December 8th - December 14th, 2012
Lower Manhattan Residents and Businesses Still Grapple With Recovery
December 9 - In the streets that surround the New York Stock Exchange, the air is filled with the odor of generator fuel and frustration over the slogging recovery from Hurricane Sandy, according to the New York Times. Along the water-damaged blocks below Wall Street and around the South Street Seaport, small businesses are closed or are limping along without phone service, their regular customers, and, in some cases, their employees, who were laid off just before the holidays. There is no official tally, but local leaders estimated that a few thousand small businesses had been shuttered or were operating at less than full strength since the storm and that as many as 10,000 jobs had been lost, at least temporarily. About 3,000 apartments in Lower Manhattan remain uninhabitable. Ro Sheffe, who will lead a disaster-relief task force for small businesses in Community Board 1, has lived near the World Trade Center for 19 years and said he feared the financial district would fall into a slump, as it did after the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. Among the obstacles to recovery isthe slow restorationof phone and Internet service. Many merchants have been able to accept only cash payments for more than a month. Verizon said the saltwater that poured into Lower Manhattan had ruined most of the old copper wiring that ran under the streets. Residents of some of the luxury buildings downtown are also struggling to get their lives back to normal. Margaret S. Chin, a city councilwoman who represents the area, has expressed concern about diesel generators fouling the air. In a letter she sent on Friday to Joseph Martens, the state commissioner of environmental conservation, Ms. Chin invoked post-Sept. 11 air quality hazards and said, "We cannot leave it to private entities involved with cleanup to assure residents that the air is safe to breathe."
Residents Still Homeless in Lower Manhattan After Sandy
December 9 - Some Lower Manhattan residents are still struggling with the effects of Superstorm Sandy, shut out of their homes for more than a month or longer, reported Metro. Tenants at 1 West Street were not able to get back into their building for 33 days after the storm, and 2 Gold Street leases have been suspended until March 1, according to one 2 Gold resident. Ben Shuman, 1 West property manager, said they did the best they could.He said part of the problem was that early assessments of the damage were relatively positive. Now, some residents want to take advantage of a clause in their contract that allows them to break their lease if kept out of their apartments for over 30 days. The option to break a lease is part of the standard Real Estate Board of New York lease reads that termination is effective as of the casualty. Attorney Joseph Burden confirmed that the casualty provision, allowing tenants to cancel their lease if they are out of possession of the apartment for more than 30 days as a result of a casualty, is standard, but tenants have to act within a reasonable period of time after the 30 days. Some of the 1 West tenants wondered if they had time to see if building conditions improved, which Burden said could work.
Downtown Residents Upset Over 24-7 Generators
December 9 - With more than 50 buildings downtown still without power since Hurricane Sandy, residents are choking on noxious fumes from the massive generators chugging around the clock, according to the NY Post. Trailer-size generators sit across the street, with 1,000-gallon diesel tanks, to power 60 Broad St., a major commercial high-rise. The smoke-spewing generators roar 24/7, though the offices are empty at night. City Councilman Margaret Chin wrote state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martins Friday, citing dozens of complaints -- and health fears -- about the exhaust, smoke and grit seeping into their homes. One Hanover Square resident and his wife, who is 5-months pregnant, tried to seal their windows with plastic to keep out the fumes. "After 9/11, residents were assured by government that the air was safe to breathe. Sadly, this turned out not to be the case," Chin wrote.
One New York Plaza Retail Concourse to Be Rebuilt After Post-Sandy Flooding
December 11 - Winick Realty Grouphas been selected by Brookfield Office Properties to exclusively market 40,000 square feet of vacant sub-level retail space atOne New York Plaza, reported Commercial Observer. The space, damaged during Hurricane Sandy and slated to be rebuilt and repositioned, makes up the concourse level of the 2.6-million-square-foot Class A tower, with entryways on Whitehall, Broad and Water Streets. The realty company said it will target neighborhood convenience stores, as well as fast-casual or quick-service restaurants, to fill the space. A spokesperson added that Battery Park, which lies in close proximity, is among the most-attended national parks, yielding even more yearly visits than the Grand Canyon. Brookfield Office Properties was forced to gut the original 31,000-square-foot concourse at The Plaza Shops after severe flooding brought on by Sandy destroyed it.
Governors Island Proposals Sought
December 11 - Governors Island, now an isolated retreat for a summer weekend a seven-minute ferry ride from Manhattan, could be transformed into a 24-hour a day educational or commercial hub under a request for proposals to restore and reoccupy 40 historic buildings on the island, according to the Wall Street Journal. The city hopes to ignite what so far has been the slow-moving redevelopment of the 173-acre island that had been used by the military for 200 years, most recently by the Coast Guard, which moved out in 1996. After a number of false starts, the city already has undertaken several steps to spur redevelopment. Since 2010, the city has committed more than $260 million to improve services on the island and to build 30 acres of new public spaces. Now the Trust for Governors Island, a not-for-profit group that manages the development of Governors Island, is asking educational institutions, hotels, businesses, retailers and arts groups to come up with plans to bring new life to historic buildings. The buildings include a 700-seat theater, a former YMCA and a 400,000-square-foot barracks building designed by McKim, Meade & White in 1929 that runs across much of the width of the island.
Evacuated Lower Manhattan Residents Robbed After Sandy
December 12 - Some residents who were forced to leave a luxury high rise in Lower Manhattan after Sandy were shocked to discover items missing in their apartments upon their return, reported NBC News. Chris Mirabile came back to his apartment at 2 Gold Street and found his collection of 15 autographed baseballs, signed by the likes of Reggie Jackson, Whitey Ford and Derek Jeter, gone, along with a Rolex watch. Sandy flooded the building, destroying mechanical and electrical systems. Tenants were forced to vacate after the city deemed the building uninhabitable. The buildings management company, TF cornerstone, assured tenants at the time that security would be a priority. Cornerstone said it had to check that all the apartment windows were secured, that the gas was turned off and that perishable items were removed from refrigerators. The company said that it was fully cooperating with tenants and law enforcement as the thefts are investigated. According to police, reports of thefts at buildings evacuated because of Sandy are becoming common.
First Section of Spire Placed Atop 1WTC
December 12 - Construction workers atop One World Trade Center Wednesday in New York City hoisted into place the first section of a spire that will extend the buildingto its full height of 1,776 feet. It took crews about 45 minutes to lift the 16-foot section, weighing almost 70 tons, into place,The Daily Newsand other sources reported. The full 408-foot spire, produced at a plant outside Montreal, is in 18 sections and will take three months to put in place. Nine of the segments were delivered to the Ground Zero site by barge Tuesday from Port Newark, N.J. The building is already the tallest in New York City and once completed, will become the tallest building in the Western hemisphere and the third tallest in the world. The high-rise building, scheduled to open in 2015, is one of five new skyscrapers planned at the 16-acre site in Lower Manhattan.