September 29th - October 5th, 2012
Park Official Says Pier 40 Has Five Years to Live
September 30 - The phased shutdown of the Hudson River Park popular but crumbling Pier 40 has begun. In a newly completed study on the cost of repairing the mixed-use pier at Houston Street, the Hudson River Park Trust found it could afford to fix only the bare essentials for The first area to close will probably be a southwest portion of the roof -- as early as next year. Other rooftop parking areas, and perhaps office space below, could follow. Officials said the Trust believes it can maintain the athletic field and current 1,700 parking spaces for the duration of the five years.
Pier 42 Renovation Imminent
October 1 - The final piece in the continuous green ribbon that has wound its way around the Lower East Side is one step closer to realization with the imminent rehabilitation of Pier 42, reported the New York Observer. A once lonely pier that, along with its now empty behemoth of a banana warehouse, that is slated to become a waterfront park after $14 million of work. The pier was toured this week by an excited State Senator Daniel Squadron and William Castro, the Manhattan Borough Commissioner of the Parks Department. Last November, Senators Schumer and Squadron announced that they, in an agreement between the LMDC, Port Authority, and the City of New York had secured funding for the site using a portion of the $20.4 billion alloted to Lower Manhattan following the events of September 11th. Now they have finally started the design process, signing on landscape architects Mathews Nielsen, the same firm responsibly for the restful Fulton landing pier beneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
Supreme Court Will Not Review 1993 WTC Bombing Case
October 1 - The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a lower court finding that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was not legally responsible for failing to prevent a 1993 truck bombing in the World Trade Center parking garage. Without comment, the justices rejected an appeal by Antonio Ruiz, a man injured in the blast, who accused the Port Authority of failing to provide adequate security in the garage. The question before the court was whether the Port Authority, which operated the WTC, was acting as a government agency or a private landlord with respect to its security at the complex. State law provides immunity for government agencies against most negligence cases. The highest court in New York State had found in 2011 that the agency was entitled to government immunity because security for the WTC, which was open to the public, was akin to a public police force. That decision reversed lower court rulings that the Port Authority was acting as a private landlord because the Trade Center was largely a commercial complex. The February 1993 bombing, in which two men drove a rental van packed with explosives into a public parking garage below the towers, killed six people and injured close to 1,000.
GroupM Considers Huge Lease to Anchor 3 WTC
October 1 - GroupM, the large advertising and media company, is in preliminary negotiations to anchor Three World Trade Center in a deal that would allow construction to begin on the planned 80-story office tower, reported the Commercial Observer. The potential lease, which is in early talks several sources said, appears to be the closest yet developer Silverstein Properties has come to realizing construction of the hulking 2.8 million-square-foot tower designed by architect Richard Rodgers. The lease would be about 550,000 square feet in size, several sources say, a large enough commitment to qualify the project for up to $600 million in public benefits in the form of a mix of equity and loan guarantees from the city, state and Port Authority. That agreement for public financial backing was struck in a 2010 deal between Silverstein and the Port Authority and requires Silverstein to contribute $300 million in equity into the tower, pre-lease at least 400,000 square feet of its space and repay the buildings government backers before extracting any profits. Until now, Silverstein has had a few close calls with 3 World Trade Center, attracting interest from a number of financial tenants, including UBS and Morgan Stanley, only to see interest wane as the financial sector was battered by increased regulations that led to downsizing. Silverstein has built the concrete core and below-ground portions of 3 WTC. GroupM is a subsidiary of the giant media and advertising conglomerate WPP and has been searching the office market for months for a large space in which to relocate. The company currently has operations at 498 Seventh Avenue and other locations in Midtown that it has wanted to consolidate into a single modern office facility.
Downtown Subway-Transfer Tunnel to Remain Closed Until WTC Towers Open
October 2 - Construction is just about finished on an underground tunnel connecting the R train at Cortlandt Street with the eight lines that run through the Fulton Street subway hub, but straphangers will have to wait years to even set foot inside, reported NY1. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning to keep the tunnel -- known as the Dey Street Concourse -- closed until both 1 and 4 World Trade Center open for business. The $200 million walkway will offer riders a free transfer between Cortlandt Street and the Fulton Center. Transit officials initially said it would be open next month, but will now likely remain blocked off until at least 2015. The agency says it would be too expensive to maintain the passage until the buildings open because only a handful of riders will use it.
African Burial Ground Memorial Reopening in New York City
October 3 - The outdoor memorial at the African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan will reopen Oct. 4, after being closed for months for maintenance upgrades, reported Epoch Times. Known as the oldest African cemetery in the United States, remains were uncovered at the site during construction of a federal office building in 1991. The remains of 419 individuals were exhumed for scientific study, before being returned to site Oct. 4, 2003, after years of public contention.At 11:59 a.m, a minute of silence will mark the nine-year anniversary of the return of the remains. At noon, a ceremony of remembrance will take place, followed by tours of the memorial from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Other events will be held through Oct. 7, as this week is also the monuments Youth Week. The outdoor memorial official re-opening is Oct. 5. The monument, a designated National Park, is on the corner of Duane and Elk Streets near Foley Square.
WTC Health Program Funds Registry Until 2016
October 3 - The federal World Trade Center Health Program has awarded the W.T.C. Health Registry a four-year extension to continue its work of identifying and tracking the long-term physical and mental health effects of 9/11 among the 71,000 enrollees directly exposed to the terrorist attacks, reported the Downtown Express. The federal funding will support multiple Registry activities, including a fourth health survey of Registry enrollees, the analysis of its 2011-2012 survey and surveillance of potential emerging health conditions. The grant also includes funding for outreach to enrollees who have not yet received care from the federal W.T.C. Health Program. The Registry, overseen by the city Department of Health, was developed in the early 2000s to document and evaluate long-term physical and mental health effects of 9/11. It is the largest initiative in the U.S. to monitor the health of people exposed to a large-scale disaster.