October 13th - October 19th, 2012
Massive Proposed Seaport Signage Slapped Down by Community Board
October 12 - A massive sign in the proposed redesign of Pier 17 on the South Street Seaport was panned by a community board committee Thursday as too bold and out of character with the historic waterfront site, reported DNAinfo.com. The Landmarks Committee of Community Board 1 blasted the planned 9-by-90-foot illuminated Seaport rooftop sign proposed by owner Howard Hughes Corp., noting concerns that such signage would overwhelm the new facade. The sign is part of asweeping new plan to redevelop Pier 17 beginning next year, including replacing the existing shopping center with high-end stores and restaurants housed in a contemporary, all-glass structure. But the committee had concerns that the proposed sign -- made up of modern letters that would spell out Seaport or The Seaport -- detracted from the buildings historic look. Other parts of the proposal, including 32 smaller signs that would appear outside each store in Pier 17, were also rejected by the committee due in part to their size, which was said did not keep within the guidelines set by Landmarks Preservation Commission. An LPC spokeswoman said the developer will have a chance to pitch the plan to the commission at an upcoming public hearing. The committee will bring its resolution, part of the landmark application for Pier 17, before the full board on October 23.
Wanted - A Berth for a Lonely Old Ship
October 12 - Efforts by the South Street Seaport Museum to return one of its tall ships to Hamburg, Germany, where it was originally launched, have fallen through. Now the museum has to find an alternative home for the barque Peking, The Wall Street Journal reported. Because of financial struggles that led to its takeover by the Museum of the City of New York last year, the museum cannot afford to repair all 11 of its vessels. The Museum of the City of New York took over the beleaguered Seaport museum last September, using $2 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The grant provides for an 18-month period during which the City Museum can evaluate whether it can turn around the Seaport Museum.
Port Authority Sues Steel Company Over WTC Spire
October 12 - The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has filed a lawsuit claiming a steel company failed to deliver steel pieces needed to complete the antenna that will sit atop 1 World Trade Center, reported ABC News and other sources. The lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court accuses ADF Steel Corp. of refusing to ship the remaining steel for the needle, which will be 408 feet tall when completed. The Port Authority says ADF has demanded about $6 million in payments for another project as ransom for shipping the rest of the steel. ADF Steel had no immediate comment on Friday. One WTC is being constructed to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
WTC Rally Urges Zadroga Funding Protection
October 15 - Activists and politicians rallied at the World Trade Center in Manhattan Monday, urging President Barack Obama and Congress to protect millions in funding for 9-11 first responders and other survivors from looming budget cuts, reported Newsday. The group -- including New York Democratic Sens.Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Republican Rep.Peter King -- called on the White House Office of Management and Budget to exclude the James Zadroga 9-11 Health and Compensation Act from automatic budget cuts scheduled to kick in on Jan. 1 unless federal lawmakers agree on a deficit-reduction plan before then. A preliminary report by OMB shows that two programs under the Zadroga Act could lose $38 million total in 2013. The Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund could see a $24 million cut and the World Trade Center Health Fund could see a $14 million cut. During last summers debt-ceiling crisis, a deal was reached to slash more than $100 billion in spending across all federal programs beginning on Jan. 1 unless a group of lawmakers, known as the super committee, agrees on a deficit-reduction plan. The super committee has not come up with a plan to trim the federal deficit and unless lawmakers do so before Jan. 1, automatic cuts will take effect.
Trinity Church Opts to Cancel Halloween Fest Over Occupy Wall Street Camp
October 15 - Occupy Wall Street campers have made Halloween at a church in lower Manhattan simply too scary, church officials told FoxNews.com. Citing an abundance of caution, the Rev. James Cooper of Trinity Church said the Episcopal parish at Broadway and Wall Street in Manhattan has canceled it popular Halloween activities due to safety issues arising from a sidewalk encampment in front of the place of worship. A New York Police Department spokesman said there have been 18 arrests in the vicinity of Trinity Church since the last big Occupy Wall Street demonstration on Sept. 17. As a result of the increased activity, a spokesperson said the long-running church Halloween festivities, including trick-or-treating in its courtyard and movies for children, will be canceled. No other church activities will be impacted. Ed Needham, an Occupy Wall Street organizer, said he found it "frankly disingenuous" for the church to cancel its Halloween celebration. "There is no danger to anybody," Needham said he had no information pertaining to the Oct. 11 incident, but said the encampment is not likely to go away anytime soon.
