June 23rd - June 29th, 2012
First, Not Tallest, WTC Tower Topped Off
June 24 - A steel beam is to be hoisted 977 feet to the top of 4 World Trade Center on Monday, ceremonially signifying the completion of its structural framework, reported the New York Times and other news outlets. It continued: Wait a minute. Four World Trade Center? Yes, 4 World Trade Center: the biggest skyscraper New Yorkers have never heard of. That is not only because a much bigger companion, 1 World Trade Center, has claimed all the attention. It is because the architects, Maki and Associates of Tokyo, have deliberately designed their tower to be understated and deferential. They are, in other words, not disappointed by a lack of buzz. The firm is headed by Fumihiko Maki, 83, who won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1993, but has been little known in this country until recently. In his design for 4 World Trade Center, Mr. Maki embraced the idea that an office tower at ground zero ought to be a respectful backdrop to theNational September 11 Memorial. Because of the modesty and reticence of the building design, it was easy to overlook it in 2006 when theit was unveiledby Silverstein Properties alongside those of the far more expressive 2 and 3 World Trade Center, by Norman Foster and Richard Rogers. At the small scale of models and renderings, 4 World Trade Center did not turn many heads. It looked like a silvery extrusion of a trapezoid atop a parallelogram. But as its aesthetic restraint has assumed full scale, it has taken on a dignified monumentality. From some angles, at certain times of day, 4 World Trade Center almost disappears from the downtown skyline. That is quite a feat for a structure that will be the sixth tallest building in New York on completion next year.
Downtown Memorial Crowds Spill Over
June 24 - More than three million people from 150 countries have made a pilgrimage to the National September 11 Memorial since it opened last September. And they have not stopped there, reported Crain's New York. Since the memorial unveiling on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks, business has been strong at other cultural destinations in lower Manhattan. Some institutions, such as the Museum of Jewish Heritage, have welcomed roughly 20 percent more visitors from September to June over the year-earlier period. Executives there attribute much of the gain to the foot traffic coming from the memorial. They expect the numbers to increase further over the busy summer tourism season. Other cultural groups are enjoying a boost as well. The Museum of American Finance reports a six percent uptick in attendance as of May from the same time a year earlier. The National Museum of the American Indian is on track to beat the 350,000 visitors it received during its past fiscal year, which ended in September 2011.
High-Tech Recycling Bin Lands in Lower Manhattan
June 26 - This bin does more than just recycle. A sleek new paper-recycling bin that can also display news and emergency notifications landed in Lower Manhattan earlier this month, reported DNAinfo.com. The black oblong Renew Recycling Pod at Water and Whitehall streets is shorter and wider than the domed green and blue ones the city typically uses, and it has two large screens that can be programmed to scroll headlines or other messages. The Downtown Alliance business improvement district launched the pilot bin with J.M. Ornstein and Media Metrica, which conceived the design and has installed 50 of the bins in the London financial district. The bins cost tens of thousands of dollars apiece to produce, but Media Metrica offers them to cities for free and then makes money on the content the bins display. The pilot Renew Recycling Pod is the first to be installed in the United States, and the Alliance hopes to add more downtown, perhaps in privately owned public spaces like Zuccotti Park. Because the pilot bin is located on a Department of Transportation plaza, zoning rules prohibited the Alliance from running headlines on the two display screens, which instead show a fixed map of Lower Manhattan and a photo of the neighborhood. If the pods are installed in other spaces not run by the DOT, they will be able to display headlines and other information.
NYC Said To Plan Staten Island Ferris Wheel to Rival London Eye
June 26 - The north shore of Staten Island near its ferry connection with Lower Manhattan may become the home of a Ferris wheel bigger than the London Eye, according to a person familiar with the potential deal. Bloomberg News reported that a bid from New York-based Plaza Capital Group Management to build the attraction leads four other proposals to develop the area in the southernmost borough, said a person briefed on the matter. The other four bids, which proposed mixes of office and commercial space, are far behind the wheel idea, the person said. The news was reported earlier by the Staten Island Advance. The New York City Economic Development Corp. last year asked developers for ideas on developing two parcels on Staten Island at the St. George waterfront, which has missed out on the huge opportunity of New York City 8 million residents, according to the agency. The ferry connecting the island to Manhattan, 25 minutes across the bay, is the third-most- popular tourist attraction in NYC, with 70,000 daily commuters passing through the terminal. At a proposed height of 600 feet, the Ferris wheel would be bigger than the London Eye, on the South bank of the Thames.
