December 15th - December 21st, 2012
Downtown Garage Sued for Locking In 50 Cars During Hurricane
December 17 - A lower Manhattan parking garage prevented customers from fleeing Hurricane Sandy when it locked its facility without warning just before the storm made landfall, a Manhattan class action lawsuit charges. According to the NY Post, about 50 cars were held captive, only to be totaled by floodwaters, the suit claims. One man who tried to retrieve his Infiniti to evacuate his wheelchair-bound daughter -- but he found the gate shuttered, the filing stated. Attendants at the 24/7 garage, at 227 Cherry St., repeatedly assured customers that it would remain open throughout the storm, papers state. By 4 pm on Oct. 28, the garage was locked and protected from the surge by a only four, 3-foot sandbags, the filing states, and the company ignored repeated pleas from customers trying to access their vehicles. Customers were finally allowed in Nov. 9 and only after they signed a liability waiver. Some of the car owners had comprehensive insurance, others did not. Owners also lost personal property ranging from car seats to GPS devices. The suit is seeking unspecified damages.
Timetable for West Thames Bridge Comes Into Focus
December 19 - When the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 discussed the proposed West Thames pedestrian bridge at their December meeting, a city official shared for the first time a tentative schedule for the bridge completion, reported The Broadsheet. Matt Best, of the Mayor's office of Capital Project Development, who is overseeing the project, at first repeated earlier statements that the Bloomberg administration and the Battery Park City Authority plan to break ground on the project by the end of 2013, but then added, our timeline is to have it open sometime around the middle of 2015. The bridge design was originally unveiled in 2009. At that time, architect Christopher Sharples estimated that construction would take 12 months once ground was broken. This bridge is widely viewed as a crucial piece of infrastructure for the south-BPC neighborhood. The West Thames bridge is eagerly anticipated even by some residents who seldom cross West Street, because it is envisioned as the permanent replacement for the Rector Place pedestrian bridge, which was built as temporary crossing in 2002, and has now endured years past its originally intended five-year life span.
No Clear Link Between Cancer and World Trade Center
December 19 - Rescue and recovery workers exposed to debris at the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 terror attacks may have higher rates of some cancers, though there appears to be no increase in the disease overall, a study found. Bloomberg News reported that the workers were more likely than the general population to have multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, and tumors of the prostate and thyroid, according to a study Tuesday in the Journal of theAmerican Medical Association. The research, though, did not find an increase in the total number of cancers. While the finding does not prove a definitive link between the cancers and toxins, the dust, smoke and particles released contained known and suspected carcinogens such as asbestos, silica and benzene, raising public health concerns. The data, which looked at cases between 2007 and the end of 2008, are based on a short follow-up time, considering malignancies can take decades to develop. After months of debate in Washington earlier this year, cancer was added to the list of illnesses covered by the World Trade Center Health Program. The $1.5 billion federal fund created in 2011 provides medical care for specific symptoms and illnesses related to exposure at the Sept. 11 disaster sites.
Fund Helps Lower Manhattan Businesses Recover After Sandy
December 20 - The Partnership for New York City Fund, which helped Lower Manhattan businesses recover after September 11th, is launching a grant program for owners struggling to bounce back from Hurricane Sandy, reported NY1. The fund is offering grants of up to $5,000 to eligible small businesses south of Canal Street. The Partnership joined the Asian-Americans for Equality in Chinatown to announce the program Thursday. About $200,000 in grants will be available in total.
In a Slow Construction Market NYC Stands Tall
December 20 - Despite a major and ongoing slowdown in office building construction in Manhattan in the wake of the financial crisis, the surprising news is that nearly half of the total amount of office space currently under construction in the nation is underway in New York City, according to a new analysis of data by Cushman and Wakefield. Crain's New York reported that about three-quarters of that office acreage is being added at the World Trade Center site. Of the 14.5 million square feet of office space under construction across the country, 6.4 million square feet, or 44.4 percent, is underway in New York City. New York has been one of a few places, along with Boston and San Francisco, that have made strong enough recoveries to fund major office construction. The downtown business district, in which nearly all of the office construction is at the World Trade Center site, accounts for 4.8 million square feet of the activity. That is 75 percent of the construction in New York City.
Lower Manhattan Residents Say Con Ed Billed Them For Periods Without Power
December 20 - Anthony Wurman went more than a month without power after Sandy and was displaced from his Tribeca home on Washington Street until this week, reported NY1. Now, he is upset after getting a bill in the mail from Consolidated Edison, even though the lights were off and no one was home. Con Ed confirmed the utility is sending estimated bills to customers following Sandy because meter reading was suspended after the storm. It said customers accounts will be adjusted once meter readings are reported, either by Con Ed or residents themselves. There will also be additional credits. In Manhattan, Con Ed says typical residential customers will get a credit of $3 towards their bill. Those in other boroughs will get a $6 credit. There are also credits for business customers. Con Ed said the changes should be reflected by January 16. The pain continues across Lower Manhattan, where Con Ed said about 35 buildings are still without power, a reality that some residents are trying to cope with. Con Ed said the credits are based on the average amount of power outages, depending on your borough.
BPC Turf Ball Fields a Total Loss
December 21 - As part of its post-Hurricane Sandy inventory of damage to critical infrastructure, the Battery Park City Authority has determined that the artificial turf ball fields, which were completely submerged during the storm, will need to be replaced entirely, rather than repaired, reported The Broadsheet. Although no estimate is yet available for the funding or time needed to replace the fields, the project appears likely to consume significant quantities of both. The 2011 transition from grass to artificial turf cost more than $4.1 million and took almost six months from the day the fields were closed to the day they were reopened. But even this aggressive construction schedule came on the heels of more than two years of planning, discussion, and preparation. Additionally, the legal requirement to make a contract of this size available for competitive bidding will likely add several months, at a minimum, to the timetable. When it opened in 2011, the artificial turf used in Battery Park City represented a state-of-the-art plan for environmental sustainability. It incorporated a subsurface layer of peat, sand, and coconut husks, rather than the footing of pulverized rubber tires that have triggered health concerns among many critics of artificial turf. The eco-conscious design also included a 100,000-gallon drainage tank that collected storm water for later use in cooling the fields or irrigating nearby plants.