August 11th - August 17th, 2012
Fund Raising for the 9/11 Memorial Hurt by Dispute with Port Authority
August 11 - The battle over control of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum has begun to hamper fund raising for the project, Mayor Bloomberg warned yesterday, according to the NY Post. Bloomberg has helped the 9/11 memorial foundation raise more than half of the $700 million construction cost of the memorial and museum. While the memorial plaza opened last September, there is no opening date for the museum because of a dispute that has been raging for nearly a year with the PA over who will get to run the emotionally charged site. In the meantime, one source said, big donors who are being hit up in another round of fund-raising are questioning what is going on with the project. For months, both the mayor and the Port Authority gave the impression that their behind-the-scenes fight was over $150 million or so in infrastructure costs. But Bloomberg said that has essentially been resolved, with only $15 million separating the two sides. With the money matters largely settled, the real obstacle has proved to be control over the site -- roughly one-half of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex. The PA has insisted it retain permanent ownership of the entire 16 acres, regardless of day-to-day operations of the museum and memorial.
Worker Hurt in 1 WTC Mishap
August 11 - A worker was hurt after he took a fall at the 1 World Trade Center today, reported the NY Post. The man was working in an enclosed area on the 101st floor of the new skyscraper when he tumbled about sixteen feet inside the building about 12:50 p.m., authorities said. FDNY rescuers used ropes and a basket to pull the man down to safety, according to Deputy Chief John Esposito. EMS brought the man to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition. He suffered minor injuries from the fall, authorities said.
1 WTC Tour Is Latest NYC Status Symbol
August 13 - If you want to gawk at the global elite in New York, skip the front rows of Madison Square Garden, do not bother making reservations at Nobu and avoid stalking VIP rooms behind velvet ropes in the Meatpacking District. Instead, simply take a trip to 1 World Trade Center. According to the Wall Street Journal, touring the rising tower has become a bragging right for connected New Yorkers and even international giants. Barack Obama famously meandered through the tower in June, but industry leaders, Financial District locals, veterans and other people with connections to the Port Authority -- everyone from astronaut Buzz Aldrin to New York Jets center Nick Mangold -- have quietly been on one of the hundreds of trips inside the tower. The tours are typically guided by a PA employee, who takes visitors on a hoist elevator to the 20th floor or higher. Some visitors have gone as high up as the last completed floor, the 55th.
Nielsen Nears Move to 85 Broad from Midtown South
August 13 - Media company Nielsen has not found a sublet for its Midtown South office space but is already nearing a deal for replacement space in bargain-friendly Lower Manhattan. The Wall Street Journal reported that it is negotiating for about 160,000 square feet at 85 Broad Street, the former headquarters of Goldman Sachs. Nielsen is currently located at 770 Broadway, a Vornado Realty Trust building on East Ninth Street that also houses AOL, Huffington Post and J. Crew. In June, itcommissioned CBRE Group to find a takerfor its 158,000 square feet. Meanwhile, Nielsen is joining a flurry ofmedia companies that have moved downtownin recent years, led by Conde Nast. Like its media predecessors, Nielsen is moving downtown in search of cheaper rents. Prices in Midtown South have climbed as high as $60 per square-foot, $20 more per foot than prime downtown buildings charge. Rents downtown are stumbling because many financial firms moved to Midtown after the 9/11 attacks and those that remain are increasingly consolidating.
9/11 Museum Asks for Dismissal of Suit Over Cross
August 15 - The National September 11 Memorial and Museum filed court papers this week seeking to dismiss a federal lawsuit brought by a group of atheists who oppose the museum decision to display the giant cross-shaped steel beam that became a site of daily prayer during the cleanup of ground zero, the New York Times and other news sources reported. The museum argues that it is an independent nonprofit, not a government agency, and therefore cannot impose religion using the "power of the state" as American Atheists Inc. had charged in its suit. The New Jersey-based group had said in its 2011 lawsuit that the museum was violating the Constitution's establishment clause and state civil-rights law by exhibiting a religious symbol. In its court papers, the museum says the 17-foot crossbeam is being exhibited as a relic of the 2001 attack and not as a religious symbol. In addition, the museum maintains that simply displaying an object with religious significance does not amount to endorsing or promoting a religion.
Shoppers Flock to New Fulton Street Gourmet Key Food
August 15 - Hundreds of hungry shoppers poured into the sprawling new downtownKey Foodfor its soft opening Wednesday --marking the launch of the brandsfirst upscale grocery store in Manhattan. DNAinfo.com reported that customers at the new store, called 55 Fulton Market, lined up for freshly made pizza and sushi, filled baskets with organic produce and perused the international beer and cheese selections. The 24-hour grocery store, in the base of Southbridge Towers, ismore than five times bigger than the old 3,500-square-foot Key Foodjust to the west, which shuttered when the new supermarket opened. Customers enter 55 Fulton Market on an open ground floor that features organic and specialty items in a setup similar to Whole Foods. Downstairs from the entrance is a more traditional grocery store, with a butcher and fresh-fish counter. Those who do not want to wait to munch on their purchases can eat at a second-floor seating area overlooking Fulton Street or at outdoor tables in front of the store entrance.
Hudson Square Rising: Last Corner of Undeveloped Manhattan Starts Rezoning Process Monday
August 16 - Trinity Church has controlled vast swaths of Lower Manhattan real estate for going on three centuries, since the Queen of England deeded 215-acres to the church in 1773. According to the NY Observer, much of that property has been sold off, but the church still controls one pocket of land at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel, known affectionately these days thanks to developers and brokers, as Hudson Square. For the past five years, Trinity has been working on a rezoning of 50 acres spread over some 20 off-the-grid blocks -- the area often feels remote cut off from the rest of the city as it is by the Holland Tunnel. On Monday, it officially begins the public review process, as the City Planning Commission is expected to certify the Trinity Church in-house rezoning proposal. The area is generally bounded by Sixth Avenue on the East, the Hudson River on the West, Houston Street to the north and Canal Street to the south. The rezoning is by far the largest private rezoning the agency has ever underwritten. It is also one of the most complex, with contextual zoning elements meant to preserve the neighborhood character; open space provisions meant to foster more plazas and parks in an area that has almost none; plus schools, affordable housing, even plans for dealing with night clubs, of which there are already a few in the area. A spokesman for Trinity declined to discuss the project until it is officially certified.