June 8th - June 15th, 2012
Sept. 11 Health Fund Given Clearance to Cover Cancer
June 8 - A federal health official's ruling has cleared the way for 50 different types ofcancerto be added to the list of sicknesses covered by a $4.3 billion fund set up to compensate and treat people exposed to the toxic smoke, dust and fumes in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, reported the New York Times. The decision, released on Friday, came as a vindication for hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who have claimed -- often in the face of resistance from public health officials -- that their cancers were caused by their exposure to the dust cloud and debris thrown up by the attacks. It will allow not only rescue workers but also volunteers, residents, schoolchildren, and passers-by to apply for compensation and treatment for cancers developed in the aftermath of the attacks. The cancers will not be officially added to the list of covered illnesses until after a period of public comment and review that could last several months.
City Will Fix Downtown School Crunch by Sending Kids to Chinatown
June 11 - School officials plan to bus dozens of Downtown students to P.S. 1 on Henry Street to ease Lower Manhattan's overcrowding problem -- a solution that was immediately criticized by parents and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. According to DNAinfo.com, Department of Education officials acknowledged Friday during a heated meeting that Downtown schools face a "crunch" over the next several years, but said they have no plans to build new schools in the neighborhood to accommodate those extra children. Instead, starting in the fall of 2013, the DOE plans to send dozens of downtown kids to P.S. 1, which has 12 available classrooms and could host a new dual-language program.
9-11 Family Group Wants National Park Service to Take Over WTC Memorial
June 12 - A 9-11 family group is calling for the National Parks Service to take over the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site, claiming that the folks currently running it have turned it into a "memorial-industrial complex characterized by gross mismanagement, bloated salaries and out-of-control spending." According to the Village Voice, the Parks Service already runs a number of memorials, including the one in Shanksville, Penn., where hijacked Flight 93 crashed. The group, 9-11 Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims, has been harshly critical of the private non-profit which runs the memorial now. The group points out that instead of collecting $300 million owed by the memorial and museum, the Port Authority agreed to take just $50 million over a number of years. "What happened to the remaining $250 million? Why are taxpayers being expected to pick up the tab for the cost overruns by a private foundation," the group asks. The group is also critical of bills in Congress that would contribute $20 million annually to the museum "with no strings attached."
1 World Trade Center Is a Growing Presence, and a Changed One
June 12 - According to the New York Times, when President Obama visited 1 World Trade Center on June 14, he found a tower that is undeniably impressive and -- even a year and a half before its scheduled completion -- unquestionably a landmark of 21st-century New York. But it is not exactly the tower New Yorkers were led to believe they would see when the plans were unveiled in 2006. Since the Durst Organization joined the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2010 as the effective co-developer of the project, it has revised the design in a number of ways. Taken together, it is true, the design revisions will probably not much alter the presence of 1 World Trade Center on the Lower Manhattan skyline. But they may change its place in the civic consciousness, if the tower is perceived as too isolated or fortified at its base, or as having too little of a symbolic spire at its summit. If the result of all these changes is to lower the construction budget -- something the Durst Organization has a strong financial incentive to do -- that was not their purpose, said Douglas Durst, the chairman. Whatever the motivations, savings worth millions of dollars have been identified, though neither the Durst Organization nor the Port Authority would estimate the amount.
Permit Delays Cause Asphalt Green Summer Camp Cancellation
June 12 - The summer camp that Asphalt Green has been planning for more than a year to operate out of the new community center, now under construction on North End Avenue, has been cancelled. The Broadsheet reported that last week, the Battery Park City Authority, the agency that will be the Asphalt Green landlord in the new facility, notified the organization that the space would not be ready in time to open a camp this summer. Over the past several months, Asphalt Green has marketed the planned camp and continued to accept registrations, in the apparent hope that the construction of the community center (along with the inspection and permitting process) would be completed in time to open the camp. That hope came to an end last week, when the BPCA notified Asphalt Green that the facility would not be ready.
President and First Lady Visit World Trade Center
June 14 - In a solemn moment at 1 World Trade on Thursday, President Barack Obama placed his hand on the First Lady's back as they stared silently out a window, pondering the National September 11 Memorial 22 floors below, reported the NY Daily News. "It's beautiful," the President said of the two massive fountains that now cover the footprints of the twin towers. Later, Obama took in the memorial from ground level, and was clearly moved. "You don't expect how powerful it is until you go down there and hear the sound of it," he said. Joined by Gov. Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Bloomberg, the President and First Lady signed one of the final steel beams that will be added to the tower, which will rise to a symbolic 1,776 feet once completed. In truly presidential fashion, Obama included an inspiring inscription that spoke to the nation as a whole. "We remember. We rebuild. We come back stronger!" Obama wrote in red marker, finishing with his signature.
Bullish Sentiment at CB1
June 14 - The Financial District committee of Community Board 1 unanimously passed a resolution last week calling for the barricades that surround Charging Bull -- the bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica that guards the foot of Broadway, near Bowling Green Park -- be removed. But the stanchions, which were placed there during the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, remain. According to the Broadsheet, the committee was motivated in part by concerns about public safety. CB1 members noted that the statue is located in the middle of a crowded intersection (where Broadway and Whitehall Street diverge), and the barricades prevent local pedestrians and tourists from stepping up onto the sidewalk. Other CB1 members noted that Charging Bull seems to need no protection, since it bears no visible evidence of vandalism.