January 14th - January 20th, 2005
Fate of Yankee Ferry Rests on Ellis Island
Sunday, January 16: The historic Yankee ferry will soon be displaced from its location at Pier 25 -- where it has been docked since 1990 -- as rebuilding officials plan the creation of the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park, which encompasses the pier, the New York Times reported.
Since Gov. George Pataki announced that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) will finance the renovation of the park, ferry owners Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs have been seeking alternative locations for the Yankee ferry -- including Ellis Island, the Times said.
Save Ellis Island, a nonprofit restoration group, has suggested that the Yankee be incorporated into the proposed conference center that would be part of the hospital complex on the island's south side. While Save Ellis Island is hopeful that the ferry will ultimately be moved to the island, the final decision will be made by the National Park Service, the paper added.
Built in 1907, the Yankee ferry -- formerly named the Machigonne -- transported tens of thousands of immigrants to Ellis Island for a decade, beginning in 1919. It later served in both World Wars and briefly operated as a Statue of Liberty ferry in the 1930s. By 1990, the aging boat sustained extensive damages from a crash along the shore of Long Island and was rescued by antiques dealer Jimmy Gallagher, who restored the ferry over the next 13 years before selling it to its current owners, the Times noted.
MTA Seeks Firms for JFK-Lower Manhattan Rail Link Planning Study
Sunday, January 16: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that it is seeking firms to conduct a planning study for the new $6 billion rail link planned to operate between Kennedy Airport and Lower Manhattan, the New York Daily News reported.
The planning study, which will take several years to complete, is a key step in the process of selecting the best route for the rail link from several proposed options. Spearheaded by the MTA, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the project is estimated to cost $6 billion, the News said.
According to the LMDC, rebuilding officials will petition Congress again to fund the $6 billion project with $2 billion in unused, post-9/11 recovery funds. The MTA and Port Authority have already pledged $1 billion for the project, the paper noted.
For more information about the rail link, please click here and here.
Windows on the World Workers Await Opening of New Restaurant
Wednesday, January 19: Thirty-five former staff members of the World Trade Center's famous Windows on the World restaurant signed a lease for their new restaurant, "Colors," New York City's first employee-run eatery, the Associated Press reported.
The workers, most of whom are immigrants, selected a site in Greenwich Village for the location and hope to begin construction "as soon as possible," a staff member told AP. Already, they have been meeting to finalize plans at the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC) -- a nonprofit cooperative established to assist restaurant workers, AP explained.
The ROC will contribute $21,500 per month to help finance the restaurant's lease at 417 Lafayette Street and has also raised $400,000 for the restaurant. As part owners, each of the workers -- which include waiters, cooks, busboys, and dishwashers -- will share the profits of the restaurant, AP noted.
The Windows on the World restaurant, located on the 106th floor of World Trade Center's North Tower, was destroyed during the September 11, 2001, attacks, killing 73 of the restaurant's workers, AP added.
Fulton Street Corridor Plans Already Underway
Wednesday, January 20: According to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) President Kevin Rampe, the plan for the Fulton Street Corridor is near completion and planning for Greenwich Street is already underway, the New York Times reported.
Initiated in 2002 by the LMDC and the New York City Planning Department, the new Fulton Street Corridor will be a major east-west artery through Lower Manhattan, featuring a mix of residential, retail, entertainment, and cultural functions, along with new public spaces, the Times said.
The project will also feature the $750 million Fulton Street Transit Center, which will be converted into a state-of-the-art hub housing 12 subway lines. Eventually, the center will connect Fulton Center trains with the R/W line at Cortlandt Street and the World Trade Center transportation hub -- home to the PATH and, eventually, a direct rail line to regional airports.
Pace Downtown Index Reveals Continuing Upsurge in Downtown Economy
The Pace Downtown Index (PDI) -- the first comprehensive economic indicator for Lower Manhattan -- shows a continuing upward trend for the downtown economy for a 16th consecutive month.
The PDI is determined by tracking economic progress as a weighted average of four variables, two representing activities in the financial markets and two representing the commercial real estate market and the city's overall economy. The selected variables are the S&P 500 Index, the Federal Funds Rate, the total commercial real estate inventory in Lower Manhattan, and the Gross Lower Manhattan Product.
The latest PDI released registers at 98.50 for December, an increase of 0.03 percent from last month and 1.75 percent from December 2003.
Pace University's Center for Downtown New York (CDNY), with assistance from the Mayor's Office and the Alliance for Downtown New York, developed the PDI. On the third Thursday of each month, Pace announces the latest PDI and posts a full report on the PDI webpage.