November 24th - November 30th, 2012
PATH Service to Lower Manhattan Resumes
November 25 - Weekday PATH service to Lower Manhattan along the World Trade Center line will resume early Monday, November 26, reported the Associated Press and other news outlets. Officials say those trains will run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., with stops in New Jersey at Newark, Harrison, Journal Square, Grove Street and Exchange Place and in New York at the World Trade Center. Disabled access will be available at Newark and World Trade Center. Floodwater spawned by Superstorm Sandy inundated the World Trade Center station, covering its track bed with several feet of water. Port Authority PATH crews have since removed millions of gallons of water from the tracks and platforms and repaired or replaced damaged switching and signal systems. The line will not operate on weekends, so crews can continue their repair work.
Put Up the NYC Floodgates, Planners Urge
November 25 - Some prominent planners and builders said now is the time to think big to shield the city's core, reported the Associated Press. Options include a 5-mile barrier blocking the entryway to New York Harbor, an archipelago of man-made islets guarding the tip of Manhattan, or something like CDM Smith engineer Larry Murphy's 1,700-foot barrier -- complete with locks for passing boats and a walkway for pedestrians -- at the mouth of the Arthur Kill waterway between the borough of Staten Island and New Jersey. These strategies are not just pipe dreams. Some of the concepts have been around for decades and have been deployed successfully in other places. Sandy and its 14-foot surge caused 43 deaths and an estimated $26 billion in damages citywide. Its floodwaters filled subways, other tunnels and streets in parts of Manhattan, the country's financial and entertainment nerve center. Within a 3-mile-long horseshoe-shaped flood zone around its southernmost quadrant are 500,000 residents and 300,000 jobs. Major storms swamp places like Wall Street and the site of the World Trade Center. The city has toyed with the idea of barriers and even considered various locations in a 2008 study, but the scale and costs of hard barrier schemes have put off many critics.
After Sandy, Lower Manhattan Limps Back to Life
November 26 - The hum of massive mobile generators, boilers and pumps emerged blocks from the Financial District and turned into a steady din south of Wall Street -- the now-familiar sound of an area laboring to recover from Superstorm Sandy, according to the Associated Press. Other parts of the city have gotten mayoral visits and media attention after the Oct. 29 storm killed dozens of residents and tore apart homes in coastal neighborhoods. Less obvious were the millions upon million gallons of sea water that wreaked havoc on subterranean electrical panels and other internal infrastructure throughout Lower Manhattan, making them unusable even after power was restored to the area. Nearly a month later, some of the high-rises that are home to investment banks, large law firms and luxury apartments have bounced back quickly. But others buildings remain eerily dark and vacant. Landlords have warned full power will not be back for weeks, if not months, leaving businesses and residents displaced and uncertain about when they will return. The city Buildings Department declared only nine buildings in Lower Manhattan unsafe because of structural damage from the storm, and the power company, Consolidated Edison, says all buildings citywide had access to electricity and steam power by Nov. 15. The uncertainty also is evident at South Street Seaport, a cluster of early 19th-century mercantile buildings converted to retail shops and apartments. Usually teeming with tourists, the seaport remained a ghost town late last week, despite postcard-perfect weather. Many businesses were still boarded up with plywood.
Lower Manhattan Will Beef Up Its Retail With Luxury Stores
November 27 - Four different areas are responsible for the upcoming influx of new major retail tenants in Lower Manhattan. WWD reported that, the World Trade Center and Brookfield Place are bringing a total of 615,000 square feet of retail space to the market. In addition, the Fulton Centerhas 70,000 square feet of upscale retail space to fill and the South Street Seaport is also looking for tenants. Most of the WTC retail, which will include a mix of upscale tenants and food shops, will be anchored in the WTC transportation hub. Overall, stores here will occupy five different levels: three above ground, and two below. Brookfield Place is taking a similar approach, and has announced that it is focusing on luxury brands to fill its 200,000 square feet of retail space, and is currently in the midst of renovation.
NY Transportation Authority Details $5 Billion Storm Reimbursement Request
November 27 - The $5 billion that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is seeking from the federal government for Hurricane Sandy-related damages and construction delays has been detailed online in a spreadsheet, according to the Epoch Times and other news sources. Figures include $650 million to restore the Rockaway A line over Jamaica Bay in Queens and $600 million to restore the South Ferry 1 station in Lower Manhattan. Also, immediate revenue loss from the storm is pegged at $124 million. The subway, bus, and commuter rail systems were completely shut down the day before Sandy and fares were free for two days after the systems began running. The two restoration figures have surprised transit analysts, some of whom are questioning the restorations. Other costs include $1.07 billion to restore signals and tracks, $750 million to restore the Hugh Carey and Queens Midtown Tunnels, and $100 million to restore equipment in the East River tunnels, which were flooded.
