July 27th - August 2nd, 2013
Research Ship Docked in Lower Manhattan to Stream Underwater Explorations
July 28 - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Okeanos Explorer, which is currently docked in Lower Manhattan, is helping scientists reveal the secrets of the Earth's oceans. Researchers say 95 percent of the oceans are unexplored and unknown, reported NY1. The Okeanos Explorer has just returned from a 17-day exploration of the Atlantic Ocean, where robots descended thousands of feet to explore the depths of the ocean. The data will help researchers better understand the ocean and how it affects us. On Saturday, crew members who are on break until the next expedition welcomed a group of teenage Navy sea cadets from Brooklyn. For those not lucky enough to get on board, there's another way to get an up-close experience with Okeanos. A ball on the deck of the ship contains a satellite that will beam everything the ship sees to a website that anyone can access. Right now, there is not a whole lot to see on the website, but that will change soon. On August 1, the next expedition begins to underwater canyons and a sea mountain off the northeast coast. NOAA hopes the live stream will not only provide a glimpse of the work its scientists are doing, but perhaps peak the interest of future researchers. The Okeanos' progress can be followed at oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos.
Trinity Wall Street Plans 32-Story Tower for Site Behind Church
July 31 - Trinity Church has decided to tear down 74 Trinity Place, the 25-story office building behind the house of worship that houses its parish office, a highly regarded pre-school, and other tenants, according to the Broadsheet. Trinity will replace the building (along with a smaller structure next door, 68 Trinity Place) with a 32-story tower that will contain up to seven floors for church use at its base, and 25 floors of residential units above. Trinity has designated the architectural firm of Pelli Clarke Pelli to design the new building, and is now searching for a development partner. The new building's plans include almost 300,000 square feet of space, and two entrances -- one on Trinity Place for Church-related uses, and another on Greenwich Street for residents of the tower. The seven stories at the structure's base will host administrative offices, Trinity's Sunday school, and rooms for use by community organizations. But one current tenant, Trinity's widely admired pre-school program, will have to find space elsewhere. The building to be demolished is a Jazz Age-skyscraper designed by architect Henry Oser and completed in 1927. The structure is a hybrid of the Renaissance Revival and Art Deco styles, and features decorative terra cotta and bronze spandrel panels. It has repeatedly been proposed for designation as a landmark in recent decades, but has thus far not been granted that status.
Downtown NYC Landlords Remake Offices in Shift From Banks
July 31 - As vice president of leasing for Brookfield Office Properties Inc. David Cheikin is leading the push to remake the former World Financial Center into a destination for technology and media companies, reported Bloomberg News. Once home to the Merrill Lynch, the Hudson riverfront complex is now Brookfield Place New York, and much more than the name is changing. Brookfield is stripping away brass and marble trims and adding bicycle parking, free Wi-Fi in public spaces and electric-car charging stations. At Merrill's former headquarters, clear glass is replacing the imposing, dark-tinted facade built as a barrier to the public, Cheikin said. Downtown landlords with millions of square feet of empty space are transforming offices that were designed for the global financial elite to better appeal to New York's technology and media firms. They're pitching their properties as an alternative to the converted factories of midtown south, where a frenzy of demand has pushed up rents and driven vacancies to the lowest in the U.S. The image makeover is only part of the challenge as the area faces a glut of space from skyscrapers that are nearing completion at the World Trade Center site.
BPCA Board Allocates Funds to Support Free Downtown Shuttle Bus
July 31 - At the Tuesday meeting of its board, the Battery Park City Authority resolved months of questions about the agency's commitment to financially supporting the Downtown Connection, the free shuttle bus that ferries riders between Battery Park City and the South Street Seaport, reported the Broadsheet. The board voted in favor of continuing annual support for the Connection shuttle, but on different terms than those that have governed the relationship between the BPCA and the Downtown Alliance (which operates the shuttle) since 2003, when the service was launched. The board voted in favor of paying more than $600,000 per year to the Alliance, but this payment will no longer be designated as a contribution to the Alliance, which is registered as a non-profit. Rather, these funds will now be classified as a fee paid for the service that the Alliance provides by running the Connection shuttle through Battery Park City, which comprises about one-third of its route. The Downtown Connection shuttle, which was started by the Downtown Alliance in 2003 (and expanded to its current route of 37 stops in 2009) operates a fleet of six buses from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, seven days a week. More than 800,000 people per year use the free service, which connects residential areas of Lower Manhattan with business and shopping districts.
Brooklyn Bridge Beach Plan Brings Sand and Surf to Lower Manhattan
August 1 - Lovers of sand and sun no longer will have to troop to Coney Island or the Rockaways for a day at the beach. The city will transform a desolate swath of land along the East River in lower Manhattan into a beautiful beach with sand, seating and waterfront views, the New York Daily News has learned. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have set aside a total of $7 million for the groundbreaking project, which will be officially announced Thursday. The area -- 11,000 square feet at low tide -- will feature sand, terraced seating, a kayak launch, a spot for fishing, tree-lined walkways and concession stands, all just minutes from Wall Street in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. The project will include the creation of salt marshes just offshore to help spare the waterfront from the full fury of storms. The beach site is now a fenced-off area strewn with trash and impossible to reach on foot. While the city will transform the land, there is not much that can be done with the polluted East River, and so the beach will lack one crucial ingredient -- the ability to jump in and swim. Officials hope to one day create wading pools with water captured and cleaned from the runoff of the nearby FDR Drive, but that phase of the project will require raising additional cash. The project is expected to take about three years to complete.