July 13th - July 19th, 2013
Cyclists vs. Pedestrians in Battle Over New Bike Lane
July 12 - Cobblestone streets are becoming a cause for concern as bike traffic increase in the city especially with the new Bike Share program. So the DOT has come up with a new bike lane proposal, but that plan is not sitting well with some pedestrians, reported Fox News. Varick Street south of Canal is the continuation of Seventh Avenue in lower Manhattan. The city Department of Transportation wants to put in a bike lane there but does not want to put it on the rough riding cobblestoned street. Instead, it wants to put it on the sidewalk. A sidewalk the city measured at just 10 and a half feet wide and when the city proposed a sidewalk bike lane to the Community Board 1 Tribeca committee Wednesday -- it was rejected. This is part of the city plan to have bike lanes from Union Square to Tribeca. That plan calls for a bike lane on Varick Street. If a bike lane there is not on a cobblestoned street, not on the sidewalk, the only other path would be through the adjacent, very small Albert Capsouto Park. Community Board 1 will meet again in two weeks to discuss new proposals and see if the city will break its own rules and let bikers ride on the sidewalk, though many seem to be doing it already.
Fire Breaks Out at Fulton Center
July 15 - A fire broke out on the roof of the Fulton Street Transit Center in Lower Manhattan on Monday, authorities said. The blaze erupted around 1:30 p.m. at the construction site on Broadway. It took nearly two hours to bring under control, the FDNY said. There were no reported injuries. The $1.4 billion transit center is scheduled to open next year when it connects six different subway lines.
Port Authority Eyes Brokerages as 4 Times Square Vacancy Looms
July 17 - When the Port Authority landed Conde Naste as 1 World Trade Center's anchor tenant three years ago, the agency agreed to buy out the media giant's remaining lease at 4 Times Square, reported Crain's New York Business. Now, as the role of a consulting firm hired by the PA to evaluate options for the space nears its end, it sets up an opportunity for the PA to tap the Durst Organization -- which owns 4 Times Square and is the PA's partner at 1 World Trade -- or another major real estate firm to take the lead in filling the space. In the grand scheme of things, the estimated $200 million price tag the PA paid for the space is minute next to the billions the PA is spending at the World Trade Center, and sources suggested that the scenario is business as usual -- and that several options for a new leasing broker are now on the table. Media reports speculated this week, however, that the PA will be left with a $200 million, 800,000-square-foot gaping hole if efforts to fill the space aren't ramped up, especially as new development pops up across the city -- most notably at Hudson Yards and the Trade Center site.
WTC Transportation Hub In Lower Manhattan Takes Shape
July 17 - Hundreds of workers are busy around the clock building the nearly $4 billion World Trade Center transportation hub, its white steel wings starting to rise into the Manhattan sky as a remembrance to those who died at the site on 9/11, reported the Associated Press. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the complex will be "a light-radiating work of art" when it opens sometime in 2015, trade center construction director Steven Plate said during a tour Wednesday. Under construction are the two wing-like sections to be separated by a special feature: a skylight that will open like a huge eye. On each Sept. 11, this "oculus" will be aligned so direct sunlight will shine through the glass at 10:28 a.m. -- the time when the second tower collapsed in 2001. The $3.9 billion cost of the steel-concrete-and-glass structure falls into a budget under the Federal Transit Administration and the Port Authority that owns the trade center site. The hub is often compared to the 150-foot high main hall to that of Grand Central Terminal, with 100,000 square feet of upscale retail space planned to serve about 250,000 World Trade Center commuters passing through each day. More than 12,000 tons of steel is needed to complete the complex, with up to 500 people working there in any given 24-hour period.
Plans Are Stepped Up to Repair Old Footbridge
July 17 - It's old and rusting. The concrete steps are worn with use. There is a net attached to its underside to protect cars passing beneath it from falling debris. The Morris St. pedestrian bridge's long and useful life is drawing to a close, reported the Downtown Express. In fall 2014, the bridge's walkway will be getting an update, the city Department of Design and Construction announced at a meeting of the Financial District Committee of Community Board 1. This little footbridge, which spans the lanes leading to into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, provides a vital link connecting Battery Park City and the Financial District. Lower Manhattan was split in two by the tunnel's construction from 1940 to 1951, which was interrupted for a few years during World War II. The committee generally approved of design that includes elevating the bridge to deal with flooding concerns, installing a handicap-access ramp on both sides, and allowing space for decorative planters and additional lighting. The current bridge will remain in operation until the new one is completed.
New York Judge Blocks 9-11 Insurance Claims Against Airlines
July 19 - A federal judge on Thursday rejected developer Larry Silverstein's bid to recover billions of dollars from two airlines whose planes were used in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a significant setback in his nearly decade-long fight for more money to rebuild the World Trade Center, reported the Wall Street Journal and other sources. After a four-day bench trial in Lower Manhattan this week, U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that an investment group led by Mr. Silverstein had already received all the compensation for which it is eligible: the $4.1 billion paid by property insurers in 2004. Mr. Silverstein -- who signed a 99-year-lease to control the Twin Towers six weeks before they were destroyed -- in 2004 sued American Airlines and United Airlines for more than $8 billion in damages, alleging they were responsible for reckless security breaches. Judge Hellerstein said Thursday that giving Mr. Silverstein's group money in addition to what he received from insurers would effectively compensate Mr. Silverstein twice for the same losses, something barred by New York state law. Therefore, Mr. Silverstein "would not be able to recover anything" if the case against the airlines and their insurers were able to go forward, the judge said. A spokesman for Mr. Silverstein's company, Silverstein Properties Inc., said the company was disappointed by the decision and vowed to appeal. The four towers planned at the 16-acre site carry a price tag of roughly $10 billion.