January 28th - February 3rd, 2005
Wall Street Bull Remains on the Block
Friday, January 28: Despite receiving several multi-million-dollar bids on the Wall Street Bull, the statue's owner -- who is auctioning off naming rights to the 7,000-pound landmark -- has not selected a buyer, the Daily News reported.
As a result, the company handing the sale on behalf of owner and designer Arturo Di Modica has extended the deadline from February 7 to March 2005, the paper said. The buyer of the 16-foot-long bull will have his or her named placed on a plaque that will be displayed next to the bull.
Di Modica set the minimum bid on his bronze bull at $5 million and is willing to sell it to the highest bidder, provided they agree to keep the bull in its Bowling Green home and donate it to the City of New York. The owner will receive a tax break for the contribution, as well as branding rights.
Di Modica, who funded the sculpture with $360,000 of his own money, will donate at least 10 percent of the proceeds to charity and devote the rest toward a set of eight marble structures he is currently creating.
The "Charging Bull" first appeared outside the New York Stock Exchange when Di Modica transported it there in the middle of the night on December 15, 1989. The bull, a tribute to Wall Street's rebound from the stock market crash of 1987, was immediately removed from the site because it lacked proper city permits and was later relocated to its current home in Bowling Green.
Verizon Weighs in on Rebuilding Plans
Sunday, January 30: Verizon urged rebuilding officials to better coordinate rebuilding efforts to ensure that downtown telephone service, as well as the overall development timeline for the World Trade Center site, is not interrupted, the New York Times reported.
"There is a significant risk that the restoration projects planned for Lower Manhattan may be delayed and that telecommunications services, including enhanced emergency 911 services to Lower Manhattan, may again be disrupted," a lawyer representing Verizon warned at a hearing before the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the Times said.
According to Verizon, current rebuilding plans impose the risk of service interruptions to an estimated 150 buildings from Battery Park City to the civic center -- including the Federal Reserve Bank, the American Stock Exchange, and the Bank of New York headquarters, among others. In order to prevent such interruptions, the company has asked for a coordinated approach to street construction, the paper said.
Verizon's claim was issued during a hearing on New York State's plan to acquire a small area south of the World Trade Center site from its owner, the Milstein family, who has refused to negotiate its sale. The area would be used for access ramps between street level and the underground roadway system beneath the WTC, the Times noted.
Tax-Free Shopping Week Returns
Monday, January 31: New York launched the year's first tax-free shopping week on Monday, January 31. The semiannual event lifts the 8.65 percent sales tax on clothes, shoes, and accessories that cost less than $110 throughout New York City and State. For complete coverage, please click here.
Historic Artifact Returns Home
Monday, January 31: An original bell from the General Slocum -- an historic steamship that caught fire and sunk in the East River in 1904 -- was recovered and will be delivered to the New-York Historical Society (NYHS), the New York Post reported.
One of the rare remaining artifacts from the disaster, the bell belonged to Deborah Sidas, a California woman whose great-uncle helped recover the remains of the sunken ship. After speaking to a Big Apple tour guide about the historic bell, Sidas was directed to NYHS, where the bell will ultimately reside, the Post said.
The General Slocum, which was carrying more than one thousand passengers when it caught fire in 1904, quickly sank at North Brother Island between the Bronx and Queens. An estimated 1,021 passengers -- mostly German immigrant women and children -- perished in the tragedy, either because they were caught in the ship's flames or drowned due to the Slocum's rotted life jackets and nonfunctioning lifeboats. The sinking of the ship is considered one of the city's most deadly maritime disasters.
EPA Comments on Deutsche Bank Building Demolition Plan
Tuesday, February 1: The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advised the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation on its draft demolition plan for the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street, warning that it does not adequately safeguard the community from high levels of contaminants present in the building, the New York Times reported.
To alleviate potential risk of exposure, the agency called for increased air monitoring systems, including sampling of air particles in emissions and the implantation of air monitors in the residential areas of Battery Park City, nearby schools, and commercials areas, among other precautions. Additionally, the EPA pointed out what it considered a failure on the part of the plan to address mold and bacterial contamination and emergency procedures in the event of exposure, the Times said.
Since releasing its preliminary deconstruction plan on December 13, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) -- which owns the building and is overseeing its deconstruction -- has emphasized that both public and government concern would be reflected in development of the final plan so that the project is carried out safely.
"That's why we're going through this process, so that we can incorporate the agencies' concerns and assure that once deconstruction takes places, it occurs within regulatory requirements," LMDC President Kevin Rampe told the Times.
To learn more about the planned deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank building, please visit the LMDC website or click here.
Subways Back on Track After Chambers Street Blaze
Wednesday, February 2: Despite extensive damages caused by a fire that tore through a section of Lower Manhattan's Chambers Street subway station on Sunday, January 23, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has restored service on two of downtown's main subway lines -- the A and C -- to almost full capacity. For complete coverage, please click here.
Aon Selected as Insurance Broker for WTC Freedom Tower
Wednesday, February 2: Silverstein Properties LLC selected the Aon Corporation -- the world's second largest insurance broker -- to secure insurance coverage for the construction of the World Trade Center's Freedom Tower, Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswires reported.
Aon, a former tenant of the WTC that lost 176 of its employees during the 9/11 attacks, will also handle liability and workers compensation coverage for the 1,776-foot tower, Dow Jones noted. While Silverstein's recent battles with companies that insured the Twin Towers is expected to make the task challenging for Aon, Silverstein Properties assured Bloomberg that it is "highly confident that we will procure the insurance we need."
Area economists believe that the number of insurers for the Freedom Tower is likely to be larger than the 24 companies that insured the former WTC, as smaller shares will help safeguard insurers against risk, Bloomberg added.
Rebuilding officials laid the cornerstone for the Freedom Tower on July 4, 2004 and expect to have the building completed in July 2009. To view a slide show of the Freedom Tower, please click here.