December 1st - December 7th, 2012
Ice Skating Rink Coming to Wagner Park in BPC
November 30 - This winter, there is not quite as much holiday spirit in Battery Park City as years past, according to DNAinfo.com. The nearby South Ferry-White Hall Street subway station is still shuttered by damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy, as are the local main tourist magnets, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. But Lower Manhattanites will get a bit of winter magic back next week: an ice rink is being assembled in Wagner Park. The Battery Park City Authority is opening the 60-by-120-foot Liberty View Ice Rink -- the same size, staff says, as the Rockefeller Center rink -- in the waterfront space on Battery Place. The Authority issued a request for a company to run the rink last summer, settling on Liberty View Ice LLC according to an Authority spokesman. The rink uses a corn-based liquid refrigerant -- making it safe for the grass, should any leak out -- and workers will start pouring the water over the next few days. Skate lessons and rentals will be offered, and a snack bar will serve food. The Battery Park City Authority first opened an ice rink in 2009 at the Battery Park City ball fields, and it was a hit among locals. But the Authority failed to secure another rink operator for the last two winters, to the disappointment of residents who wereclamoring to see the rink return. A trip to the rink will cost $7 for children 12 and under, while adults will be charged $10 during the week and $15 Friday through Sunday. The Liberty View Ice Rink is slated to open by December 7, the Authority said.
Lower Manhattan Businesses Struggling Without Statue of Liberty, Seaport
December 3 - Closing the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the South Street Seaport due to damage from Hurricane Sandy may slow economic activity in Lower Manhattan well into 2013, according to a report in Crains' New York. In addition to retail stores' slow recovery at the Seaport, businesses that rely on those primary tourist attractions have had to adapt. Crain's reports that the only two hotels in Lower Manhattan still closed are ones particularly close to the Seaport,New York Water Taxi had used Pier 17 as its hub of operations but has been forced to relocate while the pier is closed, and a waterfront club there has laid off 100 workers. At Liberty Island, about 400 workers lost their jobs soon after Sandy forced the island's closure, but though the statue, itself, was undamaged, pictures posted by the Los Angeles Times last month show just how extensive the damage there was. Travis Noyes, president of the Lower Manhattan Marketing Association, and senior vice president of New York Water Taxi, summed up the hard road ahead for area businesses when he told Crain's, Almost all of the walk-up traffic at the seaport is gone.
More Store Closures on Tap for World Financial Center
December 4 - As plans to remodel much of the World Financial Center proceed, most of the stores remaining in the Winter Garden and the food court area are facing closure (with two slated for relocation within the complex) before the end of the year, reported The BPC Broadsheet. By late 2012, Banana Republic, Sunglass Hut, and the Cosi sandwich shop will close permanently. (Employees at all three stores said they have been told that their parent corporations had expressed interest in returning to the WFC complex once the reconstruction has been completed, but added that there no guarantees this would be possible.) Starbucks and Financier Patisserie will also both close by the end of the month, although these stores will be reopening immediately, according to employees in each, elsewhere in the WFC complex. The $250-million plan by Brookfield Properties envisions bringing two floors of high-end dining and gourmet food markets to a space that faces North Cove Marina, while transforming the current food court into an upscale retail corridor. While the overall plan is slated for completion in 2014, some elements are scheduled to come online in the fall of 2013: a new glass entry pavilion that will allow access to the Winter Garden directly from West Street, as well as the marketplace and dining terrace overlooking the Marina. The refurbished retail corridor is not slated for completed until the spring of 2014. And the newly spiffed up complex will come with a new name: Along the way, the World Financial Center will be rechristened Brookfield Place.
BPCA Assesses Storm Damage to Community Center, Ball Fields, and Pier A
December 5 - The Battery Park City Authority hopes to complete a detailed assessment of damage from Hurricane Sandy to neighborhood infrastructure within the next several weeks, and then make public a specific timeline for repair, reports The Broadsheet. This assessment will cover damage to the new community center on North End Avenue (most recently targeted for opening on December 1), the ball fields (where the damage brought a premature end to the Downtown Soccer League season), and Pier A (which the Authority had originally hoped to turn over to its tenant and partner, the Poulakakos restaurant group by December 31). This process is likely to prove especially complicated in the case of the community center, where the basement and sub-basement both flooded, and repairs must be completed in a precise sequence. Elsewhere, the BPCA is still determining how much damage was sustained by Pier A, which is slated to open as a restaurant and catering facility sometime in 2013. The pace of repairs on all three projects may also be curtailed by legal requirements to put large contracts out for competitive bidding, rather than simply rehiring the vendors who originally worked for the Authority on the projects.
Silverstein Said to Be Moving Toward Two Deals at WTC
December 5 - Larry Silverstein has formal proposals from two potential tenants for 3 World Trade Center, which if accepted would allow the developer to build the skyscraper to its full 80 stories, two people with knowledge of the negotiations said. Bloomberg News reported that Group M, a division of WPP Plc, the worlds largest advertising company, and law firm White & Case LLP have sent statements saying they are interested in taking as much as 1.1 million square feet (102,000 square meters) combined at the tower, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. No terms have been agreed upon, they said. Silverstein, founder of Silverstein Properties Inc., has discussed capping the building at seven stories if anchor tenants are not found quickly enough, two people with knowledge of his position said in January. He must fill at least 400,000 square feet at the tower, which is slated to have 2.8 million square feet, before the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will help him finance the project.
Bloomberg Wants Telecommunications Restored to Lower Manhattan by End of Year
December 6 - Verizon was not planning to restore phone service to storm-damaged office towers in Lower Manhattan until May -- before Mayor Bloomberg intervened and called that timetable "unacceptable." Speaking today at a forum on the citys future after Sandy, the mayor disclosed that he had a "long conversation" last night with Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and together they developed a plan to provide temporary telecommunications services to downtown buildings by the end of the year. Verizon lost 95 percent of its copper wiring to the salt waters that enveloped its downtown system during the storm. Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said Verizon has undertaken a monumental recovery effort and is replacing its unusable copper wires with advanced fiber optics. A surprise guest at the forum, sponsored by the Regional Plan Association and the New York League of Conservation Voters, was former Vice President Al Gore. He praised Bloomberg for being ahead of the curve when it came to global warming initiatives and bluntly declared that Sandy was one of the results of added carbons.
$500 Million to Repair South Ferry Subway Station
December 6 - Duringthe Senate hearingtoday on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on transportation systems, some daunting numbers have been presented, reported Business Insider. Among them is the $500 million price tag New York Senator Chuck Schumersaid is the cost to repair the South Ferry-Whitehall subway station in Lower Manhattan, which was totally flooded. The South Ferry-Whitehall station opened in 2009, the first large mass transit project undertaken in Lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001. The station, which cost $527 million to build, is especially vulnerable to flooding caused by tidal surges: It is eight stories below ground and just 400 feet from the river. In his testimony at the hearing, MTA Commissioner Joe Lhota said the station was completely destroyed. Overall, it will cost an estimated $5 billion to repair the damage Sandy did to the New York City mass transit system, which serves 8.5 million people every day.