August 4th - August 10th, 2012
Port Authority Cracking Down on Drinking by WTC Construction Crews
August 6 - Faced with a series of construction accidents at Ground Zero and a problem of daytime drinking by construction workers, the Port Authority is going on a public-safety bender, trying to tear World Trade Center construction workers away from the bar, the NY Post reported. The agency is upping the budget for its inspector general and adding investigators to the unit as part of a sweeping crackdown on workday drinking among WTC hard hats, PA chief Pat Foye told The Post. The agency has been quietly deploying undercover agents to the bars around the WTC and is planning to keep up the pressure. Already, more than 20 construction workers have permanently lost their WTC credentials, and more can be expected to do so, said Foye, who declined to say how much the PA is spending on the crackdown or how many investigators are being added.
New Artist Renderings of New WTC Unveiled
August 7 - New artist renderings of the nearly completed One World Trade Center left New Yorkers itching to see the 104-story tower finally open for business, reported the NY Daily News. The Port Authority released a series of renderings of the completed glass and steel building at West and Vesey streets. The first new images released to the public in five years, revealed a few design tweaks from previous pictures. The changes include the elimination of casing around the towers 408-foot antenna, which will make the building 1,776 feet. Also the base of the building will be encased in gleaming steel horizontal and vertical panels. Construction on the building, which began in April 2006, has reached 104 floors. It is expected to be complete in early 2014.
Proposed Brooklyn Bridge Makeover Would Widen Walkway, Bikeway
August 7 - The tourists and cyclists who pack the Brooklyn Bridge every day could soon get some breathing room, reported DNAinfo.com. Politicians and transportation advocates unveiled a proposal Tuesday to triple the amount of pedestrian space on theiconic spanand to add a separate lane for cyclists. The widened walking and biking paths would sit above the roadway and not reduce the number of driving lanes. The proposal -- which is still in the early planning stages and does not yet have any funding -- was sparked by overcrowding on the 129-year-old landmarked bridge and a rise in bike-versus-pedestrian accidents, Brooklyn City Councilman Brad Lander said. Lander did not have data on accidents, but he, Councilman Stephen Levin and Councilwoman Margaret Chin all said they have received complaints about crowding on the bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge sees 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists on an average day, but during a peak 12-hour period in May 2010, the city counted 15,000 pedestrians making the East River crossing. The shared pedestrian and bike path now varies in width from 8 to 16 feet, and cyclists must weave around tourists who stop in groups to take photos along the bridge. The new 32-foot-wide walkway and bikeway would feature an approximately 24-foot-wide pedestrian path and a separate 8-foot-wide bike path, the politicians said. Lander, Levin and Chin plan to begin working with engineers and architects to develop proposals for the new path, which would have to be approved by city agencies including the Department of Transportation and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The DOT, which oversees the Brooklyn Bridge and is currently managing a $508 million overhaul of the structure, agrees that the bridge walking and biking paths could use an upgrade.
Iconic Woolworth Building Is Converting to Condos
August 7 - The top 30 floors of the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan will be converted into luxury condo apartments as part of a mega deal made public Tuesday, according to the NY Daily News. Alchemy Properties paid $68 million and will invest about $80 million more in converting existing office space into 40 residences in the landmark tower, the developer confirmed. The lower 28 floors will remain in office use. High-end condominiums, slated for completion in 2015, will offer some of the grandest views in the city, with the penthouse rising nearly 800 feet above ground. A long-abandoned swimming pool in the basement will also be renovated, according to the New York Times, which first reported the story. Designed in 1913 by architect Cass Gilbert in the Neo-Gothic style, the Woolworth was the tallest building in the world when it opened opposite City Hall on 233 Broadway. The building was commissioned by discount store magnate Frank Woolworth to be a Cathedral of Commerce. The apartments can fetch some $3,000 per square foot. That would be significantly higher than other buildings in the same area.
No Fire Found After Call to World Trade Center Site
August 8 - Smoke that was reported on the 88th floor of One World Trade Center on Wednesday morning was from welding work and not an actual blaze, the Fire Department of New York said. According to NBC News and other news sources, civilian reported smoke just before 7:45 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they could see smoke coming from the 88th floor, FDNY Battalion Chief Kevin Brennan told NBC News. Firefighters arrived and encountered crews doing welding work, which caused the smoke to be visible from outside the building. The equipment was being used as intended, and there was no actual fire, according to officials. About 12 workers were on the floor at the time, and no one was injured.
Cyclists Ride Through City Hall Park After Dismount Signs Removed
August 8 - Cyclists are riding freely through City Hall Park once again -- and some Downtown residents are not happy, according to DNAinfo.com. The city recently removed the Please Dismount signs from the park, which asked cyclists to get off their bikes and walk them through the busy park just north of City Hall. Local parents and community leaders had praised the signs as a way of slowing bike traffic along the parks shared walking and biking path, where somefeared speeding cyclists could pose a danger to children on their way to school. But the dismount signs were only temporary -- the Department of Transportation put them up two years ago when construction narrowed the bike path -- and once the construction finished, the city recently took the signs down, allowing cyclists to ride through without dismounting. Concerned Community Board 1 members held a closed-door meeting with the DOT Tuesday afternoon in the hopes of convincing the agency to change its mind --but the transportation officials held firm. The DOT May 2011 study found no bike-pedestrian accidentsin City Hall Park and very few aggressive cyclists, Josh Kraus, a senior project manager at DOT, said last year. CB1 will do its own study of the bike path to measure aggressive cycling, and last week the community board overwhelmingly passed a resolution urging the city to reinstall the Please Dismount signs. During the private meeting, the DOT did agree to add larger signs urging cyclists entering City Hall Park from Broadway to yield to pedestrians. Some residents who objected to the bike path running through City Hall Park suggested that the city move it one block north to Chambers Street instead, but the DOT and cycling advocates said Chambers Street was too dangerous for bikes.
NYPD, Microsoft Unveil All-Seeing Downtown Surveillance System
August 9 - The New York City Police Department and Microsoft have unveiled technology that aggregates and analyzes existing public safety data in real time to provide investigators with a comprehensive view of potential threats and criminal activity, reported the Wall Street Journal and other news sources. Jointly designed by the NYPD and Microsoft, the Domain Awareness System retrieves and displays information from thousands of cameras, license plate readers, environmental sensors and law enforcement databases. The system capitalizes on new policing software that allows police officers and other personnel to more quickly access relevant information gathered from existing cameras, 911 calls, previous crime reports and other existing tools and technology, Bloomberg said. New York City will receive 30 percent of revenues on future Microsoft sales of the Domain Awareness System, which will be used to support innovative crime-prevention and counter-terrorism programs. The city has approximately 3,000 closed-circuit TV cameras connected to the Domain Awareness System. The majority of them are in Lower Manhattan -- south of Canal Street, from the East River to the Hudson River -- and in midtown Manhattan between 30th Street and 60th Street, from river to river. The NYPD has begun to expand camera coverage to the boroughs beyond Manhattan.