CB1 Chooses New Leadership, Reorganization of Committees Begins
June 27 - Community Board 1 elected a new slate of leaders at its monthly meeting on June 26th, reported the Broadsheet. After many expressions of respect and gratitude for outgoing chair Julie Menin (who has presided over the board since 2005, but is barred by term limits from serving another year as chair), the members elected Catherine McVay Hughes (who has served as vice-chair since 2005) as the new chairperson. Battery Park City resident Anthony Notaro was elected vice-chair, while Adam Malitz was elected as the board secretary. John Fratta was elected the new treasurer of CB1, and Battery Park City resident Dennis Gault was elected assistant treasurer. Ms. McVay Hughes moved quickly to begin reorganizing CB1. She announced that the Planning and Community Infrastructure Committee will be combined with the World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee. The new panel will be renamed the Urban Planning Committee, and will be chaired by Jeff Galloway. Anthony Notaro also will serve as Acting Chair of the Battery Park City Committee, with George Calderaro as Acting Co-Chair, while longtime chair Linda Belfer recuperates from a serious illness.
Glass Accident at 4 WTC Shuts Down 9/11 Memorial Access
June 27 - The 9/11 Memorial Plaza was evacuated after a crane lifting a beam broke some windows at 4 World Trade Center, reported NY1 and other news outlets. A spokesman for Silverstein Properties said a sudden gust of wind caused a steel load to hit the glass on the 45th and 46th floors on the south side of the building. Some glass fell onto Liberty Street, which was closed at the time. The 9/11 Memorial closed for the remainder of the day as a precaution. The New York City Fire Department said no injuries were reported. The incident came a day after a construction worker was impaled at the site with a small steel rod. His wound is not considered life-threatening.
GSA Poised to Become Third Tenant of 1 WTC
June 28 - The Port of Authority approved a plan for the U.S. General Services Administration to take five floors at 1 WTC inlower Manhattan, making it the third tenant at the skyscraper, according to Bloomberg News. Authority commissioners authorized the agency to agree to a 20-year lease with the GSA, with as many as four 15-year renewal options, according to a resolution adopted today. Total rentpaid over the first 20 years would be $351.4 million. A final agreement still needs to be signed. The 104-story tower would be 55 percent leased with the deal, agency officials said. The 1,776-foot skyscraper, a centerpiece of the WTC redevelopment,is scheduled to be completed by 2014. The main building tenant is Conde Nast Publications Inc., which agreed last year to move its headquarters there from midtown Manhattan. Beijing Vantone Real Estate, a Chinese property firm, also has rented space. The GSA negotiates leases on behalf of federal agencies. It would take about 270,104 square feet at the new skyscraper, according to the resolution. The U.S. Customs House was among the original WTC tenants, fully occupying the 750,000-square-foot 6 WTC, one of the buildings destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001. The federal agency waived its right to have 6 WTC rebuilt in return for space in the new 1 WTC, the authority said.
Port Authority Chief Supports Sphere Move to 9/11 Memorial
June 28 - Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority agreed with 9/11 family members that the Koenig Sphere should be part of the WTC memorial, according to the Associated Press. Foye spoke during the public comment segment of the authority monthly boardmeeting. The 25-foot-tall, 45,000-pound sculpture has sat in Battery Park for a decade, but must be moved to make way for park renovations. It was used as an interim memorial in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Michael Burke and other victims' family members have gathered thousands of signatures in support of putting the sphere on the memorial plaza. But it was not included in the finaldesign. A spokesman for Joseph Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, declined to comment. In May, the Port Authority, the agency that owns the WTC site, said it was looking for a place to put the sphere and would make an announcement by mid-month, but no announcement followed.