open round the clock, though, are allowed to make their own rules.
Brookfield’s ban on camping gear at Zuccotti Park has not been enforced.
Governor Cuomo Picks Foye to Lead Port Authority
Wednesday, October 19 -- Patrick Foye, New York’s deputy secretary for economic development, has been selected by Governor Andrew Cuomo to head the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the transit agency that is also rebuilding the World Trade Center.
Foye, 54, will replace Executive Director Christopher Ward, who will remain in his post until the end of the month and then serve as an adviser through year-end, Cuomo said in an e-mailed statement today. Foye’s nomination must be approved by the authority’s board, the statement said..
Lhota to Head MTA
Thursday, October 20 -- Governor Cuomo announced nominate Joseph J. Lhota to serve as the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The nomination of Mr. Lhota was the recommendation of the Governor's MTA Search Advisory Committee. The Governor's appointment of an MTA chairman and CEO is subject to Senate confirmation.
Residents Tired With Protest
Friday, October 21 – Lower Manhattan residents vocally expressed their frustration with the Occupy Wall Street protest at a Community Board 1 meeting Thursday night. DNA.info reports an array of complaints were expressed including protesters turning their neighborhood into a toilet. Residents complain the protesters have not done enough to cooperate with the locals. Two of the biggest unresolved issues are the absence of round-the-clock accessible bathrooms in the Zuccotti Park, and the loud drumming and chanting. Despite the complaints, some present at the meeting were in favor of the movement.
After listening to dozens of people on both sides of the issue Thursday night, CB1's Quality of Life and Financial District committees unanimously approved a resolution supporting the protesters' First Amendment rights but also calling on them to take steps to be better neighbors. The resolution also said the board would not support action by the NYPD or Brookfield Properties, the owner of Zuccotti Park, to remove the protesters by force.
Silverstein Bond Offer Advances
Friday, October 21 -- Developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are going to issue a $1.3 billion in bonds in the first half of November, according to a person familiar with the matter, reported the Wall Street Journal. The move comes after a previous attempt did not materialize.
Silverstein Properties Inc., needs the financing to fund the continued construction of 4 World Trade Center. Work on the tower has now reached the 56 floor.
The board of the Port Authority, which owns the World Trade Center site and would cover the bond payments if Mr. Silverstein defaults, approved a financing plan at a meeting Thursday.