March 30th - April 5th, 2013
New Round Of WTC Debris Sifts Begin
March 29 - More World Trade Center debris will be sifted this month in the citys ongoing effort to identify as many human remains as possible from the 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, officials said Friday, reported NY1 and other news sources. Family members of 9-11 victims were alerted by email Friday of the citys intent to start a fresh round of sifting at its forensic platform at Fresh Kills in Staten Island. City officials say about 60 truckloads of construction debris have been collected around the site over the past 2.5 years. The sifting is expected to continue for about 10 weeks and the multi-agency operation is being led by the office of the chief medical examiner. In a memo attached to the 9-11 families email, Deputy Mayor for Operations Caswell Holloway said 1,845 potential human remains have been found to date, but not all of them have been positively identified. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attack. The process is expected to take 10 weeks.
Judge Tosses Lawsuit Over 9-11 Steel Cross
March 29 - A judge has tossed out a lawsuit that sought to stop the display of a cross-shaped steel beam found among the World Trade Center rubble, saying the artifact could help tell the story of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, reported NBC News and other sources. U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts in a ruling released publicly Friday rejected the arguments of American Atheists, which had sued the National September 11 Memorial and Museum operators in 2011 on constitutional grounds, contending that the prominent display of the cross constitutes an endorsement of Christianity, diminishing the contributions of non-Christian rescuers. The 17-foot-tall steel beam was found by rescue workers two days after the terror attacks. It is scheduled to be displayed among 1,000 artifacts, photos, oral histories, and videos in an underground museum that will also house the staircase workers used to escape the towers as well as portraits of the nearly 3,000 victims and oral histories of Sept. 11. The museum, still under construction and scheduled to open next year, is part of a memorial plaza that includes waterfalls that fill the fallen towers footprints.
WTC Observation Deck To Offer Views 100 Floors Above Manhattan
April 2 - It will take two more years to finish, but views from the1 World Trade Centerobservation deck will be worth the wait, according to DNAinfo.com. Developers offered a glimpse of the deck being built 1,250 feet in the sky this week, and detailed the state-of-the-art guest experience that will shuttle visitors to what will be the highest spot in the city for breathtaking, panoramic views. Port Authorityco-chairman David Samson introduced the space during a press conference on the 100th floor of 1 WTC, which will become the first level of the three-story deck. Visitors to the site will not only see spectacular views. Guests will have an interactive experience that includes a theater and several chances to learn about the city and the history of the World Trade Center. Officials said the whole visit would take at least an hour, though a high-speed elevator, which will give guests the virtual experience of traveling outside the building, will shoot up 100 floors in about 60 seconds. The three-floor deck will include ceiling-to-floor windows, as well as several dining options on one level, and spots to purchase souvenirs. Officials were still deciding on a ticket-price for the experience, but said discounts would be available for schools. The project is slated to be complete in 2015.
CB1 Welcomes Five New Members
April 2 - A marketing entrepreneur, a wine shop owner and an architect are among the five newest members ofManhattan Community Board 1, reported DNAinfo.com. Borough President Scott Stringerand local officials appointed the new members after reviewing 550 applications for the 311 available posts in Manhattan community boards. CB1 Chairwoman Catherine McVay Hughessaid she was very excited to welcome the five new members -- Sarah Currie-Halpern, Elizabeth Lewinsohn, Kathleen Gupta, Marco Pasanella and Jason Friedman -- who all come to the board with a strong commitment to Lower Manhattan. The new CB1 positions were left vacant by several stalwarts of the board, including former chairwomanJulie Menin, who stepped down to run for borough president, as well asHarold Reed, a beloved member who died in January.
City Council Approves Pier 17 Plan
April 3 - The City Council approved Howard Hughes Corporation ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) application for the redevelopment of Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport on March 20, reported the Downtown Express. However, the $200 million plan was authorized with a few modifications. Construction on Pier 17 will now begin on Oct. 1, 2013 instead of July 1, giving existing tenants in good standing the right to remain through the busy summer season and attempt to recoup losses suffered from Superstorm Sandy. Under the new agreement, they must vacate the pier by Sept. 9. These tenants will be able to apply for space in the new mall on Pier 17, though Howard Hughes will not be obligated to grant them new leases. The pier will be redesigned to accommodate maritime uses. A new plan must be submitted to City Council no later than June 30, 2013. The final modification was that the public will be guaranteed free access to the pier at all times. Portions of the rooftop will be made available without charge to community-based organizations up to four times a year. In addition, there will be a new food market at the Tin Building, which dates from 1907 and is in the Seaport historic district. The agreement mandates that any proposal for a mixed-use project at the Tin Building must include a food market occupying at least 10,000 square feet of floor space showcasing locally and regionally sourced foods that are sold by multiple vendors.
Submarine Walls May Be Added At WTC, Post-Sandy
April 4 - The Port Authority confirms it is considering adding so-called submarine walls to the World Trade Center site, as a result of Sandy, reported WNYC. These are waterproof doors with a pressure seal, which would be installed four levels below ground to protect vital equipment from another storm surge. Jay Badame, President of Tishman Construction, said at a breakfast sponsored by Crains New York Business that Sandy revealed the site is pone to flooding. Before Sandy, Badame said, we would never have thought of adding a submarine door. He noted that construction plans have mainly been designed with another terrorist attack in mind: there are wider stairways so fire fighters can easily get inside, and stronger walls to withstand a bomb blast, to make the building stronger, harder, Badame said, adding that, post-Sandy you are looking at that core also to be a mini-submarine. A spokesman for the Port Authority said all options are under consideration, and no decision has yet been made on whether to add submarine doors.
39 WTC Body Fragments Found
April 5 - Anthropologists this week have discovered 39 bits of human remains while sifting through World Trade Center debris, reported the New York Times and other outlets. That was the yield from the first three days of work in a process that is expected to go on for at least two months. It turns out that 60 dump trucks worth of soil from the WTC site, identified as long as two and half years ago as possibly holding human remains, has been sitting untouched beneath a tarp on Staten Island. The startling possibility exists that the remains of a large number of people could be found and identified in the months ahead, nearly 12 years after the attack. The operation at Fresh Kills on Staten Island began April 1 on about 590 cubic yards of debris previously inaccessible to investigators because of construction at Ground Zero. Most of the debris being sifted comes from around 130 Liberty St. on the south side of the site. Each bit of remains will undergo DNA testing in the hope it can be matched with a victim of 9-11.