Pier 40 Tour Paints Bleak Picture
October 17 - A Monday-afternoon tour of Pier 40 conducted by officials from the Hudson River Park Trust painted a sobering picture of conditions and prospects for the 14.5-acre, one-million-square-foot structure that juts into the Hudson River at West Houston Street, according to The Broadsheet. Many community leaders have reservations about development at Pier 40. But support or opposition to development of Pier 40 may become moot in the face of a painful irony: What was supposed to be a chief HRPT asset has become a financial albatross. A March meeting of the HRPT board Audit Committee brought the news that expenses in the proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget would spike to $24.5 million, compared to $16.2 million in 2011. The main cost overrun is related to capital maintenance costs at Pier 40, including $6 million for roof repair. The first phase of emergency repairs is now under way, at a price tag of $6.2 million. But HRPT president Madelyn Wils noted that another $30 million is needed just to bring the structure into compliance with building codes, a prerequisite for development.
Soldier, in Bronze, Goes to Ground Zero
October 17 - The sculpture that stood in the middle of the WTC plaza when the center was destroyed cannot find a permanent home, according to the New York Times. But another big bronze that has been in New York City less than a year already has a highly visible spot at ground zero. Commuters streaming out of the PATH train station at the WTC in Lower Manhattan on Wednesday morning may have spotted the shrouded newcomer: a 16-foot-tall sculpture of a Special Operations soldier on horseback. The statue is a memorial to the troops who led the American invasion of Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the trade center and the Pentagon. The statue, known as De Oppresso Liber, a motto of the Army Special Forces, was hauled to a spot near the PATH station entrance on Vesey Street on Tuesday evening. That will be its temporary home while construction at the trade center continues, said Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority, adding that the agency had agreed to provide a space for the statue at the trade center outside of the National September 11 Memorial. He added that no decision had been made about where the permanent home for the statue would be, but it is expected to stay on the WTC grounds.
Suspected Terrorist Arrested for Alleged Plot to Bomb NYC Federal Reserve
October 18 - Federal authorities on Wednesday arrested a man they said was plotting to blow up the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan, just blocks from the WTC site, reported NBC News and other sources. Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, was arrested in a sting operation the morning of October 17 after he parked a van filled with what he believed were explosives outside the building and tried to detonate it in a suicide mission, authorities said. Earlier in the day, he went to a warehouse and assembled what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb using inert explosives provided by federal agents. Authorities said Nafis proposed several spots for his attack, including the New York Stock Exchange -- and that in a written letter taking responsibility for the Federal Reserve job he was about to carry out, he said he wanted to destroy America. The Bangladeshi native reported having overseas connections to al-Qaeda, and traveled to the U.S. in January to carry out an attack, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn. He was trying to recruit people, but one was a secret FBI source, and Nafis was closely monitored as he tried to act out his plot. Federal authorities said the public was not in danger during any point in the investigation. Nafis was awaiting a federal court hearing later Wednesday where he is facing a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support for al-Qaeda.
Brookfield to Rename World Financial Center
October 18 - Brookfield Propertieswill rename the eight million-square-foot office complex it owns in Lower Manhattan, according to the Commercial Observer. What is known currently as theWorld Financial Center will become Brookfield Placeunder the plan, in what appears to be an effort to distance the property's image as a home predominantly for financial tenants at a time when leasing demand from that sector has been weak. Brookfield, a large real estate investment trust that owns millions of square feet of commercial space across the U.S. and Canada. Although the World Financial Center is considered one of the highest quality offerings downtown, it is facing increased competition, including from the millions of square feet of office space being built just across West Street at theWorld Trade Centersite.