October 15th - October 21st, 2004
City Hall Academy Launches New Program for Teachers
Wednesday, October 20: As part of a new program launched by City Hall Academy, teachers who are selected to bring their students to the academy will now be asked to return to their home schools and share their experiences with fellow educators in an effort to promote further curriculum development, the New York Post reported.
The academy, located in the historic Tweed Courthouse, hosts teachers and their students from schools throughout the city for two- and three-week "residencies," during which the class learns about history and government, among other subjects, with a New York City theme, according to the Post.
City Hall Academy, which opened in 2003, offers students an innovative learning space equipped with state-of-the-art technology. This year, the academy will host six classes of fourth- and seventh-grade students, the paper added.
Pace Downtown Index Reveals Continuing Upsurge in Downtown Economy
Thursday, October 21: The Pace Downtown Index (PDI) -- the first comprehensive economic indicator for Lower Manhattan -- shows a continuing upward trend for the downtown economy for a 13th 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 97.77 for September, an increase of 0.43 percent from last month and 1.77 percent from September 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.
Lawyers Deliver Opening Statements in Second WTC Insurance Trial
Tuesday, October 19: Lawyers delivered opening statements during the first day of litigation between World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein and nine insurers on Monday, the New York Times reported.
While Silverstein attorney Bernard Nussbaum argued that the 9/11 attacks consisted of two separate incidents, thus entitling Silverstein to receive two separate insurance payouts, lawyers for the defense contend that Silverstein is entitled to only one payment because the event was a single incident according to the contract between the two sides, the paper explained.
If the jury rules in his favor, Silverstein stands to collect a double insurance payout from each insurer involved in the trial -- totaling an additional $1.1 billion, the Times noted.
Earlier this year, a separate jury ruled that the collapse of the Twin Towers was a single event based on language outlined in the contract between the two sides, limiting Silverstein's insurance payout to a single payment of $3.5 billion.
Officials Celebrate 7 WTC with Topping-Out Ceremony
Thursday, October 21: Rebuilding officials gathered at Ground Zero to celebrate the official "topping out" of World Trade Center 7 -- the first building at the WTC site to be rebuilt. During the ceremony, construction workers positioned the last steel beam on the structure's 52nd and final story. Scheduled to be completed by November 2005, the tower will stand 99 feet taller than the original, which was built in 1984 and stood 642 feet -- or 47 stories -- tall. For complete coverage, please click here.
Families of 9/11 Victims File Suit over WTC Ash
Friday, October 15: A group of family members of September 11th victims filed a notice of claim against the City of New York, claiming that the city inappropriately dumped fragments of victims' remains at Staten Island's Fresh Kills landfill, the Daily News reported.
The group, World Trade Center Families for a Proper Burial, demands that the "fine-dust" remains be removed from Fresh Kills and interred at the WTC site as part of the 9/11 memorial, the News said.
According to the City of New York, cleanup crews at the site repeatedly sifted through Ground Zero debris to ensure that remains larger than ¼ inch were carefully separated for inclusion in the 9/11 memorial. While the city continues to review the group's claim, it is also planning a future tribute to the 9/11 victims at the landfill to commemorate the ashen remains that couldn't be separated, the paper noted.
The notice of claim protects the groups' right to sue the city, as well as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, if an agreement between the two sides cannot be reached, the News added.
City Remembers Ferry Victims as Federal Prosecutors Delay Release of Investigation Reports
Tuesday, October 19: Mayor Michael Bloomberg gathered with family members and friends of the victims of last year's Staten Island Ferry crash at a memorial service to commemorate the event's one-year anniversary on October 15, the New York Post reported.
The service took place at the Brighton Heights Reformed Church, located near the site of the accident at the St. George ferry terminal, and featured a moment of silence during which a clock chimed 11 times, once for each victim, the paper added.
Later in the week, the Daily News reported that the National Transportation Safety Board announced that it would delay the release of reports from the crash investigation due to a request by federal prosecutors, who need additional time to review them. No information about when the reports will be released has been given, the paper added.
Study Attributes Twin Tower Collapse to Fire Damage, Not Structure Design
Wednesday, October 20: According to a preliminary report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the excessive fire damage in the Twin Towers during the 9/11 attacks played a crucial role in the buildings' collapse. The initial finding may rule out the design of the towers as the central factor in their collapse, the New York Times reported.
The NIST findings show that both buildings' central structural columns were severely damaged during the plane crashes and were further weakened by the ensuing fires. As a result, the central columns became compromised and caused the load of the structures to be transferred to the buildings' exterior columns, which ultimately collapsed from the combined elements of heat and added stress, the Times explained.
The preliminary report is part of an overall federal investigation into the collapse of the WTC towers, which 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 or January, the Times added.