October 28th - November 3rd, 2005
Remains Discovered at 130 Liberty Street Determined Human
Friday, October 28: The chief medical examiner's office said that extensive tests revealed that the bone fragments found at Ground Zero on top of the former Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty Street are human and may be identifiable, the New York Times reported.
Discovered last month by workers preparing to deconstruct the former Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty Street, the bone fragments were found mixed in the gravel covering the building's roof. The remains, of which there were less than 10 and none much larger than two inches, were turned over by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), which owns the building and is leading its deconstruction, to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for analysis, the Times said.
"Our rigorous protocols automatically assume findings of this nature to be human remains and therefore require that they be treated with the utmost care, dignity, and respect," LMDC President Stefan Pryor told the Times.
The city's forensic anthropologist, Bradley Adams, is optimistic that DNA samples that could help to identify additional victims can be extracted from the remains. Before the medical examiner's office retired its efforts in August 2005, it recovered 19,964 human remains from Ground Zero and successfully identified 1,594 of the 2,749 victims, the paper explained.
Port Authority Reacts to WTC Court Ruling
Friday, October 28: On the heels of the court ruling that found the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey guilty of negligence for having failed to safeguard the World Trade Center from the 1993 terrorist bombing that claimed six people and injured 1,000, the authority's chairman announced that the agency will likely have to reduce its spending on the region's airports, bridges, and tunnels, as well as raise tolls and fares, to cover the $1.8 billion that lawyers are seeking in damages, the New York Times reported.
The unanimous verdict came last week from a six-member jury in a state Supreme Court, which determined that the Port Authority -- the buildings' then landlord -- did not respond to warnings found in a 1985 agency security report that identified the garage as vulnerable to attack. According to the jury, the agency's failure to react was a "substantial factor" in allowing the bombing to occur, the paper said.
The verdict allows for separate lawsuits filed by hundreds of victims and business owners against the Port Authority to move forward. According to the plaintiffs' lawyers, the suits will seek an estimated $1.8 billion in damages from the Port Authority, the Times explained.
The Port Authority, which maintains that any attack was unforeseeable and that the agency should not be held accountable for the resultant deaths and injuries, is still expected to appeal the court's decision, the paper added.
Filming on 9/11-Inspired Movie Begins Downtown
Sunday, October 30: Shooting began throughout downtown streets for Oliver Stone's unnamed film about the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, the Associated Press reported.
Starring Nicholas Cage as one of two Port Authority police officers who survived the towers' collapse, the film is the first to shoot scenes relating to the attacks in New York, according to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting. A Universal Studios film, "Flight 93," about the hijacked plane that left Newark, New Jersey, and crashed into a Pennsylvania field is scheduled for release in April, AP explained.
While Stone's film is entirely based in New York City, most of the action in the movie will be filmed on a Los Angeles sound stage and, in an effort show sensitivity for such an emotional event, footage of the towers' actual collapse and images of Ground Zero will not be included. In preparation for shooting, film crews met extensively with community and family groups, along with police and fire officials, to gain further insight into the events of 9/11 and their impact on the community, AP added.
The film, produced by Paramount, will continue shooting in New York through mid-November and is tentatively scheduled to open on August 11, 2006, AP said.
British Royals Dedicate Garden at Hanover Square
Tuesday, November 1: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visited Hanover Square in the Financial District as part of an eight-day U.S. tour. The couple, joined by New York City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and several British VIPs, formally dedicated a center stone for the British Memorial Garden. Under construction since spring 2005, the privately funded garden will feature hand-carved stone from Scotland, plantings from Prince Charles's estate, and iron bollards made in London. The garden will commemorate the lives of the 67 Britons who died in the World Trade Center attacks; it is slated for completion in mid-2006.
Milestone Reached in West Street-Route 9A Reconstruction
Wednesday, November 2: The reconstruction of West Street-Route 9A reached a major milestone with the opening of a new U-turn lane over the portal to the Battery Park Underpass, providing southbound traffic with improved access to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and several surrounding blocks, the New York Times reported.
The new lane, which was created by extending the tunnel's roof approximately 80 feet, is expected to decrease confusion in the highly traveled area where vehicles have previously needed to cross two intersections on Battery Place to enter the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the paper explained.
Part of a $76.4 million reconstruction project, the new U-turn is the first major milestone in the 20-month undertaking. In May, a 9,600-square-foot teardrop-shaped plaza, complete with landscaping and seating areas, is also scheduled to be unveiled in front of the Whitehall Building at 17 Battery Place, replacing a parking lot, the Times said.
For more information about the reconstruction of West Street-Route 9A, click here.
Environmental Plan to Test for WTC Collapse Contaminants Stalled
Wednesday, November 2: A team of independent scientists from around the country rejected a proposal from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to test 150 of the 7,000 residential and commercial buildings in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn for residual dust and contaminants from the collapse of the World Trade Center, further delaying an already stalled process, the New York Times reported.
According to the scientists, the EPA's plan was flawed because it relied on the use of a single element -- slag wool insulation from the WTC towers -- to prove the presence of residual WTC dust in the buildings. After reviewing the proposal, the group concluded that the "EPA has not made the case that its proposed analytical method can reliably discriminate background dust from dust contaminated with the WTC residue," the paper explained.
The panel's rejection of the EPA's proposal adds further delay and controversy to a planning process that has already lasted 18 months. The EPA is considering putting forth an alternative proposal that calls for the testing of a limited number of residential spaces in roughly the same area of Lower Manhattan where more than 4,000 apartments were cleaned in 2002, the Times said.
Under the alternative plan, some decontaminated apartments would be tested again, and several others would be tested at their owners' request. Rather than focus on determining the presence of WTC dust, the EPA would decontaminate any apartment where hazards are detected, the paper explained.
The EPA is not expected to provide additional details of its alternative plan before the next meeting of its technical panel, which is currently scheduled for December 13, the Times added.