Worker Hurt by Dislodged Pipe at 4 World Trade Center
November 28 - A construction worker at 4 World Trade Center was hurt after a metal pipe pumping concrete became dislodged and struck him in the face, officials said. DNAinfo.com reported that the worker, an employee of Corporate Electric, suffered minor injuries to his face after the overhead pipe on the fifth floor of the tower came loose about 1:10 p.m., according to the FDNY and Silverstein Properties, which owns 4 World Trade Center. The injured worker was taken toNew York-Presbyterian Hospitalin stable condition, an FDNY spokesman said. Another worker on the site said the pipe was pressurized and pouring concrete when it gave way.
Pockets of Misery to Persist for Weeks Even as Transit Systems Make Strides
November 29 - In the month since Sandy struck, getting to work has nearly returned to normal for millions, but pockets of New Jersey and New York public-transportation commuters continue to deal with closed transit lines and shuttered stations, reported the Wall Street Journal. For some, the nagging problems mean trading a train for a ferry across the Hudson--at potentially triple the price--cutting short a Manhattan evening because the PATH does not run past 10 p.m. for now or waiting for spotty shuttle-bus service when a train line is down. Even some commuting lines that are operating--such as on the Long Island Rail Road--suffer from scheduling delays and diminished service. The transit systems in NY and NJ suffered billions of dollars in damage and lost revenue from Sandy, and advocates are rallying to bolster the networks before the next storm. Lawmakers have scheduled state and federal hearings on the issue. It will take weeks to restore PATH service to Hoboken for the 28,650 commuters who use it on weekdays, he said. PATH service across the system is suspended at 10 p.m.it normally would run all nightand there is no weekend service to the World Trade Center. In New York, the LIRR continues to be hampered by signal damage in the four tunnels it shares with Amtrak beneath the East River. Twenty-six of the 143 scheduled rush-hour trains into Penn Station are being canceled or diverted to other terminals each weekday morning. In New York City, outages remain on the R, J, Z and A, affecting service in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Rockaways in Queens. An MTA official said Thursday that the agency does not expect to be able to restart R train service through the Montague tube under the East River until the end of December. Next Thursday, the U.S. Senate subcommittee on surface transportation is scheduled to hold the first federal hearing on the transit systems performance during Sandy.
Downtown, the Crystal Ball Clouds Up
November 29 - Downtown New York was among the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. According to the New York Times, the trendy neighborhoods of TriBeCa, Battery Park City and the West Village, with their many celebrity residents and Wall Street climbers, suddenly were known collectively as SoPo -- South of Power. The terms Zone A and Zone B have taken on new significance in the new city lexicon. They have entered the real estate conversation, emerging as potential buyer signposts that moving to those areas could subject them to blackouts and severe flooding. But the question now facing Lower Manhattan is whether the hurricane stigma is just a short-term phenomenon, or will persist into the long term as well. Insurance costs are sure to rise, and lenders could become tougher on the area, mortgage brokers say, putting a damper on one of the great real estate stories in the country over the past decade. It would not be the first time that the area had faced adversity, of course. Lower Manhattan recovered strongly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as the city gave developers incentives to create new residential housing. And home prices downtown have recovered more quickly since the Lehman Brothers collapse than prices in the rest of the city. Average sale prices in Battery Park City and the financial district have risen by 11.7 percent, compared with 0.7 percent for Manhattan as a whole. Still, some real estate brokers are worried that the momentum downtown will be lost. Some 40 buildings, both residential and commercial, that suffered flood damage are still not letting residents and tenants move back in. A bigger issue, she said, is that some people who wanted to buy in buildings ravaged by flooding cannot close deals until repairs are made. Some brokers find it frustrating that buildings are deciding to put replacement equipment back into the areas that flooded, pointing out that it is perhaps wrong to assume the storm was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Everyone, it seems, is sweating the potential for higher costs. Downtown brokers worry that prices in Zone A, especially, may recalibrate. It would take only a few people selling at lower prices to reset those at comparable properties. If lenders and insurance companies became tougher that could eventually have a trickle-down effect on prices, the thinking goes.