September 17th - September 23rd, 2004
LMDC Announces Finalists in WTC Museum and Theater Design Competition
Friday, September 17: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) President Kevin Rampe announced that the list of design firms competing for the contract to design the cultural spaces at the WTC site has been narrowed from 60 to 16 -- six of which will submit designs for the museums with the remaining 10 submitting designs for the theaters, the New York Times reported.
"It's going to be a very difficult process because we have tremendous architects in both of those lists to choose from," Rampe told the Times. Among those included on the list are renowned architects Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhass, and WTC master planner Daniel Libeskind, who will submit his plan for a theater, the paper said.
The selection process was spearheaded by the LMDC and the cultural institutions that will eventually occupy the WTC cultural space, as well as a team of advisers, the Times noted. The cultural institutions, which were selected by the LMDC earlier this year, include the Joyce International Dance Center, the Signature Theater Center, the Drawing Center, and the International Freedom Center
The final selection will be made by the cultural institutions early this October, Rampe told the Times.
Tickets Sales for Private Ferries Plunge
Friday, September 17: According to the Mayor's Management Report, average ridership on New York City-area private ferries dipped 22 percent during the 2004 fiscal year beginning July 1, 2003, the New York Post reported.
The decline follows a two-year surge in business after September 11, 2001, when ferry service replaced PATH service between New Jersey and Lower Manhattan after the WTC PATH station was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks, the paper noted. The report points to the opening of the temporary WTC PATH station last November as the reason for decline in ferry riders, the paper said.
Despite the dropping numbers, ferry operators remain confident that the need for private ferry service in the city remains. New York Waterway, which accounts for 90 percent of private ferry ridership, has expanded its routes and service this year, the Post noted.
Since the temporary WTC PATH station reopened last November, it has averaged 33,000 weekday riders -- exceeding the Port Authority's estimate by 9,000 passengers. A permanent WTC PATH station is expected to open in 2009 and will eventually connect to the MTA's $750 million Fulton Street Transit Center, the Post added.
San Gennaro Returns to Little Italy
Friday, September 17: The Feast of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, returned to Little Italy for its 77th year on Thursday, September 16. The 11-day festival promises to once again fill the streets of this downtown neighborhood with parades, entertainment, and an anticipated crowd of one million people. And then, of course, there's the food. For more information about the festival's offerings, please click here.
Report Shows Twin Towers Exceeded NYC Wind Codes
Tuesday, September 21: According to a preliminary report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Twin Towers exceeded New York City's wind load requirement codes, the New York Times reported.
The investigation was prompted last June, when the NIST -- a federal group of investigators examining the collapse of the towers -- discovered that wind forces may have actually been higher than the area industry standards set during the WTC construction in the 1960s.
After conducting a series of tests to determine the buildings' threshold for sustaining wind speeds -- a critical determinant of a building's overall strength -- the NIST found that the Twin Towers actually exceeded New York City requirements, the Times said.
The study is just one component of an overall federal investigation into the collapse of the WTC towers. The study seeks to determine what factors contributed to the buildings' collapse, as well as provide recommendations for new building and safety codes nationwide. Federal officials plan to release their final report in December, the Times added.
Museum of Chinese in the Americas Launch New Restaurant Exhibit
Wednesday, September 22: As part of its food- and restaurant-themed series, the Museum of Chinese in the Americas (MoCA) launched its latest exhibit, Have You Eaten Yet? The Chinese Restaurant in America, exploring the growth of the Chinese restaurant in the United States.
Designed by graphic artist team Pei Hsieh and Stephanie Reyer and created with curators Cynthia Lee and Yong Chen, the exhibit examines Chinese restaurants from past to present, complete with a display of menus, glassware, and postcards from around the country, many of which are from the collection of Harley Spiller.
Visitors can learn about the Chinese restaurant's earliest roots in the West during the mid-1800s, historical nightclub dinner shows during the 1940s, President Nixon's visit to China in the 1970s, and today's Chinese restaurants, all while listening to radio commercials and excerpts of popular songs that have "immortalized" Chinese dishes like chop suey and chow mein.
Have You Eaten Yet? The Chinese Restaurant in America runs through June 2005 and will be accompanied by related programming, including screenings of Chinese Restaurants, a thirteen-part documentary series. For more information, please visit the Museum of Chinese in the Americas website.
Nigerian President Pays Tribute at African Burial Ground
Thursday, September 23: Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo paid tribute to Lower Manhattan's African Burial Ground, laying a wreath of yellow roses near the Nigerian marble plaque at the site to commemorate the nearly 20,000 enslaved Africans who were buried there during the 17th century, the Associated Press and Newsday reported.
During his visit, President Obasanjo pledged solidarity with African Americans and other Africans worldwide. "We are also here to signal a time of refection, healing, and reconciliation with our African-American sisters and brothers from whom we have been separated in spirit for far too long," he told the crowd of gatherers, according to Newsday's report.
President Obasanjo's visit comes just weeks before the first anniversary of the re-internment of the remains of more than 400 slaves and free blacks who were buried at the graveyard, AP said. The African Burial Ground was unearthed in 1991 during the preliminary construction phase of a federal office building at 290 Broadway. For more information about the African Burial Ground, please click here.