July 1st - July 7th, 2005
Walker Hired to Design Freedom Tower Landscaping
Tuesday, June 28: World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein announced that landscape architect Peter Walker will be called upon to create landscaping for the newly redesigned Freedom Tower, Architectural Record reported.
Walker, who is also working with architect Michael Arad on the World Trade Center Memorial design, has not yet released details about his plans, the Record said.
Walker's California-based firm, Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architecture, also designed the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas, and Tokyo's Saitama Sky Forest Plaza, both of which won American Society of Landscape Architects professional awards in 2004, the magazine noted.
City, State Offer New Incentives at 7 WTC
Sunday, July 3: In an effort to jumpstart real estate rentals at Ground Zero, New York City and State officials announced that they will begin offering new financial incentives to potential tenants at 7 World Trade Center, Newsday reported.
The new incentives, which will be matched by building developer Larry Silverstein, together could equal as much as a $20-per-square-foot discount on office space at 7 WTC -- a significant savings compared to the $50-per-square-foot price Silverstein is currently asking, the paper explained.
While incentives may also be provided for other World Trade Center buildings, officials have noted that it is too soon to begin signing up tenants for these properties. 7 WTC, slated for completion in late 2005, will be the first structure at Ground Zero to be finished, Newsday added.
Seaport Owner Eyes Fish Market Space
Sunday, July 3: South Street Seaport owner General Growth Properties has announced its plans to take advantage of a section of its lease that will allow the company to take over portions of the Fulton Fish Market, whose current inhabitants are scheduled to relocate to the Bronx this month, as well as the Tin Building on Pier 17 and several brick fish market stalls on South Street, the New York Times reported.
While official plans have not yet been made, the company has hired the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle to devise a reconfigured plan for the seaport. Additionally, the company has had discussions with Community Board 1 and the city's Economic Development Corporation to explore possible changes to the properties, the paper said.
After the fish market officially relocates, General Growth Properties will have only six months to exercise the option in its lease to take over the properties, the Times explained.
City to Increase Tourism Ferries
Monday, July 4: Responding to skyrocketing tourism levels throughout the city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city plans to run additional ferries from Battery Park to other city waterfront attractions, the New York Post reported.
The initiative is expected to provide better access to Battery Park, which is undergoing extensive remodeling that will include the addition of a carousel, fountain, bikeway, and several gardens with chimes and sculptures when it opens, the paper explained.
Officials have suggested that the additional ferries be operated around the New York Harbor, up the Hudson and East Rivers, and toward the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Post added.
9/11-Inspired Sculpture Readies for Downtown Dedication
Wednesday, July 6: A bronze sculpture of a 70-year-old sycamore tree that was uprooted from its home at downtown's St. Paul's Chapel during 9/11 will be dedicated near Ground Zero on the fourth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the New York Times reported.
Artist Steve Tobin and his team, who convinced officials at Trinity Church, which operates St. Paul's, to lend them the tree's 600-plus-pound stump and remaining roots last July, have been busy creating the 8,000-pound sculpture over the last several months in a Quakertown, Pennsylvania, studio. The original stump and roots, which were later treated for preservation, were returned and are now on display at the site at Trinity Church where the sculpture will soon sit, the paper explained.
"This sculpture is not intended as a memorial, just an artwork," Tobin explained to the Times. "But I think this work is going to embody 9/11 for a lot of people." People will soon be able to walk through the bronzed tree's sprawling root branches, which will stand 18 feet high and spread more than 25 wide.
Tobin is financing the entire project, which he estimates will cost $330,000 and have required almost 20,000 hours of labor to complete. Upon its dedication at Trinity Church on September 11, 2005, the sculpture will become the first substantial permanent memorial in the area, the paper added.
Officials Announce Plans to Change Freedom Center Focus, Design
Thursday, July 7: In response to strong criticisms from family members of 9/11 victims, officials in charge of the International Freedom Center - one of the museums proposed for the new WTC site -- announced that plans for the center will be revised to focus more on the victims of the 2001 terror attacks, the New York Post reported.
Last month, protesters reacted strongly to information on the Freedom Center's website (www.ifcwtc.org), which stated that the center would include an education and cultural center "that will nurture a global conversation on freedom in our world today," the New York Times reported last month.
According to many victims' relatives, the museum's focus on freedom milestones around the world would detract from honoring 9/11 victims. Some critics went on to express concern that the center could also become the site of political protests against United States foreign and domestic policy, rather than a tribute to the victims, the paper explained.
Rebuilding officials announced that they will revise plans for the Freedom Center taking the public opposition into account. "In the wake of recent criticisms and concerns regarding the International Freedom Center…we have taken a step back to examine how best to meet the high standards that all who are involved at Ground Zero remain committed to meet," wrote the center's chairman, Tom Bernstein, and vice-chair, Paula Berry, in a letter to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the Post said.
LMDC President Stefan Pryor has also called for the museum to be scaled down in size to provide more space between the building and the WTC Memorial. Rebuilding officials are still developing revised plans for the center, the paper added.